Thursday, October 27, 2005

John Calvert's One Tough Motherfucker!

Received the following report in my email inbox this morning. Holy shit!



Surviving Wilma on the waves

Couple ride out terror John Calvert, 94, and his wife, Tammy, 63, survive Wilma on a runaway boat, Oct 26, 2005

MERRITT ISLAND -- At the height of Hurricane Wilma, John Calvert stood on the bow of his yacht in the Banana River struggling with a frayed anchor line.

If it snapped, the 94-year-old man was certain the fierce winds would send his boat crashing into the Mathers Bridge.

Inside the thrashing 67-foot vessel, Calvert's wife, Tammy, prayed.

"I was scared to death," she said Tuesday. "I thought it was the end of us."

Hours earlier, Tammy Calvert, 63, who can't swim, had urged her husband to leave the yacht they call home and ride out the storm at a friend's house.

But Calvert, a former stuntman, magician and adventurer who has flown blindfolded and once doubled for Clark Gable, was convinced they would be fine.

The yacht he had helped build 25 years ago was tied to a dock and was weighted with seven anchors.

But as the winds howled Monday afternoon, a nearby dock suddenly broke apart and slammed into the dock where the Calverts' boat, the Magic Castle II, was moored.

"I had to cut the moor lines and all but two of the anchor lines loose so I could get away from the dock," Calvert said.

He managed to start the motor and steer toward the middle of the Banana River about 100 yards from shore, where the water is 20 to 25 feet deep.

Despite near-100 mph winds, 5-foot waves and pounding rain, Calvert still was convinced they would be safe.

Then he noticed the fraying line.

"I had to get that part of the rope pulled in so it wouldn't break," he said. "I have to say, I was getting very concerned."

Using a cell phone with a dying battery, Calvert called his friend Bob Green and asked him to get help. Green called 911 and then the U.S. Coast Guard.

But even before Green called him back, Calvert knew nobody would come for them.

The winds were too strong to send a helicopter, and all the boat ramps were flooded, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ben Fleming said.

"I already knew I would have to figure my way out," said Calvert, adding that the Coast Guard kept close tabs on them, calling every hour.

Somehow, Calvert managed to secure the anchor line, and the couple spent the rest of the night huddled inside the stranded yacht.

Early Tuesday, a Coast Guard vessel brought the weary pair to shore.

By late afternoon, a diver from a salvage company was trying to untangle a mass of ropes and lines in the murky water, some of which had gotten caught in the boat's propeller.

"I don't have a bone or a muscle in my body that isn't aching," Calvert conceded. "I've never worked so hard in my life."

Tammy Calvert spent the morning on the phone with her sister.

"We both just cried," she said, the tears suddenly welling.

As for the Magic Castle II, Calvert said he had decided to sell it just days before the hurricane hit.

Tammy Calvert couldn't be happier.

"This was like going through hell," she said.

MM

14 Comments:

Blogger MagiFeller said...

I guess they don't make em like they used to.

Cris Angel wishes he was this bad ass.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

That's my Aunt...for real.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Professor Millard II said...

John and I did magic in Africa back in the 60s together. Does he have a phone number in Florida? If so I would like to call him. I also live in Florida near Merritt Island. Dave Millard

ke4amw@hotmail.com

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

I met John in Tenerife with his wife. They had a boat made in the Far East all with beautiful carvings. A piano room with white carpeting all over the walls.

He had worse than this one. Sunk in shark infested waters off the African Coast.
Landing his plane when it crash landed in twicethe length of the plane.
An amazing guy. I got pulled from the audience on one of his shows.
I remember him saying something like Thank God I had no one who spoke English. So he had me performing like a pet seal.

The following day I was on his boat.
Just Magic!

I had been thinking about him and it was only tonight that I remembered his surname. So I googled him.
Many thanks and hopefully John you are still fighting

Love
Barry

barry@9b9.co.uk

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got back after attending John Calverts' lecture. Fascinating man. He whispered
"old magicians never die they just disapper"......

Shailesh Musley

5:46 PM  
Blogger Clarence said...

My sister, Yvonne and her husband, "Red" Cogburn were on John Calvert's private DC-3 with John at the controls when they crashed into a farmhouse on New Years Eve, 1946 near Memphis, Tennessee. Although there were 18 people on the airplane and 5 in the farmhouse, by some miracle, no one was killed.
Clarence Dargie
Shalimar, Florida

4:34 PM  
Anonymous jeff said...

just read the story about john and his wife about their fight with the storm onboard their yacht and miracle survival ,this reminds me of an incident in northern australia in the early sixties when his yacht "sea fox" was blown ashore during a cyclone and captian and crew were forced to abandon ship complete with a monkey which caused great amusement with the local natives who had never seen one before ,john made his way down to melbourne where he and his act were the toast of the town on tv, palita the singer did very well on tv and nightclub circuit,"sea fox"was salvaged towed/sailed to darwin ,where is it now ?and is john still with us now ? jeff silvester melbourne australia.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Sara Pereira said...

Jeff, yes, John is still with us. He is the uncle to my mom's ex-boyfriend. We are seeing him this Saturday at the Magic Castle where we will be watching a documentary that was just done on him. He's a spectacular man and he's still kicking at 99 I believe.

12:21 PM  
Blogger GARRYS AUSTRALASIA said...

I remember John and the monkey (much to Australian customs dispair)and his trevail with the "sea Fox". Last I remember of the ship,it was salvaged by Carl Atkinson and towed to Doctors Gully (Carl's place). John did shows in Darwin. This was 1963, there about.
The ship became toledo worm eaten due to constant 22' tides washing in and out, it had a steel pipe through the port lights and a makeshift cradle holding it upright, To my knowledge the ship was eventually burnt in Doctors Gully as a wreck.

Garry Roberts Florida (Formerly Darwin)

9:32 PM  
Blogger GARRYS AUSTRALASIA said...

Correct me if I am wrong, wasn't the "Seafox" Errol Flynn's (The man from Tasmania) ship?. I believe he had a gold mine near Port Moresby PNG and was croc' hunting there too.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Mori said...

Errol Flynn's boat was the Sirocco, a yacht built in Sydney in 1881 and wrecked while owned by Flynn at Para, New Guinea in 1930.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Mori said...

Some interesting links to Clavert's yacht Sea Fox as follows:

http://blog.jonathanbollen.net/2011/02/10/pilita-corrales/

http://www.territorystories.nt.gov.au/search

6:52 PM  
Anonymous ritchie said...

hello everyone. i'm trying to get in contact with john calvert-the magician. i worked with him when he was in grand cayman,in the 80s.if anyone knows of his contact e-mail or number,please e-mail me at lonnieritchie@hotmail.com. thanks a million.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

I've seen John and Tammy twice in the last week. They are currently staying in Bowling Green, KY.

We were in a local restaurant at the same as they, last evening. (different tables)

2:44 AM  

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