Tanner Broadwell 26 years old and Nikki Walsh 24 years old sold everything they owned in Colorado to buy a sailboat and live their best lives on the open sea, but that dream life was short-lived when their houseboat sank off coast of Florida on Wednesday. The couple was only 2 days into adventure of a lifetime, when they’re dream boat hit something in water and capsized, leaving everything but the dog, a little cash and their social security cards to float away, at their fingertips. ‘I sold everything I had to do this and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes’ Broadwell said.
The team of 2 and their dog, a 2 years old Pug named Remy, set sail on Tuesday to conquer the seven seas. Or so they thought. Things were smooth sailing until Broadwell and Walsh got to John’s Pass, where they planned to dock for the night. Just 15 minutes before 9 Pm Eastern, they started having a difficult time navigating the channel. Things in their view did not seem to line up with a navigation chart they had from 2016-2017 and then their ship struck something in water so abruptly that Walsh almost flew off the deck. Broadwell soon realized the keel had been ripped from base of boat. As water began making its way into cabin, Walsh called Sea Tow.
She told her hands were shaking and she stuttered as she spoke to a representative from what is basically the AAA of boating universe. ‘I know I probably sounded like a crazy person to them. They said they would be there in 40 minutes. I thought,”That is a long time to spend out here”‘ Walsh said. It was dark and fog had rolled in to the uncharted waters for Broadwell and Walsh and now their cabin was flooding more and more.
Describing how she felt in that moment, Walsh told ‘I’m just standing there in awe. I just lost everything I ever owned. I see my things floating away and I can’t get to them.’
Once Sea Tow finally arrived, their ship was already immersed in close to 10 feet of water and ready capsize. Couple and Remy, had no choice but to jump overboard. Now, they face what could cost them up to $10,000 to get the boat out of water, with no money and no insurance.
Neither Broadwell nor Walsh had any boating experience, but that did not stop them from buying the 49 years old vessel from Alabama, last April. They named it ‘Lagniappe,’ which is pronounced lanny-yap and is Creole for ‘bonus.’
‘Like the 13th donut in a dozen. It’s something extra for you’ Broadwell said. Couple paid $5,000 for boat and spent another $5,000 to get it into ‘ship shape.’ To get the vessel ready for their planned Caribbean adventure, they had to travel in 1969 Columbia sailboat along Gulf Coast, from Alabama to Panama City. Couple had zero sailing experience, but Broadwell’s father helped them get from point of purchase to their eventual launching location. Broadwell and Walsh docked the boat in May in Tarpon Springs and prepped for their trip while docked at Mar Marina.
Broadwell and Walsh came into each other’s lives when Broadwell moved from Cocoa Beach to Philadelphia for work, where Walsh is from. The two met, became friends, grew closer and eventually dated before moving to Breckenridge, Colorado together in 2015. Now, with only $90 to their names, couple are not sure exactly what they’ll do or where they’ll go, but they do know one thing, this isn’t the last of their adventures at sea.
‘I’m not going to give up now. I’m going to get another boat down the road’ Broadwell said. Walsh is on board, too, at least metaphorically, if not literally at moment. ‘We can’t just give up on our dreams’ she added.