Two men who spent more than five hours swimming in 7-foot waves after their boat capsized on the Great Salt Lake were found safe in the public showers on Antelope Island.
Jason C. Staley, 27, Kaysville, and John Perry, 28, Layton, swam to shore after their canoe capsized under the waves Sunday. A Davis County Search and Rescue crew found them at 1 a.m. in the showers at Antelope Island State Park, where they were trying to get warm after their ordeal."I learned how to swim out there. I used to fear the water," Staley said Monday afternoon.
Perry and Staley were treated at Davis Hospital and Medical Center for hypothermia and illness caused by the salt water they swallowed.
The two spent Saturday night on Fremont Island doing some rock hunting and hiking before deciding to do some canoeing just off the island Sunday. But Perry said northern winds picked up, creating 7-foot waves.
The wind eventually overturned their canoe around 7:30 p.m., seven miles from the Antelope Island shoreline.
"I didn't realize the wind would quicken up like that," Staley said.
Perry said he and Staley clung to the canoe in their life jackets for about two hours, hoping the current would carry them to the island.
But as it became dark and the water got colder, the wind and the waves started taking them away from shore.
They abandoned the rented canoe and began swimming for the lights on the island.
"He (Staley) wasn't a good swimmer. I thought I was going to lose him. He kept going under," Perry said.
Staley, an admitted novice swimmer, said he survived by using a combination of the dog paddle and an improvised freestyle stroke.
He said he also stayed as close as he could to Perry by holding on to his life jacket.
At times in the night they were separated. "It was pitch black. All we could do is identify each other by yelling out," Staley said. "I prayed to God out there quite a bit."
Perry and Staley said they do not know how long they were in the shower stalls before rescuers Lynn Riddle and Sale Tejero found them.
"If they wouldn't have found us soon, I probably would have gone into shock," said Perry, who blacked out several times while in the shower stall.
"I couldn't stop shivering and shaking," Staley said.
Sheriff Glenn Clary said the rescue crew began its search shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday after the pair were reported missing by friends and family.