A couple who sold all of their possessions so they could sail around the world have been left with nothing after their boat sank just two days into their journey.
Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh began their adventure on a 28-foot sailboat last week, setting off from the marina in Tarpon Springs.
Two days later, the emergency services were called to reports of a capsized boat in the Gulf of Mexico near Madeira Beach – about 25 miles down the coast.
While sailing through the popular tourist site, the bottom of their boat struck an unseen object underwater and quickly started to take on water, forcing them to evacuate. They were left with just their two-year-old dog Remy, their social security cards, a mobile phone and some dog food and clothes.
Speaking after the incident, the couple said they had planned to escape modern life on the sailboat after leaving Breckenridge, Colorado, last year.
“I sold everything I had to do this,” Mr Broadwell told the Tampa Bay Times. “I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes.”
Mr Broadwell, 26, is originally from Florida and worked in marketing for timeshares. He met Ms Walsh, 24, in Philadelphia while there for work, but told the newspaper they both got “tired” of the sales lifestyle, “of doing things to make people do the things they don’t want to do”.
That’s when they hatched the plan to give it all up and sail round the world. For two years they planned and saved, with Mr Broadwell driving for Uber to make extra money. In April 2017 they sold everything they had, including his SUV, and bought the 1969 boat they named ‘Lagniappe’ (which is Creole for ‘bonus’) for $5,000 (£3,600), spending the same again to restore it.
Up until that point, the couple had no sailing experience, so they spent the next few months learning from Mr Broadwell’s father. It was only this month that they decided they were ready, and were given a grand send-off by friends in Tarpon Springs.
Two days later, the Lagniappe had sunk. The boat remains in the water, and the coast guard has told the couple it could cost up to $10,000 to remove and store it. They only have $90.
They may now move in with Mr Broadwell’s mother and look for work. But they still want to keep their dream alive.
“I’m not going to give up now,” Mr Broadwell said. “I’m going to get another boat down the road.”
“We can’t just give up on our dreams,” Ms Walsh said.