Small Family Lost at Sea Find God

Small Family Lost at Sea Find God

A small Christian family from Ash Fork, Arizona decided to “take a leap of faith” and were rewarded by finding God after they were lost at sea for weeks. Their amazing odyssey began with the search for more religious “freedom.” The Gastonguay family started a pilgrimage of faith that could have been deadly for them all, but their belief that the “all mighty” would protect them was, apparently warranted.

On Saturday 26 year-old Hannah Gastonguay told how she and her husband decided to take their “leap of faith” and see where “God led us.” The couple took their two small children and Hannah’s father-in-law on a journey that was meant to culminate on the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May of this year.

But instead of finding their island paradise, the family were buffeted by storms until they lost their bearings and drifted for weeks in the middle of nowhere. As their supplies dwindled and the small vessel sustained more damage, their faith never wavered and no-one on the tiny boat feared death.

The Gastonguays are not members of any church, and Hannah said that their faith and belief came from reading the Bible and through prayer. “The Bible is pretty clear,” she said.

Like our country’s pilgrim forefathers, the Gastonguay’s felt that Christian churches in America had it all wrong, and they wanted to be free from what they saw as a religious system corrupted by the government. Hannah explained that her family was fed up with what they perceived as governmental control over churches in the U.S. She said that as Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, [or] in the state-controlled church.”

She added that, U.S. “churches aren’t their own.” She also said that the family had issues with being forced to “pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”

The family chose the tiny island of Kiribati because, “we didn’t want to go anywhere big.” Their research had disclosed that the tiny nation was “one of the least developed countries in the world.” The island country consists of a small group of islands near the equator and the international date line midway between Hawaii and Australia. The island’s population is around 100,000.

The family made their decision and moved in November, 2012 from Ash Fork, Arizona, to San Diego, California. The heavily pregnant Hannah gave birth to their youngest child, eight month-old daughter Rahab while they prepared the boat for its journey. The small family lived on board while they got vessel ready.

In May 2013, Hannah, her husband, 30-year-old Sean, the couple’s two daughters, three year-old Ardith and baby Rahab, along with Sean’s dad Mike, set sail for the tiny island.

The small Christian family would not feel land beneath their feet for 91 days, but they did find that God was protecting them whole they were lost at sea and despite the perilous nature of their pilgrimage, their faith and belief saw them through.

A few short weeks into their journey, the Gastonguay’s began to be hit by multiple storms that put them off-course and damaged their small boat. They wound up drifting at sea for weeks, stalled in their journey and hopelessly unable to proceed.

Speaking to the AP via the telephone, Hannah said how, when the journey started, they felt that, “We were cruising.” But after two weeks things changed and “when we came out there, storm, storm, storm.”

Their boat had taken a pounding from the weather and they set course for the Marquesas Islands. But they couldn’t make any real headway. The family found themselves in a “twilight zone,” with their boat suffering further damage. They were stuck.

Hannah said that they could have used a sail called a genoa, but, using it could have snapped off their mast which would have lost them the ability to communicate using the boat’s radio.

The family had been on the ocean for almost two months and their supplies were running out. They had no food and were down to “some juice and some honey.” Hannah says that they caught fish but didn’t see any other boats. She said that at no time did they fear for their lives, it “didn’t feel like we were going to die or anything. We believed God would see us through.”

They had a couple of “false starts” that pointed to rescue, a fishing ship came into contact with them but didn’t provide any help. Later a Canadian cargo ship came along and offered them supplies, but as they pulled up to the ship, the two vessels collided and their tiny ship was damaged even further.

Before they were finally rescued, Hannah said that their craft was hit by “squall after, squall, after squall.” “We were in the thick of it, but we prayed,” she added, “Being out on that boat, I just knew I was going to see some miracles.”

Despite the storms’ fury, their faith was rewarded, Hannah said, “next thing you know the sun is out. It’s amazing.”

Eventually, their boat was spotted by a helicopter from a Venezuelan fishing vessel, which then took the family on board. Hannah said, “The captain said, ‘Do you know where you’re at? You’re in the middle of nowhere!'”

After spending five days on the Venezuelan ship, they transferred to a Japanese cargo ship that took them to Chile where they are resting in a hotel in the port city of San Antonio. The Chilean newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias reported the story of their arrival.

Police prefect Jose Luis Lopez, who took the family’s statement when they arrived at San Antonio, Chile said, “They were looking for a kind of adventure; they wanted to live on a Polynesian island but they didn’t have sufficient expertise to navigate adequately.”

It turns out that the family had a little help from a source who’s a little closer to home, Sean Gastonguay’s brother Jimmy. Jimmy, who still lives in Arizona, said he provided a description of the family’s vessel to the U.S. Coast Guard and exchanged emails with them once they were picked up by the first boat.

Jimmy said, “There was some concern, but we were hoping for the best, and they eventually popped up.” Once they were found, he was able to keep track of the family with the help of the Coast Guard as they were transferred from ship to ship. “We’re all happy. We have good peace of mind now,” he added.

The small Christian family who got lost at sea and found God, have all had flights home arranged by U.S. Embassy officials. According to the Associated Press, Hannah said that their journey was, “pretty exciting” and “little scary at certain points.” Hannah also said the family will “go back to Arizona” and “come up with a new plan.”

By Michael Smith
United Kingdom



29 Responses to "Small Family Lost at Sea Find God"

  1. Richie Tipsy Kariuki   August 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I feel sorry for kids that have to grow up around moronic fundamentalists. These kids deserve rational, thinking people in their lives. Maybe then they might have a chance.

    Good thing they had some extraordinary people come to rescue them from their own stupid endeavour.

    • jeffrey   August 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm


  2. Concerned Sailor   August 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I saw/knew these folks on the docks before they set sail… Totally adequate sailing experience for such a crossing, boat ill equipped, lack of provisions on board for # of crew aboard…risking lives of children foolishly. Glad the kids are safe. Glad to finally know..we have all been wondering what happened to them.

  3. john   August 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Apparently they had no problem with that big nasty government providing them a way home. As long as it benefits them somehow, it is all good.

  4. tim   August 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm


  5. Vierotchka   August 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    “Hannah Gastonguay told how she and her husband decided to take their “leap of faith” and see where “God led us.”” …and God led them in the middle of nowhere.

  6. A Giant Sloar   August 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    These lunatics weren’t rescued by God, they were rescued by a Venezuelan fishing vessel. They should be arrested for child endangerment. Keep playing with fire, and you will soon get burnt. Just like those Christian snake handlers who think God will protect them from getting killed… until they get killed.

  7. lokoroth   August 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Well I for one completely understand their sentiments about the American Church. However, they should have been better prepared, obtained and learned to use a sextant in case of GPS failure, and had decent charts. Seems like they got caught up in the euphoria of an adventure and let good planning, redundancy, and common sense go out the window.

    • Bigfoot   August 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      In other words, they’re idiots who are lucky that the country they were trying to get away from has taken them back in — at my and your expense no less. How anyone can make these deluded doofs into religious heroes is absolutely astonishing.

  8. jose rodriguez   August 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I have done some stupids things in my life but will not judge . Glad they are ok

  9. Nixon Maitre S   August 11, 2013 at 10:27 am

    That Jesus knows that we are all stupid is one reason why God Almighty sent him (His Son) to us so that if we believe in him we should not perish but have everlasting life. This should encourage us to remember and turn to him.

  10. Jesus   August 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

    That Jesus knows that we are all stupid is one reason why God Almighty sent him (His Son) to us so that if we believe in him we should not perish but have everlasting life. This should encourage us to remember and turn to him.

  11. barbara covington   August 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Oh, for goodness sake. People came to America in the first place because they couldn’t find people who believed as they did across the pond.They undertook a huge task and test, put their family on the boat and took off. Sounds historically familiar.(You can never be sure when past life karma takes over into this life, eh ?)They over came, Kept their faith , and grew in their knowledge of their God.We are all in danger every day. Don’t be so judgmental. Now do they need some guidance?I’d say so . Does someone need to be checking on those kids?Oh, yes. But surviving is a cool thing and i bet it has brought some clarity. Wait , let me rephrase. I’ll pray the experience has brought some clarity.

  12. Byron   August 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

    When irresponsible, delusional, and mentally unstable people put their children at risk it becomes a child welfare issue. Is the Gastonguay family mentally fit to care for those children or do they have a First Amendment right to put their children’s lives at risk in search of spiritual awakening? How at risk are these children now?

  13. Art   August 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Maybe they thought they heard God say GO when they actually heard NO.

  14. Gofur Self   August 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

    This is a dissapointing article. ‘Finding God’ implies the believer had lost faith and regained it. At no point in the journey had the Family lost faith. In fact, if anything this is reckless child endangerment when there were clearly safer modes of travel. The Puritans took the best safest transport technology out there. This family didn’t. The Puritans went as a group. The adults choose to go on their own. I don’t mind if the adults put their own lives at risk, it’s their life, but to endanger children’s lives is another matter. Time to call child protection services.

  15. Tim   August 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Is the U.S. that they so verbally denounced, the same U.S that flew them home on our taxpayers money? They want to pick and choose where their government gets involved. Idiots! Practically 3 generations of them on one boat! Have you seen some of these new churches? Gov’t can’t help but get involved!

  16. Purp   August 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Wow more like he smoted them for being ignorant pieces of scum n abandoning there kind for a “better life”. If they keep on this track they will prob be running/abandoning places for rest of there life bcuz nothing measures up to there dilusional standards.

  17. Patrick Goldstein   August 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

    “Small Family Lost at Sea Find God” – Incorrect, thay already had God in their lives.

    “The Gastonguays are not members of any church …the Gastonguay’s felt that Christian churches in America had it all wrong”. And that’s why they left the US, because they did not like the ‘churches” they did not belong to in the first place!

    These people are irresponsible twits.

  18. suznaz   August 11, 2013 at 9:30 am

    And God did a facepalm upon hearing how these people so misunderstood religion and twisted reality.

  19. Al Padilla   August 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Stupid Bible-thumpers take off in a boat with insufficient planning or skill, get in trouble, and are rescued from the consequences of their stupidity. Thanks, God. Should have been in the Darwin Awards instead. This sort of thing costs “normal” people time and money to clean up after their irresponsible “faith-based” actions. Did they want to go someplace where they could oppress non-fundamentalists? That’s the usual pattern.

  20. DD   August 11, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Found God, or rescued and protected by those they were trying to escape!

  21. jj   August 11, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Stupid people who got lucky.

  22. Misc Adverts   August 11, 2013 at 9:17 am

    So, God saved them but allows innocent people to die horrible deaths every minute of every day. Hmmmm…..

  23. Steven   August 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Nothing about this article describes how they “found God”. In fact, I don’t see how the outcome of this was positive at all. I think they were scared, and they are saying they “found God” to protect their price and how how stupid they feel. Nothing extraordinary happened. Drastic weather changes are common.

    I’m not saying these things because I’m completely against these types of articles. I’m saying this because there is literally nothing stirring or miraculous about how stupid this family is.

  24. Mark   August 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

    If life was free of the foolish mistakes we all make, there would be no room for Gods grace. He knows we are reckless and foolish. Doesn’t keep Him from still loving us unconditionally.

  25. RG   August 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

    They failed to realize that God gave them large, powerful brains to keep them out of the kind of mischief they in which they ultimately found themselves. God may deliver you from most things, but Stupid isn’t one of them.

    • mark scholz   August 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Sounds like that’s exactly what God did do…. deliver them from their stupidity

      • Jesus   August 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

        That Jesus knows that we are all stupid is one reason why God Almighty sent him (His Son) to us so that if we believe in him we should not perish but have everlasting life. This should encourage us to remember and turn to him.


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