Party Boat Captain Catches Camera on Fishing Line and Finds Owner Through Facebook
Travel| | By Robin Milling
Some vacation photos are taken just for fun, while others are a snapshot of our treasured memories meant to last a lifetime.
Alex Mansur was not so lucky when he lost his camera to the Tennessee River while vacationing there in 2012. The trip was special because Mansur and his family met with other relatives to go paddle boarding for the first time together in Chattanooga.
While out on the water, the lanyard that carried his camera somehow slipped from his wrist. Dozens of photos Mansur snapped while on the trip were all lost in the river — or so he thought.
As fate would have it — five years later on June 10 — party boat Chattanooga Cycleboats was on the same river filming a fishing segment for the travel web series Moving Mountains Roadshow. While trolling the lines, master captain Nate Wilson and co-captain Matt Schubert snagged an unusual object — a water-logged and algae-covered Olympus camera.
Wilson turned from captain to detective to retrieve the photos. A screw driver freed the SanDisk 8 GB SD memory card inside.
“Being a hobby photographer and having three small children, I’ve put some memory cards through the ringer, the washer and dryer being the most surprising.” Wilson said in a press release from Chattanooga Cycleboats.
As former corporate worker, Wilson cashed out his retirement to start the party boat business.
“It’s been a hard winter with the start up business. People have given us money for Christmas and someone anonymously paid our light and water bill. I wanted a job outside. I was in the corporate world, office and factory work and was looking to do something with my hobbies. Found the cycleboat on Craigslist and cashed out my retirement to buy it. Been happily eating rice and beans ever since,” he wrote to Your Daily Dish.
Grateful for the help he received to start his business, Wilson wanted to return the favor. He posted on Facebook in search of the camera’s owner.
“I need help finding this man” he wrote on Facebook. “We snagged his camera with fishing line in Chattanooga. There are pictures of what seems to be a mother and daughter too, pics date from 2009 to 2012.”
There were hundreds of pictures and videos, but he posted one selfie video of Mansur camping and one photo of him paddle boarding.
He located Alex Mansur
Thanks to social media, Mansur and his camera were virtually reunited – when less than 10 hours from the original post. Texas resident Katie Daghlian responded to Wilson’s post.
“This is our cousin!!!!! Omg!!! This is amazing! He was so mad he lost his camera!!!! I am in Chattanooga visiting. I can get it or connect you to to him. He lives in Florida,” Daghlian wrote on Facebook.
“I just keep getting goosebumps,” Alex Mansur said to Wilson when they connected on the phone. “The odds of you recovering that camera from the bottom of that river the way you did far exceeds that of you winning the lottery. Those videos of me hiking alone in the wilderness marked a pretty personal and challenging time in my life and those experiences I had alone in Southwest Texas were some pivotal moments that led me to where I am today.”
These memories now restored were very important to Alex Mansur — who couldn’t be more grateful.
“I would like to tremendously thank Nate Wilson and everyone for this unbelievable experience in returning my camera I lost 5 years ago!” Mansur wrote on Facebook. “I am still in disbelief over this amazing ordeal and how it has unfolded. He is a tremendous person for taking the time to reunite me with my camera and the many wonderful memories it held. My sincerest gratitude to Nate and everyone who helped!”
Wilson felt he knew Alex Mansur intimately by reviewing his pictures and videos. The two strangers will reportedly meet in person in June.
“I destroyed the camera getting the SD card out. I will hand it (8GB memory card) to him on Sunday when we meet for the first time, “ Wilson wrote to Your Daily Dish.