Saanich teen safe after maritime rescue

Crews from two communities including Saanich and a private vessel work together

As the red Zodiac-style vessel from Oak Bay Search and Rescue approached the shore line not far from Saanich’s Beach House Restaurant, Mina and Mike Purewal began to run as fast as the sands and rocks allowed it.

Dodging past curious by-standers, the couple couldn’t wait to hold their son Jovin, who had spent the last couple hours inside his kayak, fighting the winds and waves sweeping between the Saanich Peninsula and D’Arcy Island.

Fifteen-year-old Jovin had left for the small island from a nearby beach at around 11 a.m. Monday. A member of Gorge Narrows Rowing Club, the St. Andrew’s student set off as an avid kayaker and canoeist, who had always wanted to check out the small island, a former leper colony from 1891 to 1924.

“He has been wanting to do that for some time,” said Mike. “We told him to wait until the weather got better.”

Monday offered that opportunity and Jovin arrived on the island without incident. After spending some time on it, he set off for the return trip at around 2:20 p.m. after he had called his dad by cell-phone to let him know that he would be returning, with an estimated return time of 90 minutes or so.

While Mina and Mike could follow Jovin with a pair of binoculars during his trip towards D’Arcy Island from their nearby home, he did not come into view, as the clock was ticking down. Increasingly worried, the couple placed a 9/11 call.

Now standing on the beach to get a better look, Mina scanned the waves with the binoculars, while Mike talked to Jovin over his cell-phone.

They eventually located him further up the Peninsula, nowhere near where they had been looking so anxiously.

“The wind kept pushing up north,” said Mike.

But the eventual fate of Jovin, who wore a life vest during the entire time, still hung in the balance.

As Saanich emergency crews were readying a Zodiac-vessel on their own to recover Jovin, a nearby vessel belonging to SpringTide Whale Watching and Charter based in Victoria had picked up the radio chatter and eventually pulled the teenager inclusive kayak to safety.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, very much for helping out my son,” said Mike into his cell phone.

By this time, a small crowd of curious on-lookers and Saanich police officers had gathered on the beach to follow events. At one stage, this reporter scribbled down the phone number of the whale watching vessel that Jovin had relayed to his father. When it became clear that Jovin was out of the water, strangers congratulated the Purewals, who celebrated the rescue of their son with a deep embrace as hours of anxiety washed away.

One final twist remained though. The white whale watching vessel carrying Jovin was not heading towards the beach to deliver its extra passenger, but away from it, into deeper waters, heading south. At the same time, a bright-red zodiac was heading north. The two vessels briefly mingled on the open ocean, then departed ways, with Jovin having made an unusual maritime transfer.

When the Purewals finally arrived at the spot, where the Oak Bay Zodiac had dropped off Jovin, Saanich fire crews had already tucked him inside the cabin of one their pick-up trucks to administer initial medical care. After (presumably) some hugs from mom, and more medical care, Jovin returned home Monday evening, no worse for wear, but likely more respectful of the ocean.

Just Posted

Paving complete, lines coming to the Malahat this week

$34 million safety project is 95 per cent complete with hope to relieve traffic congestion between Victoria and Nanaimo

Needles found at Goldstream campground in Langford

West Shore RCMP respond to several calls for service associated with homeless campers

Only tent city residents allowed access at Goldstream Park campsites

Local RCMP point to reports of criminal activity and drug use in the area as cause for safety concerns

Future Bus looking for transit feedback

Sooke locations announced for Oct. 2 visit

Bear makes midnight front porch visit in Campbell River

A black bear paid a Campbell River family a midnight visit last… Continue reading

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Most Read