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Survivor makes new friend

Survivor makes new friend


It is amazing how some friendships are formed. Vanrick ‘Larwood’ Allick a 32 year old fisherman of Clare Valley has a new friend. He is referred to only by his first name Roy, and he hails from Gros Islet in neighbouring St. Lucia.

The two men met in strange circumstances for which Vanrick owes a debt of gratitude to his new found St. Lucian friend. {{more}}

They came together sometime last week Tuesday. Vanrick was awoken by Roy on a portion of land where the former had fallen asleep after a grueling ordeal at sea. That was on land just beyond Dauphin Beach near Gros Islet.

Vanrick’s story is an amazing one. He survived two days on sea, clinging desperately to two gas jugs tied together to form a makeshift raft. It was that contraption which kept the Clare Valley resident afloat during much of the time he fought for his life through rough waters.

His distress began around 9 a.m. Sunday April 10,in the channel between St. Lucia and mainland St. Vincent. Vanrick, captain of a 25-foot fishing boat “Surprise” and his two crew members were getting ready to return to their home village of Clare valley with some 300 pounds of fish.

The still sunburnt Vanrick Allick told Searchlight Monday that their engine was off and it was attempting to restart it that the ‘pulley’ gave way. They were trying to fix it when two waves swamped the craft.

Vanrick said the boat sank “stern wise.”

That left the three Vincentians without in open waters. Survival instinct kicked in and they tied three gas jugs together in a desperate quest to stay alive.

Matters got worse shortly after. According to Vanrick: “A hard piece ah tide come and loose up the jug dem.”

He recalled that with that wave, Julian Alexander drifted away on a separate jug. The tide swept him out of sight.

Vanrick and his cousin Alfonso Allick stayed together, still floating with the other two jugs. That proved a test of durability. Vanrick recalled Alfonso falling off the jug five times, complaining of exhaustion, but on each occasion, Vanrick said, he pulled him back up and the two maintained some solidarity. By early Monday morning, Alfonso had given up. He told Vanrick he couldn’t make it and begged him: “Take care of Aleisha.”

Aliesha is Alfonso’s seven-month-old daughter.

Vanrick, though tiring from the ordeal, attempted to carry Alfonso on his back for a while but Alfonso was unable to hold on.

Vanrick described seeing Alfonso go down and confessed: “Me stop dey and cry over him.”

But tears could not help at that point for Vanrick was still in danger.

He finally made it to land Monday evening, having been washed up on the rocks.

He recalled seeing the two gas jugs drifting on the beach the following morning. But those were not his concern, as much as they had served in aiding his survival.

The adventure at sea was over, but Vanrick was unaware of his location.

Tuesday morning when he woke up, dazed, worn out, drained and hungry, he employed further survival instincts. He picked two coconuts from a tree on his way, and those served as a valuable source of strength. But the rigours of the survival effort were taking their toll.

He walked up a gutter and saw a bunker, which someone used during farming. Vanrick fell asleep. It was there that someone woke him up and took him to the Gros Islet police. That person turned out to be ‘Roy.’

Vanrick slept three nights at the Gros Islet Police, after receiving treatment at the Victoria Hospital.

Roy proved a real source of help for Vanrick, providing him with water and offers of roasted fish and farine. But that menu was not ideal for him, with his level of exhaustion.

Vanrick has been a fisherman for a long time: He said: “From me left school that is my work.”

He returned home last Friday and endured a tearful reunion. He is ensuring that he fulfils Alfonso’s last command, and last Tuesday played the father role with Aleisha.

The village of Clare Valley is still in mourning, and they have accepted the harsh reality that Julian Alexander and Alfonso Allick are dead. But there is a tinge of happiness that Vanrick Allick has endured a most critical adventure.