Memoir tells of Dom’s brush with death

PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 January 2016

Explorer Dom Mee.

Explorer Dom Mee.

Archant

An explorer whose trans-Atlantic row to Exmouth turned into a desperate fight for life has told his story in a new book.

Dom Mee, 45, who lived in the town for 10 years, has published a memoir, Kiting the Hurricane, which tells the story of his attempt to make the first crossing of the Atlantic ocean in a kite-propelled boat in 2005, under the title Kite Quest 200.

Having set off from Canada that August, Dom had hoped to reach Devon within five weeks. However, his expedition coincided with a deadly hurricane season, and, having been battered by the tail-ends of Hurricanes Katrina, Maria, Nate and Ophelia, Dom’s boat, Little Murka, which had been built in Exmouth, was finally capsized by Hurricane Rita, the fourth-most intense Atlantic storm in history.

Dom was left clinging to the upturned keel for more than five hours, constantly being washed overboard by 95mph winds and enormous ocean swells 60ft high.

He says he had ‘made peace’ with dying – but was then saved as his boat righted itself and he was able to clamber back aboard, before being rescued by the Canadian Coastguard.

Recalling his ordeal, Dom said: “Little Murka was designed to be self-righting, but the sheer force of the storm was off the scale and it engulfed the boat, capsizing it and throwing me into the freezing ocean. My body was starting to shut down with hypothermia and, as I was thrown into the water again, I remember thinking, ‘this is my time’. I just let go, accepting my fate and sinking into the depths. I felt at peace under the waves, but next thing I knew I felt a sharp tug around my waist and I surfaced, taking a deep breath of life and finding Little Murka had miraculously righted itself.”

Dom, a father of three who now lives in Sri Lanka, had learned to sail during a 15-year career in the Royal Marines, and before attempting Kite Quest 200 had kayaked solo to the magnetic North Pole.

He was not put off adventuring by his brush with death and, in 2007, led a four-man team which rowed across the Atlantic.

Dom, who will also feature in two new TV documentaries about the doomed expedition this summer on Channel Five and the Discovery Channel, added: “The expedition may not have succeeded, but I managed to triumph against the full fury of nature. That in itself is an achievement I’m understandably proud of!”


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