NEW ORLEANS- Thanksgiving is a day of reflection and thanks. For one LaFayette resident, that couldn't be more true. James Michael Grimes recently made national news after going overboard on a Carnival cruise and spending nearly 20 hours alone in the Gulf of Mexico after falling off and then being saved on Thanksgiving day.
Grimes spoke about the experience to the Chambers Ledger, and not taking life for granted.
“Last Wednesday right around 10;45 pm, I had just won an air guitar contest, and I told my sister was going to the bathroom. After that, all I know is that I was in the ocean, and the ship was nowhere to be found. I don't remember falling or landing in the water. When reality finally set in, I could see one light in a distance, but I could never reach it. I then began to float.
According to experts, the area of water that Grimes fell in was a heavy area for Sharks.
The next day, what appeared to be a shark, and was about 16 inches in length came up, but I was able to kick it away.
For Grimes, hunger set in, and fortunately a stick that appeared to be bamboo came up.
“It gave some type of flavor in my mouth other than saltwater. That stick gave me the adrenaline I needed, and without it, I may not have had the energy I needed to sustain the elements. God allowed me to stay afloat until that tanker ship came up, and began swimming towards it", said Grimes.
The Coast Guard rescued Grimes and got him to the closest hospital which was about 20-25 miles away. Grimes spent 5 days in ICU, and, afterward was reunited with his family.
"While I was out in the ocean, I talked to God, I prayed, and I can tell you that God has a bigger purpose, A purpose I plan to follow", said an inspired Grimes following the incident.
Before going overboard, Grimes found a fortune cookie in a pair of pants he planned to wear on the cruise which read “Life’s a beach. Enjoy the waves.”
Grimes says he plans to do just that moving forward.
“I might not get within 10 feet of the rails, but I’d definitely be open to going on another cruise because I didn’t get to go on this one", said Grimes.
The LaFayette resident is now resting at home, is recovering, and is grateful for the chance to live life to the fullest following the harrowing experience.
Grimes has set up a Go Fund mepage to help with expenses due to the five days he spent in ICU. To donate visit the link below.