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Science v. Faith

[These are excerpts from an AP story. You can’t make up stuff like this.]

A northern Arizona family that was lost at sea for weeks in an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion will fly back home Sunday.

Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church,” she said.

U.S. “churches aren’t their own,” Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.

Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”

Hannah Gastonguay, 26, said Saturday that she and her husband “decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us” when they took their two small children and her father-in-law and set sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.

But just weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress.

The boat had taken a beating, and they decided to set course for the Marquesas Islands. Instead, they found themselves in a “twilight zone,” taking more and more damage, leaving them unable to make progress.

They could have used a sail called a genoa, she said, but they risked snapping off the mast and losing their radio and ability to communicate.

They had been on the ocean for about two months and were low on supplies. They were out of food and were down to “some juice and some honey.” She said they were able to catch fish, but they didn’t see any boats.

Still, we “didn’t feel like we were going to die or anything. We believed God would see us through,” she said.

At one point a fishing ship came into contact with them but left without providing assistance. A Canadian cargo ship came along and offered supplies, but when they pulled up alongside it, the vessels bumped and the smaller ship sustained even more damage.

They were getting hit by “squall after, squall, after squall.”

“We were in the thick of it, but we prayed,” she said. “Being out on that boat, I just knew I was going to see some miracles.”

Eventually, their boat was spotted by a helicopter that had taken off from a nearby Venezuelan fishing vessel, which ended up saving them.

“The captain said, ‘Do you know where you’re at? You’re in the middle of nowhere,'” she said.

They were on the Venezuelan ship for about five days before transferring to the Japanese cargo ship, where they were for nearly three weeks before landing in Chile on Friday. The Chilean newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias reported the story of their arrival.

“They were looking for a kind of adventure; they wanted to live on a Polynesian island but they didn’t have sufficient expertise to navigate adequately,” police prefect Jose Luis Lopez, who took the family’s statement at San Antonio [Chile], told the newspaper.

Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now “go back to Arizona” and “come up with a new plan.”



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    You didn’t mention that the Coast Guard followed them during their trip. Therefore; they owe me back my taxes I paid for their safe return.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Nor did I mention that our taxpayer money paid for their return flight from Chile back to the US.

    Or that they believe the lie that federal taxpayer money is used to fund abortions for anyone.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  3. wildwood wrote:

    They should be billed by both the ships that ferried them, plus any costs that we have covered to get them safely back to the US. That should put a crimp in their get-along.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink
  4. just me wrote:

    Maybe their church will foot the bill?

    (HEY… it could happen đŸ˜‰

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  5. Yudith wrote:

    Next time, they should book a ticket with Air Marshall Islands instead of wasting everybody’s time. Maybe learn to pilot an outrigger canoe and to speak Kiribati as well.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  6. westomoon wrote:

    This encapsulates what really breaks my heart about the people we shorthand as “tea party types” — their abysmal ignorance.

    We have people representing us in our government who know literally nothing about how our government works, or about the policy areas they legislate over.

    We have 15th-century minds living in the 21st-century world, and throwing such irrational tantrums that the post-Enlightenment people, who used to dominate our culture, step back in paralyzed horror.

    It’s like the Visigoths sacking Rome — primitive minds are responding to things they don’t understand by destroying them. That said, what a waste of a Darwin Award that this family was rescued!

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  7. Becky wrote:

    Interestingly, Kiribati, their initial destination, is due to Lose it’s land due to climate change. From wikipedia: “In June 2008, Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. Kiribati is expected to be the first country to lose all its land territory to global climate change. In June 2008, the Kiribati president Anote Tong said that the country has reached “…the point of no return.” He added, “To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that.”

    And: “In April 2013, President Tong began urging citizens to evacuate the islands and migrate elsewhere.”

    So, nice job on the planning there.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  8. Hassan wrote:

    God led them back to USA to not to give up and keep fighting for their faith in this land.

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
  9. James wrote:

    Oh, it get’s better. Not only did they set sail trusting their invisible friend in the sky for navigation, they apparently knew very little about sailing. From another report:

    “They could have used a sail called a genoa, she said, but they risked snapping off the mast and losing their radio and ability to communicate.”

    If the mainsail works and does not “snap the mast” so should the genoa. Not only would navigation lessons been a huge help, but so would basic classes in sailing and boat handling.


    Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    They weren’t church members so they don’t have a church to support them.

    Monday, August 12, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink