The following came via a post on NEK and then the MAKA email lists. It is an interesting read. You guys in the higher latitudes have my respect!
*BREAKING NEWS: Kiteboarder safe after night in water
By Joshua Balling
I&M Managing Editor
An island man reported missing while kiteboarding near the
entrance to Nantucket Harbor yesterday afternoon managed to swim to
shore early this morning after spending several hours in rough,
Michael Alpert, 37, reached the beach on Coatue near First Point
and walked six miles to the Wauwinet, where he called Coast Guard
Station Brant Point around 2:45 a.m. to report that he was cold and
tired but safe, Brant Point Senior Chief Sheila Lucey said.
Alpert, who was wearing a wetsuit and hood but no life jacket,
was transported by ambulance to Nantucket Cottage Hospital for
observation. He was released at around 6:30 a.m. today.
He could not remember how long he had been in the water, Lucey
said. His kiteboard was found on the beach near the East Jetty around
8:30 p.m. He told the Coast Guard he stayed with the board for much
of his time in the water, but it is unclear whether he let go of the
board at some point and came to shore after it was found, or reached
the beach with the board and unintentionally slipped past the search
party of firefighters, police officers and volunteers combing Coatue
in the darkness.
A friend who was kiteboarding with Alpert called Coast Guard
Station Brant Point just after 5 p.m. yesterday to report that he was
in the water a short distance outside the entrance to Nantucket
Harbor and unable to swim to shore, Petty Officer Robert Resendes of
Coast Guard Group Woods Hole said.
Both the 21-foot and 47-foot patrol boats from the Brant Point
station headed to the spot where Alpert was last seen, but were
unable to locate him.
A Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod joined
the search around 6:45 p.m. and made numerous passes over the harbor,
while Nantucket firefighters, police and volunteers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including the
four men kiteboarding with Alpert Ã¢â‚¬â€œ searched the Jetties and the
beach along the Galls toward Great Point. The search was still
ongoing when Alpert called the Coast Guard from Wauwinet.
"At some point yesterday afternoon, he let go of the kite and
got swept out to the west," Lucey said. "He told us he tried to swim
to the rock buoy at the end of the West Jetty, but was unable to
reach it because the current was so strong. He kept drifting to the
west with the current until the tide shifted and he started drifting
east. He eventually made it to Coatue, and walked over to First
Point, where he knew the sand was harder packed. He walked to the
Wauwinet and called us from there."
The water temperature in the harbor was around 47 degrees last
night. Alpert was wearing a wetsuit and hood but no flotation device
and was an accomplished swimmer, Resendes said.
Weather conditions grew progressively worse throughout the
evening, as visibility decreased, wind gusts increased to 50 mph and
it began hailing.
"The winds and the seas are horrible, but this guy is in really
good shape, and he's a really good swimmer," Resendes said last
night. "But he looks like a seal. He's wearing a black wetsuit and
it's dark out there. The 21-footer is launching meteor flares to
bring some light into the area they are searching."
The Fire Department completed its ground search and recalled its
firefighters to the station around 9:15 p.m., but the helicopter and
patrol boats continued, lighting up each buoy leading into Nantucket
Harbor and the Jetties in hopes of spotting Alpert.
No determination had been made by 9:30 p.m. as to how long the
search would continue.
"He's a really good swimmer, and we're hoping he swam to shore
and was getting some assistance from someone we haven't heard from
yet," Resendes said. "It has to be decided higher up the chain of
command when to terminate the search. We have to take into
consideration our crew, them getting tired out. The 47-footer's been
out there since 4:30, 5 p.m., and they are getting beat up, hitting
12 foot seas, 45 knot winds."
Kiteboarding is the latest "extreme" water sport to reach
Nantucket. Utilizing a wakeboard, a stunt-kite and a body harness,
accomplished kite-boarders can skim across the waves at speeds up to
20 mph and often leap 20 to 30 feet in the air while being pulled
along by the kite.
Avid windsurfer and kiteboarder Schuyler Kuhl wasn't out on the
water yesterday, but said he had spoken to one of the kiteboarders in
Alpert's group, and despite gale warnings, the conditions were far
"There were perfect conditions today, right inside the jetty,"
he said. "It was pretty flat, good for sailing, good for
kiteboarding. It wasn't the wind. I heard Mike got sucked out by the