Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh abandoned their workaday lives and sold just about everything they owned, including a car, to buy a 28-foot boat and sail the Gulf of Mexico hoping to escape the trappings of modern life.
“Travel and do things on our own terms when we wanted to, thought what better way to do it than with a sailboat,” said Broadwell. Their trip came to an abrupt and dangerous end in only the second night passing through John’s Pass off Madeira Beach.
“We hit something in about 8 or 9 feet of water and it stopped the boat completely,” said Broadwell. The couple says it was a traumatic moment, watching the Gulf water rush inside and destroy everything they had.
They grabbed their social security cards, some cash, and a few clothes. “Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve owned since I was a child, I brought with me. It’s just floating away and there’s nothing I can do,” recalled Walsh.
Now Broadwell says they have no jobs, no savings and no place to go. Local boat captains say sandbars often shift in the channel in John’s Pass where the sailboat capsized.
While they are trying to figure out how to pay the estimated $6,700 to remove their sunken boat from the Gulf, they aren’t giving up on their adventure. “The boat sank, but our dreams didn’t sink with the boat,” said Walsh.