Diving Deep: The Saving of Tony Bullimore

“IT WAS LIKE A WASHING MACHINE FROM HELL!” – Tony Bullimore

 

The English sailor Tony Bullimore shivered in the cold Southern Ocean waters. His upturned yacht was 1,500 miles south-west of the Australian coast and only 1,000 miles from Antarctica. He’d been in the water for four days after his boat was capsized by monstrous seas and bracing winds of up to a hundred miles an hour. “It was like a washing machine from hell!” was how Bullimore would later describe his experience. “But I couldn’t afford to get scared; I had to focus on how to stay alive for a little longer — just in case rescuers were coming.”

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Tony Bullimore’s upturned yacht was tossed around the Southern Ocean for four days before rescuers found him.

 

Tony Bullimore survived by sheltering underneath his upturned hull in an air pocket, in complete darkness. His only food was taking an occasional bite from a chocolate bar he’d managed to scramble in the wreckage. The year was 1997, and this ship-wrecked sailor was presumed dead by family and the media after so many days missing in wild seas.

When the rescue ship – the HMAS Adelaide – finally arrived at the wreckage site, one of the highly trained team climbed aboard the upturned boat and began knocking on the exposed hull. As Tony Bullimore huddled in the cold, wet darkness can you imagine how he might have felt the moment he heard someone on the other side of his boat knocking. Tony says he started shouting `I’m coming, I’m coming!”. He took a few deep breaths, dove under the water from inside his capsized boat, and then emerged into the morning sunshine. He would later say the experience of coming into the light was “heaven, absolute heaven”. The captain of the rescue ship recorded Tony Bullimore’s first words as: “Thank God… It’s a miracle!”

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This photo captures the moment rescuers knocked on the hull of his boat – and Tony Bullimore swam into the light after sheltering in his overturned boat for four days

The experience of the saving of Tony Bullimore twenty years ago from the Southern Ocean is similar to the those who’ve chosen to follow Christ. We too can feel lost in the swirling ocean of a confused existence, and yet Jesus – our spiritual rescuer – provides us with hope. “I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock” Jesus says in the book of Revelation. “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to them and be with them.” (Rev. 3:20)

Can you hear the knocking of your Saviour on the hull of your heart? You may have given up hope – but the truth is your Creator has come, and He’s inviting you to take a few big breaths, to dive deep, and come into His light.

 

Want to read more inspirational stories of faith? Click here to read the incredible story of how a rural monk unexpectedly closed down the gladiatorial violence of the Roman Coloseum.

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About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Christian minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.

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