SEQUIM, Wash. - For most participants, the annual Canoe Journey is about tradition, retracing the routes of their Northwest tribal ancestors around the Olympic Peninsula.
But for the team from the Tsartlip Tribe in Canada, it was about survival Monday.
“It was crazy,” said skipper Nobert Sylvester.
His nine-person crew found themselves treading water in the Strait of Juan de Fuca early Monday after their canoe tipped over in what Sylvester described as rough seas.
His cell phone was in a dry bag so he was able to call 911, but the dense fog made finding the crew difficult.
It was two hours before a Coast Guard boat pulled the eight men and one woman out of the water.
One of the crew members, a 20-year-old man, had to be taken to the hospital for hypothermia.
The rest were checked out by paramedics in Sequim.
The crew said they will resume the journey Tuesday.
“Most of us grew up on the water, most of us grew up with paddles in our hands,” said Sylvester.