Rick Garland had just finished a day of dragging for periwinkles outside Portland Harbor on Tuesday and turned his fishing boat, the Christina & Caelyn, back toward Hobson's wharf when his crewman saw what he thought was a harbor seal.
"I looked over and said 'That's not a seal,'" Garland recalled Wednesday. It was a man floating in the middle of the channel at the mouth of the harbor. At first, Garland thought it was someone swimming in a dry suit. As he got closer, he realized it was a man waving weakly for help, his winter coat floating on the water around his shoulders. Garland's depth gauge told him the water temperature at the surface was 33.5 degrees.
The man wasn't yelling and had almost no strength left.
"It was all he could do to wave. He didn't reach up for the boat or nothing. He couldn't move," Garland said. "It was scary because I know how cold it is. My hands have been in the water all day long."
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