“Life’s a Beach. Enjoy the Waves”: James Michael Grimes


Cymona Abellard, Reporter

James Grimes is a 28-year-old male who went on a cruise ship to Cozumel, Mexico with almost 20 family members. The first day they were there, November 23rd, James won a guitar competition and the last thing he remembers from that night is telling his sister he was going to use the restroom at 11 p.m. The next time he regains consciousness, it is the next day, in the middle of the ocean, with no cruise ship in sight.

James fell off the cruise ship while in the Gulf of Mexico; the water he was in was shark-infested. While treading in the water for the first few hours, he came across a shark that bumped into his leg while kicking. He also remembers coming across a stick of bamboo that floated up next to him and he chewed on it just to get rid of the saltwater taste in his mouth for a second. Grimes said he treaded water for nearly 20 hours after falling overboard on Thanksgiving Eve — battling jellyfish, rip currents, and shark-infested waters before being airlifted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Being in the water wasn’t very eventful, he didn’t do much more than just try to stay alive. But after a couple of hours passed and the sun had set, the water started getting cold and all he could think about was getting of out the water. He said, β€œAt that time, I thought, how much longer am I going to have to be out here, the fall didn’t kill me and the sea creatures didn’t eat me. I felt like I was meant to get out here.”

After a little while longer, he saw the light of a tanker ship, so he started trying to swim to it with whatever energy he had left. While swimming towards it, the Coast Guard was circling around him and the tanker ship as well; they still didn’t see him yet. He then stopped swimming and began to strip his clothes so that he could wave them over his head to try and catch the light’s attention. He was finally successful and all he heard was ‘we got him’.

After they saw him, a helicopter hovered above him and he said, “Right then I thought ‘man I seen the light’.” When the rescuer handed him a life jacket and he could finally relax, he told him that he was like his guardian angel coming for him.

After he finally got home and a week passed, he was putting on a pair of pants that happened to be packed from the cruise and he found a fortune cookie in it. He opened it and it read, “Life’s a beach. Enjoy the waves.”