Emmanuel Wattecamps is a French sailor who just started a long journey to Chile when tragedy struck down. He was still in Alaska’s waters when a terrible storm caught him destroying his boat, La Chimere, but not his soul and also not the life of Pipalup, a cat he saved a few days before. The video of his rescue is pretty incredible and so is the inspiring story that accompanies it.
During the two weeks when he stopped at Dutch Harbor in Alaska to get some supplies for his trip, one day walking to the docks he heard a cry for help coming from some piece of equipment on the side of the road— it was a tiny black and white cat that was abandoned and left to die. Wattecamps says that she captured his heart when she crawled out to meet him: “I knew she was destined to be a sailor. She quickly lived up to her destiny as she took to the rocking of the sailboat, as if she was born for life at sea.”
They went sailing together until that tragic storm a couple of days ago that almost ended both lives. Wattecamps describes his fear, his struggle and the power of the storm that at one moment turned his boat upside down after a huge wave struck them. He knew he had to act quickly so he used all his knowledge to try to save his boat. Sadly, the ocean decided to keep the boat for itself.
He thought he had lost Pipalup after the floor became the ceiling and all his things just collapsed and moved with an unstoppable force from side to side. He said: “I wanted to save her from an almost certain death and I offered her an equally atrocious one.”
Wattecamps managed to ask for help and help was on the way, although it would still take them three or four hours to arrive to him. Waiting in despair, Pipalup arose almost frozen from a pile of papers and flour. She was destined to be a survivor and together they waited for help to come. Wattecamps described her close to him, licking and cleaning blood from his face while he was slowly sinking with his boat.
Finally the Swedish icebreaker named Tor Viking, sent by the U.S. Coast Guard, arrived on scene. He grabbed what he could, tucked Pipalup into his coat and jumped for their lives. You can see the moment of the rescue in the video below.
We can’t say that this story has an entirely happy ending, since La Chimere was lost in the North Pacific and for Wattecamps, part of his soul sank with it. But he survived and he became a hero for Pipalup. I asked him if he was planning on keeping her or if he would find her a home and he just said: “How could we be separate after that?… She felt what I felt last night: she knows. Of course we’ll stay together…” And I’m sure they will have a fresh start and many adventures to come.
Of course now that he lost everything he needs help get back on track and for that, he opened an account on GoFundMe for whoever was moved by his story and is willing to give him a hand. Just follow the link if you can donate some money for him.