Couple held hostage by Somali pirates were on dream trip

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by TONYA MOSLEY and CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ChrisDaniels5

KING5.com

Posted on February 20, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 21 at 1:55 PM

SEATTLE - Two Seattleites were on board a yacht hijacked by pirates near Somalia.

Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle were traveling with a California couple along the coast of Oman when Somali pirates overtook them on Friday, authorities said.

Macay and Riggle, according to friends, met as members of the Seattle Singles Yacht Club. Traveling the world had been a dream of theirs, so a few years ago they sold a lot of their belongings and set sail.

"She is an exceptional person, a true adventurist," said friend Vicky Mullen.

Mullen and other friends have been keeping watch over Phyllis' house since she's been away.

"This is her lifestyle and we all support her and she's had a great time," she said.

On Sunday, Mullen had the tough job of searching for Phyllis' medical records - and praying her friends will be rescued or released.

"We're absolutely shocked that this has happened so we're doing everything we can to help her," said Mullen.

Macay and Riggle set out on their adventure almost six years ago, documenting their travels on their blog.

"She was committed to, you know, continuing her sailing adventures around the world. This is her second trip around the world actually," said Mullen.

Macay and Riggle were onboard the yacht S/V Quest with friends from California, Jean and Scott Adams, taking part in an international yacht race.

The Adams' own the yacht, distributing bibles around the world.

Over the weekned, a  vigil for the Adams was held at a Santa Monica, California church.

"They are on a mission to bring Bibles to schools, hospitals and missions," Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson of Saint Monica's Church told the Orange County Register. "They're both retired and that's what they want to do. They are faith-filled, wonderful people."

"I'm sure everybody thinks it's not going to happen to me, hundreds of boats get through there," said Mullen.

A military source tells CNN that a U.S. Navy warship and helicopter are trailing the boat carrying the American captives and about 15 Somali pirates. FBI negotiators are also aboard the warship.

Friends say Riggle and Macay had navigated that same region before. In fact, their blog shows pictures and details on a risky previous passage through the pirate inhabited Gulf of Aden. But they wrote, “We all knew how to improve on our next try…later…like hopefully never.”

The goal is to convince the pirates to release the Americans before they reach Somalia's shores because once that happens a quick resolution becomes less likely.

Meanwhile, friends and family watch and wait.

"I'm sure her mom is devastated, but Phyllis is an adventurer and that's part of the adventure is getting out there," said Mullen.

NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News contributed to this story.

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