A Scottish man who almost died travelling by jet ski to see his girlfriend says the trip was like “getting kicked in the teeth”.
Dale McLaughlan, 28, has opened up about the October visit to the Isle of Man to see girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe. He says he tried to be responsible about it, checking the weather forecast which reported calm waters.
Instead, he was met by 1.8 metre waves and heavy fog, causing him to become lost.
“As soon as I hit open water I thought ‘Oh my God.’ It was like getting a kick in the teeth. It was terrible,” he told The Mirror. It wasn’t fun.”
His GPS was then washed away by the waves.
“I didn’t have a clue where I was going,” he said, adding that listening to the songs ‘Love Is All Around’ by Wet Wet Wet and ‘Wind Of Change’ by the Scorpions helped keep him motivated.
After four-and-a-half hours McLaughlan arrived on the Isle of Man with only a few minutes of fuel left. He had landed in the wrong town so had to walk 24 kilometres to girlfriend Jessica’s home.
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The couple were reunited and headed to a local pub where McLaughlan was quickly arrested for breaching coronavirus restrictions which saw the isle closed to non-residents.
He was jailed for 10 days and sent back to Scotland.
The Isle of Man’s Chief Minister Howard Quayle called McLaughlan’s actions “an incredibly reckless, dangerous endeavour, which could have ended very differently given the time of year.”
McLaughlan met his girlfriend in September while working on the Isle of Man after being granted an exemption certificate.
“I met Jess at the pub,” he told The Mirror. “I saw her walk in the door wearing a black skirt and a top and thought ‘I need to talk to you’!
“I was staring at her. She actually said I was a bit creepy, but she loved my eyes. She said ‘I saw you looking at me’ – and it kicked off from there.”
They spent a weekend together before McLaughlan’s work permit expired and he returned home in October.
“The minute I got on that ferry I knew I was making one of the biggest mistakes of my life,” he said. “I had to find a way back.
“I told Jessica within a week of knowing her, ‘I actually think I love you’. She said, ‘I know, it’s crazy isn’t it’?”
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