Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Hope for missing family dwindles

TAVERNIER -- Carol Dyche struggles with herself over whether she will ever see her son and his family alive again.

From her West Palm Beach home, the 82-year-old mother and grandmother told the Free Press that she is getting fewer press inquiries and time is beginning to slow down, and with that, a tragic reality has taken hold.

"I'm not hopeful anymore," she said. "Some of the family still is."

Dyche's son, daughter-in-law and grandson have been lost at sea and out of contact since June 4.

According to the Associated Press, Tavernier residents David Dyche, 58, wife Rosemary Dyche, 60, and their 17-year-old son David left New Zealand May 29 on board a 70-foot wooden sailboat bound for Australia.

Rescue crews were alerted that the boat, Nina, was missing June 14, but were not worried since the emergency beacon was never activated. Neville Blackmore, of New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre, told the AP last week a likely conclusion was the boat sank rapidly, not giving the crew enough time to activate the beacon.

Also on the boat was a family friend, Evi Nemeth, 73, and three others not named in an AP report.

Carol Dyche moved to Key Largo in 1960 to work as a recreation director at the Ocean Reef Club. She later was employed by the Upper Keys Reporter, Coral Shores High School and the Monroe County Public Library in Islamorada.

She said her son began working as a dock boy at Gilbert's Resort, where he fell in love with sailing. Not long after, he was sailing every week and competing in races throughout South Florida. Soon enough, his mother would find herself making payments on a catamaran.

It was in the late '60s when her son, then just a teenager, sailed to the Bahamas without telling his mother.

"I was scared to death," she said. "He was missing."

She said she had never felt that way again until last month when reports surfaced that her son and his family were apparently lost at sea.

By her side for most of this ordeal has been her son's twin sister, Cherie Martinez, who has been comforting her mother.

In between voyages working as a ship captain in Brazil, David Dyche often visited his friends, John and Leslie Gray of Plantation Key. The last time the Grays saw their friend was in May, just before his latest voyage.

While in town, Dyche mentioned the upcoming trip would be the final leg of their journey around the world. When they arrived in Australia, Dyche's son was expected to fly back to Florida to attend college and Rosemary would also come back to visit family.

"He was really excited about his boat and a new motor," Leslie Gray said.

Her husband said he was having a tough time dealing with the apparent tragedy.

"David was my lifelong friend," John Gray said. "Like a brother, he was always there."

The Grays have gathered photographs from their adventures with Dyche. Lately, they have spent time talking about fond memories.

"We're continuing to hope for a miracle," he said. "It's a tough situation. He knows sailboats as good as anybody."

Jim Mooney, an Upper Keys Realtor who was Dyche's physical education coach at Coral Shores High School in early 1970s, said he considers him "a dear friend."

Mooney said it is too early to give up hope.

"David's been in 30-foot seas," he said. "He has survived storms."

Mooney is among many Coral Shores graduates who are sharing thoughts and prayers through an alumni Facebook page.

He said sailors are known to disappear for weeks and then reappear outside the search area.

"He's a Keys kid," Mooney said. "He's one of us."

jgore@keysnews.com

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