The next morning we docked in Hilo, Hawaii. We went ashore and shopped and did some sight-seeing. Then in the early afternoon we returned to the ship.
There were more passengers boarding the Leilani and more "Bon Voyage" parties. There were many adults drinking and partying. Once again, the guests were instructed to disembark from the ship. As the bands played and the hula girls danced, the tugboat pulled us out to see. And then we were on our way back to California. My brother Lee and I sang "California Here I Come" together, we were so glad to be going home.
It was late afternoon and it was still daylight outside. As we sailed away from the islands, I stood on deck watching the people party, and looking out at the ocean. I loved the view of the islands as we sailed away from them. The green mountains jutting from the sea with waterfalls dotting the landscape was magnificent.
My admiration of the beautiful view was suddenly interrupted by noise coming from the ships aft (back). A male passenger was making a lot of noise about jumping into the ocean. Apparently, someone had dared him to jump into the ocean, and he was about to take that dare. He was an average looking man, probably in his late thirties. He had been partying with a group of people and was very inebriated. I watched him as he climbed upon and stood up on the ships back railing. He stood upon the railing waving his arms and shouting, and then, suddenly, he jumped overboard.
The crowd on deck began yelling to get help. The man who jumped into the water surfaced immediately and began waving and yelling for help. He was doing the dog paddle and seemed to have quickly sobered up. A crowd gathered at the back of the ship watching him and a few people were yelling at him, encouraging him to keep swimming. A few passengers had gone for help, and help soon arrived. Someone arrived with a round "life saver" and threw it to the man in the water. He was yelling for the ship to stop and get him back on board. In the background we could hear the bridge announcing "Man Overboard, Man Overboard."
It was then that I learned that a ship cannot just stop. We were moving to fast and by the time we could have stopped we would have been miles from this guy. We were told that the ships Captain had called the Coast Guard to come and rescue the guy. Someone yelled to the guy to hold onto the life saver, the Coast Guard was going to come and get him. He looked shocked as he treaded water.
As we sailed away from him we could see the guy, now inside his life saver, waving at us and yelling at us to come and save him. He appeared to fade farther and farther from us and quickly disappeared on the horizon as we sailed away.