Arriving in Clipperton Island was no picnic

Please remember once again that Aves Island and Clipperton Islands were uninhabited islands and so they represented the ultimate rareness. It is reasonable to look into the entire episode as Danny reported from Acapulco, Mexico. This also re-confirms the difficulties involved in a rare country DXpedition when only one man is trying to do everything. If nothing else, it may only produce 775 QSOs under extreme hardship.

Danny’s report: “Arrival at Clipperton Island brought no hearty cheers from the crew of YASME III – in fact, the sight of the breakers which surrounded the entire island and the long run of reefs tended to create great despondency to all aboard!” They were able to find the only place near the island where the water was shallow enough to drop an anchor.

“The ship’s log remains very blank as our experiences could never be put into words which could ever be believed by any normal person not accustomed to the sea!”

Danny made three attempts to land but the breakers were far too big to succeed. The first attempt became almost a disaster as the dinghy twisted with the surf broadside on, and water rushed over the side, almost capsizing it. “But I knew I had to get ashore and do something, even if I made only one QSO! I knew I have to succeed with the equipment and material on the first time as I would not have the strength to fight that sea for more times.”

To go ashore, Danny loaded his dingy with lots of items: a specially built watertight bag for HT-32 (100 pounds alone), an SX-101, an Onan generator, tent, a gallon of coffee, and 200 cigarettes.

When Danny neared the reefs in the heavily loaded dinghy the approach seemed to take hours, yet it was probably seconds. “The wave collapsed and I felt that awful grinding sound on the bottom. We had hit the reef! Another sea swept in and threw us broadside on, but this time it dragged us onto the beach!”

The dingy capsized but strangely enough, as the dinghy upset, so the seas receded, giving him a few seconds to drag the generator to safety, which was the only piece of equipment not protected by watertight bags.

Danny was wondering how Naomi and Yasme were taking the sea, whether she had fallen over the side during the erratic motion of the boat? “I sat there on the beach and wondered why on earth I was doing this crazy thing.” Even the DX chasers came into his mind; those that couldn’t care less as long as they made the contact, and the hell with who had done what to make it possible and often just asking: Where Do You Go Next?

There was not much commuting to the boat because of the rough sea but after 775 QSOs, radios were left behind for Danny to go and inspect the boat. A king-sized wave swept in and Yasme picked up and tossed backwards and the whole boat shuddered as the anchor chain strained and snapped. There was not enough manpower to pull the anchor off the seabed and there was no alternative but to get the hydraulic winch working. Easy? It took thirty-six hours of working non-stop, from night to day and back to night working with the flashlight.

The story line is endless but we’ll stop here. Danny collected the scattered gear from the island and headed away from this God-forsaken anchorage into the clear, open sea. Danny’s excuse: “I thought it better to swallow my pride and get out while we still remained alive and had a boat.” They rushed to Acapulco, Mexico, for a five-day rest and then headed to San Diego, California.

Good headway was made while a leak in the stern worsened and presented them with an emergency situation. Running the engine greatly aggravated the leak as the water just gushed in. A call for assistance was sent out to XE1CV and action was taken right away. The Mexican Navy Patrol Boat “California” was immediately dispatched from Socorro Island and at the speed of 16 knots it quickly arrived at Yasme and towed her to Acapulco for immediate repair.

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