Eric Lambert, an island resident and contractor, was lost at sea several hours this week after diving alone for lobsters. He later told the Virgin Islands Daily News, "There is nothing I would do differently."
With nearly 40 years experience diving, Lambert was always confident he would be found, "I was never nervous or scared," he said. "I know my dive buddy. We're respectful of the ocean. We never have pushed it."
He was rescued by the US Coast Guard, with assistance from St. John Rescue and the V.I. National Park.
Lambert had been dropped off by a boat on the south shore, for a solo dive off Chocolate Hole. Friends aboard the Swordmaster III intended to pick him up after half an hour but when they went to find him, Lambert was nowhere to be seen. Swordmaster called the Coast Guard.
A search helicopter was dispatched from Puerto Rico, and a Coast Guard rescue boat located Lambert in the water off Klein Bay.
Lambert said he was "very grateful" to the Coast Guard and told the St. John Source he intends to make a donation to St. John Rescue.
He described how he was treading water waiting for Swordmaster to rendezvous with him as planned, when "“They went roaring by about 30 feet away." The current began taking him away and his legs cramped, he said. It was about three hours later he was pulled from the water.
The Coast Guard offered this advice: "Never dive by yourself."
Yes, Lambert did catch some lobsters, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News. Two of them. However, after hours in the water, he became weak and the bag of lobsters fell to the ocean floor.