Financial shipwreck: 'That (boat) was our income'

Financial shipwreck: 'That (boat) was our income'

ILWACO, Wash. - A family's ticket to financial stability is now bobbing in the ocean. Their boat, which was the sole source of income for this fishing family, crashed near Newport, Ore. last Sunday.

But beyond the shipwreck, the Shedore family is struggling to cope after they learned one family member was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Fishing is the Shedore's way of life and for Mike Shedore it's been that way for 35 years.

"He was gone for maybe three weeks to a month at a time tuna fishing," said Bea Shedore, Mike's wife.

Mike downsized his 63-foot boat to a roughly 40-foot one he spent time and money sprucing up. He named it the Two Mikes, after his son Mikey, hoping with a smaller boat he'd still make money but spend more time with his family, including their twin babies. But then everything changed.

"His tongue started to swell, and he was slurring his speech a little bit," Bea said.

It was November when Mike was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. The terminal diagnosis stripped his ability to speak, leaving him to communicate through a computer.

"I have to depend on people for everything. I was independent," he said through a computer generated voice.

At one time he had the strength to hoist huge tuna out of the sea by himself.

"Crew members struggled to keep up with me. Now I have no upper body strength. I can barely lift five pounds," Mike wrote.

"When the twins were born he held Lilly because she was so tiny," Bea said. "That was the only one he could hold, and he could just hold her for a second."

He could no longer take the Two Mikes out, instead, trusted it to two friends.

The boat set off from the port of Ilawco last Sunday. It was their first fishing trip, and they had experienced fishermen on the boat. It was supposed to be a short trip, but the boat never made it back.

"They hit the jetty, and it was just that quick," Bea said.

The boat was destroyed, sinking the Shedores' hopes and dreams with it.

"That was our income," Bea said. "That was just to get ahead, to get out of financial burden.  I mean we put all our money in it, all our savings into that boat. I don't know what we're going to do. I just don't know."

"You form a bond with the boat," Mike said, using the computer generated voice. "I have never had an incident in 35 years of fishing. This loss is hard to take."

Bea doesn't have a job right now as she's taking care of him and their three young children. She says the community of Ilwaco has been generous.

But as for the boat, they do have insurance. But there's no telling when they'll get the money. And they say it is worth more than they expect they'll get back.

Those who are interested in helping out the family can donate to any Bank of the Pacific in the names of Mike and Bea Shedore.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is responding to a sheen in the water near the wreck. A helicopter crew observed an approximate 50-by-100-foot sheen along the ocean side of the jetty late Thursday afternoon.

The Coast Guard says contractors, who were standing by, set up about 1000 feet of boom in the water, although officials say the sheen is quickly dispersing and the spill would not be recoverable.
The Coast Guard has not said what substance is leaking into the water and causing the sheen, but they plan to remove fuel from the vessel's tanks as soon as weather will permit that operation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.