February 16, 2000

 "What a difference a day makes. . ." Yesterday we were talking  Valentine's, candlelight and roses; today we are anxiously awaiting news of the extent of Joe's injuries.

 Today we were waiting to catch a ferry to go to town when Joe (the eighteen year old crew member aboard Stampede) took their dingy down the anchorage to flag one.  A few minutes later I saw Julie from Stampede aboard a dive boat headed for town.  I called out, "We want to go." She waved and the boat sped by.  I was puzzled until we saw Stampede's dingy being towed back to Stampede and found that Joe had fallen out and been run over by the prop as it circled him, throttle open.  Pat, from Allegra B, and Javier, from Antaviana, caught the dingy, shut it down and gave all of us the news.  Joe was cut badly.  They did not know how badly.  A passing dive boat pulled him from the water and sped to Stampede where they got Julie and then headed to the shore, where an ambulance was waiting to carry him to the hospital.  All the Millennium Odyssey family, in the airport anchorage, was tensely awaiting news from the hospital.

 If you are injured in the Maldives, on the other side of the world from your home in Reno, Nevada,

what are the odds that the doctor that delivered you would be by your side within moments?  The owner of Pilar G is the doctor that delivered Joe and he rushed to the hospital to check on Joe's condition.  We were indeed fortunate that the hospital in the Maldives is well staffed and the doctor that took care of Joe is a well-trained Indian doctor.  She spoke excellent English and Victor felt comfortable that both she and the French anesthesiologist were well qualified to take Joe into surgery and do the necessary repairs.  Joe's injuries were all on his face.  His cheek was cut, chin cut and nose bruised, but he had no broken bones.  Now the big hurdle is getting the cuts healed without infection and exposure to salt water, sun and dirt. 

 After surgery  the doctor wanted to keep Joe in the hospital for seventy-two hours to make sure he was doing well.  Joe wanted to fly on to Djibouti and wait there in a hotel until Stampede arrived and then get back aboard. After considering everything, the decision was made to send Joe back to the United States for his healing time.  If all goes well he will be able to rejoin the group as we continue. 

 This was an intense experience for all of us as we care a great deal for Joe.  We also realize that a few millimeters difference in the location of the cuts and the outcome could have been tragic.  Accidents happen quickly and what good fortune that this happened when a dive boat saw the accident and was able to pull Joe from the water.  We all pray for speedy healing and no scarring for Joe's handsome face and we are thankful for the fact that it was not more severe.  "What a difference a day makes. . ." from Sea Gem anchored in Airport Lagoon in Male' until later . . .