DES Gell was fishing about 5km off Scarborough with his mate Randall Hunter when he started to feel “a bit woozy”.
They had caught and released a few samson fish behind Rottnest on the first Sunday of the year before “doing alright with whiting” closer to home.
“All of a sudden I felt light in the head and pain in the chest,” the 67-year-old retired hospital orderly said.
“Randall asked ‘how you feeling’ and I said ‘not too flash, we better get in’.”
He had in fact had a heart attack and this week he met up with a crew of the Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Group to thank them for their role in making sure he got to hospital.
When Randall got his Padbury friend back to Hillarys Boat Harbour, there was a queue of boats waiting to use the boat ramp.
He noticed the sea rescue boat tied up to the Hillarys walkway and steered theirs toward it.
The Whitfords volunteers put him on oxygen and had the defibrillator on standby before ambulance officers arrived to take him to Joondalup Health Campus.
“They happened to be in the right place at the right time and I wanted to go back to thank them,” Des said.
He spent a few nights in hospital, had “all sorts of tests” and is due back at the cardiologist next month.
He said he would return to the water “when I’m 100 per cent”.
“I’m feeling better every day,” he said.