Camera resurfaces 10 months after sinking into Atlantic
A Saskatchewan man has been reunited with his digital camera 10 months after a wave knocked it off his stand-up paddleboard and into the Atlantic Ocean.
Zach Wilson, an adventure sports enthusiast and film-maker was paddle-boarding off North Carolina's Outer Banks in May of last year with a friend, when his GoPro digital camera went missing.
"We were actually done for the evening, just coming in to the beach and a foot-high wave maybe, it was tiny, knocked it off the board," Wilson told CTV's Canada AM.
"I think I had it mounted not quite correctly, and it was gone right away."
Wilson and his friend tried to find the camera, but were unsuccessful and eventually gave it up to the ocean, accepting that it was gone for good.
Ten months later, on Feb. 28, he got an unexpected surprise when the friend he was with at the time spotted what he thought was an image of Wilson, posted online.
"He was like 'you need to check out REAL Watersports' Facebook page...I think your GoPro washed up on shore,'" Wilson said.
"I quickly checked the page because there was a little bit of disbelief there and sure enough it was a photo of me they found."
The photo was taken from the front of Wilson's paddleboard, where the camera had been mounted before it fell into the water. The image posted on Facebook showed him paddling, with a perfect arc of seawater framing the shot as two waves crashed around the board.
Wilson quickly contacted the person who had posted the image and discovered it had washed up on shore about 24 kilometres from where he had lost it.
The man found it while walking his dog along the shore.
"He took it home, started looking at the photos and then decided he really needed to find the owner, which turned out to be me," Wilson told Canada AM. "He said the photos were good enough that he wanted to find the owner.
Hurricane Irene had come through the area after Wilson lost the camera, likely propelling it on its long journey.
And incredibly, much of that trip was documented because the waterproof camera was set to take a picture every five seconds.
When Wilson recovered his camera it had 1,200 pictures on the memory card. Including photos of him paddle-boarding, a photo of a curious crab inspecting the device on the sandy sea bottom, and even a picture of his legs, taken from the ocean floor as he searched for the camera, unaware how close he was.
"We were sweeping the bottom of the ocean trying to hit whatever we could and it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but obviously I was only a couple of feet away from it," he said.
Wilson is returning to North Carolina in May, and hopes to meet with the man who found his camera and returned it, as well as the outfitters who posted the image on Facebook.