You might say this couple sold themselves down the river.
Tanner Broadwell, 26, and Nikki Walsh, 24, 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 the coast of Florida on Wednesday.
The couple was only two days into the adventure of a lifetime, when they’re dreaming boat hit something in the 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,’ Broadwell told the Tampa Bay Times, ‘and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes.’
The team of two and their dog, a 2-year-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 didn’t seem to line up with a navigation chart they had from 2016-2017, and then their ship struck something in the water so abruptly that Walsh almost flew off the deck.
Broadwell soon realized the keel had been ripped from the base of the boat.
As water began making its way into the cabin, Walsh called Sea Tow.
She said her hands were shaking and she stuttered as she spoke to a representative from what is basically the AAA of the boating universe.
‘I know I probably sounded like a crazy person to them,’ Walsh said.
‘They said they would be there in 40 minutes. I thought,”That is a long time to spend out here.”‘
It was dark and the fog had rolled into the uncharted waters for Broadwell and Walsh, and now their cabin was flooding more and more.
Describing how she felt in that moment, Walsh said: ‘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.
The 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 the water, with no money and no insurance.
Neither Broadwell nor Walsh had any boating experience, but that didn’t stop them from buying the 49-year-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,’ Broadwell said. ‘It’s something extra for you.’
The couple paid $5,000 for the boat, and spent another $5,000 to get it into ‘shipshape.’
To get the vessel ready for their planned Caribbean adventure, they had to travel in the 1969 Columbia sailboat along the Gulf Coast, from Alabama to Panama City.
The couple had zero sailing experience, but Broadwell’s father helped them get from the 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, the couple aren’t 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,’ Broadwell said. ‘I’m going to get another boat down the road.’
Walsh is on board, too, at least metaphorically, if not literally at the moment.
‘We can’t just give up on our dreams,’ she said.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”