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Old 26 April 2014, 04:58 AM   #1
JohnBaker3
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How A GMT Pepsi Helped Save My Life

Dear Friends:

This is going to take a while, so grab an extra cup of coffee and get comfortable.

The "incident" took place on Oct 22nd and 23rd 2009. Here is a link to an interview I did with Harry Smith over at CBS; it covers the basic details and verifies that I'm not as crazy as some people say I am!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/surfer-s...ulf-of-mexico/

Five minutes isn't nearly enough to cover all the details; it surely isn't enough to talk about all the things that went through my mind as I paddled those 10 hours to get to the rig (14 miles offshore).

Anyway, to kill time as I stroked my way to safety, I must have sung the theme song to Gilligans Island 20 times. I even started to imagine that Tina Louise would meet me on the beach (didn't happen).

But the biggest thing I did was to remember the episode of Magnum P.I. (circa 1983) where Thomas got swept out into the Molokai Channel one July 4th. He was knocked off his paddleboard by a stupid speedboat and couldn't catch up to it as it drifted away.

As he is treading water for almost 24 hours, he flashes back to the time he was about 10 years old and his dad taught him to survive in the family pool. As an incentive, he promised him a GMT Pepsi if he could survive a 12 hour ordeal. I think it took him 2 tries, but he finally managed to pull it off and he got the watch! That memory somehow helped him survive being adrift off Oahu! Sometime later, TC and the boys spotted him from the famous multi-colored helicopter and flew him to safety.

Flash forward to 2009. As I am struggling to reach the oil rig, I dream that if I make it to safety, I will get to wear a GMT Pepsi of my own someday. I thought about it again the next morning as the helicopter flew me back to the beach.

It must have worked, because today, I'm sitting here typing up this little episode of my own. And, back in February of this year, I located a 1981 GMT Master (with the obligatory Pepsi bezel) and wired the funds. I wear it proudly on special occasions and boast to everyone on why I have it:

I EARNED it !



PS: Sorry Springer; I didn't know you back then or I would have gotten one from you!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rolex GMT Pepsi Tom Selleck.1.jpg (80.0 KB, 6446 views)
File Type: jpg Rolex GMT Pepsi Tom Selleck.2.jpg (32.9 KB, 6408 views)
File Type: jpg Rolex GMT 1981.jpg (76.4 KB, 6434 views)

Last edited by JohnBaker3; 26 April 2014 at 05:16 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:04 AM   #2
Dr. Robert
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Wow!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:04 AM   #3
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Pretty amazing. Cool that you've tied the watch to such a big event in your life.

Treasure it!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:05 AM   #4
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Truly impressive.
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:09 AM   #5
mannyv11
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amazing story and very happy that you get to tell us about it =).
Congrats on that pepsi it is one beautiful watch and I hope you enjoy it for many years to come
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:11 AM   #6
rolexnub
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Amazing story!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:13 AM   #7
HogwldFLTR
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Very cool in deed; I have a GMT arriving today. We'll see what it looks like in the flesh. I am excited, however.
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:15 AM   #8
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Wow, what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:15 AM   #9
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I remember that episode. You had a life and death struggle, he had a classic TV Show. You deserved your reward!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:25 AM   #10
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Enjoy the reward for a well-deserved survival effort! It should always remind you of that success
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:27 AM   #11
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John, You're a rock star! You're fortunate to have had the training, the mental strength to survive but also a strong wife by your side. Love her name too!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:29 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your story .
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:37 AM   #13
JohnBaker3
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Hey Guys:

Thanks for all the nice comments; seems like all the GMT people are coming out of the woodwork on this one !

I didn't post this pic with the first set; I was afraid it would scare everyone away! This is what you look like after 14 hours in the water....

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Old 26 April 2014, 05:43 AM   #14
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Wow... Glad you made it.

A few years ago, a former co-workers boat sank in the gulf and he had to swim to one of the rigs. His fishing buddy did not make it. Hypothermia got him.

Glad there is a happy ending to your story! Nice watch.
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:46 AM   #15
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Cool story, thanks for sharing!
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBaker3 View Post
Hey Guys:

Thanks for all the nice comments; seems like all the GMT people are coming out of the woodwork on this one !

I didn't post this pic with the first set; I was afraid it would scare everyone away! This is what you look like after 14 hours in the water....

You look alive and that's a good start. Glad you were in the Gulf of Mexico and not up hear in the Gulf of Maine. The results would have been quite different. We have the same issues here with rips and undertow.
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Hear the night birds cry (listen to the night birds cry)
Watch the sunset die (sit and watch the sunset die)
Well I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island

Leon Russell - Back To The Island

https://youtu.be/NT4L2btjLSs
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Old 26 April 2014, 05:49 AM   #17
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Staying alive! How's that for an achievement! Moving story, John, congrats on maintaining your resolve and on the watch as well!
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:09 AM   #18
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Amazing.
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:12 AM   #19
Bdiesel570
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Amazing story, thanks for sharing it.
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:13 AM   #20
rmfnla
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I once bought myself a Rolex after a divorce; I think you got off easy...


Great story!
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:14 AM   #21
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Awesome. Godbless
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:18 AM   #22
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That's truly an incredible story!
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:25 AM   #23
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Great story, that is awesome
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:35 AM   #24
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Amazing story
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:38 AM   #25
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Wow, John, crazy story.....
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:53 AM   #26
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Great reward for yourself!
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Old 26 April 2014, 06:58 AM   #27
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Wow!
Great post amazing story, thanks for sharing!
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Old 26 April 2014, 07:07 AM   #28
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Wow, gave me the chills reading about it. How did you know there was an oil rig, was it visible the whole time (even before you knew you couldn't get back) when you were out in the water or were you simply aware there was one nearby?
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Old 26 April 2014, 07:21 AM   #29
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Thats one hell of a story. You had an angel on your shoulder that day.
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Old 26 April 2014, 07:22 AM   #30
JohnBaker3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wahlberg View Post
Wow, gave me the chills reading about it. How did you know there was an oil rig, was it visible the whole time (even before you knew you couldn't get back) when you were out in the water or were you simply aware there was one nearby?
I have surfed the Gulf Coast for over 40 years; you can see some of the unmanned rigs from the beach. The manned, working rigs are further out to sea.

I suspected that they were about 8-10 miles out and I could make it to one before midnight. Fourteen miles is a little further than I planned, but it worked out.

The Coast Guard Rescue Center in New Orleans called me the next day. The officer in charge of the search mission said: "I'm just 39 years old and I couldn't have done what you did".

My reply: "You would be surprised what you can do when your a$$ is on the line".

We both got a good laugh out of that one.

Be safe.
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