America-Hating Christian Family Who Had To Be Rescued At Sea Will Set Sail Again

Remember the Gastonguays? This past May, 26-year-old Hannah, her 30-year-old husband Sean, his father Mike, and the couple’s daughters, 3-year-old Ardith and 8-month-old Rahab, planned to sail to Kiribati, a tiny island nation, population 100,000, some 1,300 miles south of Hawaii. They didn’t want to live in the increasingly godless United States anymore due to “abortion, homosexuality [and] the state-controlled church.”

The five set sail for their exotic destination but were later found to have “zero knowledge and experience in navigation.” Inevitably, they suffered one mishap after another. With their boat badly battered after a string of Pacific squalls and storms plus a collision with a Canadian cargo ship, the family ran out of supplies but managed to survive on some juice, honey, and what fish they could catch. Then the deck started separating from the hull, and the boat filled with water constantly. After 91 days of half-sailing, half-drifting, a helicopter had to airlift them to safety.

Commented Hannah afterwards:

“We were in the thick of it, but we prayed. Being out on that boat, I just knew I was going to see some miracles.”

One measure of how ill-prepared they were is evidenced by this recent lament from Sean Gastonguay (pictured below, with Ardith):

“There’s just no way I can morally pay an income tax. You can’t get work without paying the income tax. I want to go some place where I’m free to work.”

Sean and Ardith Gastonguay (Associated Press)

Of course, like almost all countries, Kiribiati actually has an income tax, of as much as 35%.

No matter. That little tidbit is unlikely to persuade the reality-immune Christian family, who now say they will soon embark on a new attempt (apparently, God didn’t demonstrate his disapproval clearly enough the first time).

Sean Gastonguay told the “TruNews with Rick Wiles” radio show yesterday that he and his family are going to try the trip again on a “bigger boat with a year’s worth of supplies, so it doesn’t matter what happens.”

The Christian dad also complained about all the “hoops you gotta jump through just to start a church, food bank or to help your neighbor,” but didn’t state exactly what those “hoops” were.

Gastonguay also said he believes the U.S. government should be set up according to “Old Testament law” (which would require the stoning of gays and disobedient children).

Despite his deep aversion to the U.S. government in its current form, at the end of his adrift-at-sea episode, the all-wet fundamentalist borrowed $10,000 from the State Department to get himself and his family back home to Arizona.

My money’s on that bill doubling in size after rescue number two.

On that note, let’s hope the children stay safe. The adults? They’re old enough to be responsible for their own actions.

(Image via New York Daily News)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • flyb

    Well, it’s not far down to paradise. At least it’s not for me. And if the wind is right
    you can sail away and find tranquility. Oh, the canvas can do miracles. Just you wait and see. Believe me.

  • Gunner Miller

    The term child endangerment comes to mind.

  • Beth

    Look at the terror in that little girl’s face! So so sad!

  • DougI

    Are they thanking those godless taxpayers for paying to bail them out when their gods let them down?

  • SeekerLancer

    He doesn’t like paying income tax but he sure loves spending other people’s income tax money to pay for the “miracles” required to save his ass.

    If his family ends up dying because of his stupidity this is going to go from ridiculous to depressing really fast.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Seriously though…where the fuck is DCYF?

  • Grier

    Love me some Christopher Cross…a yacht-rock extraordinaire!

  • Tainda

    That’s what I was thinking. Breaks my heart

  • CultOfReason

    I don’t mind seeing a Darwin Award issued to the doofus dad, but for crying out loud, someone needs to step in and save the child. That look of terror on her face made me very sad.

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Readers: please protect those two children by calling the toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-767-2445.

    They more of us that call the better….

    Some background details from prior news coverage:
    Sean Gastonguay and Hannah Gastonguay at one time lived in Phoenix Arizona, Glendale Az, and also in Ash Fork, Az. (I’m not sure what Az town they are in now).

    Prior to the May 2013 rescue, before the trip their boat was docked in San Diego, Hannah gave birth on the boat to daughter Rahab. They took this newborn onto the open seas (at less than 1 year old), along with other daughter Ardith, 3 years old.

    Since they are in the news, etc., it should not be hard for Arizona Child Protective Services [Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)] to find them.

    Please call the toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-767-2445.

  • flyb

    It’s the universal expression for, “Please, someone get me away from this crazy asshole.”

  • Sophy

    All kids, even the most kindly treated, will sometimes have expressions like that on their faces. She looks miserable surrounded by strangers and probably just wants her mom. Please don’t read more into it than that.

  • Carmenalex

    I’m just scared for their kids…if they want to go drown their ass fine, but those poor children!

  • Tainda

    Oh palease! I’m sure 91 days floating at sea had NOTHING to do with it.

  • Verimius

    Why don’t they just fly to Kiribati? It’ll be a lot safer and a lot cheaper.

  • duke_of_omnium

    And they’ve got such a long way to go, to make it to the border of Mexico Kiribati.

  • Mitch

    But think of all the hoops they would have to jump through to get the tickets!

  • Mitch

    So they’re not in favor of a “state-controlled church,” eh? Funny, I have a similar attitude toward “church-controlled state.”

  • grimmlock

    Because if God had wanted man to fly, he would have given man wings! There’s no way they could fly on those DEVIL MACHINES!

    Seriously, though, the place has 23 freaking airports. 2 International and the rest domestic for the various atolls.

  • stanz2reason

    You don’t even need the article. The picture tells the whole story. That this ignorant quarter-wit recklessly taking a 3-year old onto the Pacific wasn’t grounds for his immediate arrest is just staggering. If there is a God, maybe he should put a little effort into saving that kid now from what will undoubtedly be an article 2 months from now about the family being lost at sea and presumed drowned.

  • allein

    I wonder if they have passports, given their anti-government nonsense…

    (edit: I was going to ask the same question, actually, and then it occurred to me that they might not have much in the way of optional government-issued IDs. If not, I wonder if they would have been allowed to dock their boat and enter the country, had they made it safely.)

  • baal

    They’ll need them soon enough grimmlock when they have to evacuate the entire place for being permanently under water.

  • allein

    What’s that thing about “render unto Caesar…” I thought that was supposed to mean you should pay your taxes?

  • Deepsix

    My thought as well. Why doesn’t he just fly or charter a boat? Hell, if he’s really a believer, god could just magic his ass over there.

  • Terry Firma

    Mitch FTW.

  • Jett Perrobone

    Sorry Terry! Accidentally downvoted you. :(

    Edited to fix spelling mistake (Thanks, Paula).

  • islandbrewer

    You know that you can undo your own downvote.

  • Jett Perrobone

    Really? Cool. Done.

  • kanehau

    Or they could have just taken one of the many cruise ships.

  • grimmlock

    Oh yeah, well if God had intended man to float on the water he would have made us ducks! Or something. Is there really a logical conclusion to this kind of reasoning? Wait, all powerful sky monster enforcing will upon man, never mind, logic has broken down.

  • Mitch

    That’s cold-blooded and brilliant. I approve.

  • LDavidH

    I don’t know about the States (!), but that kind of behaviour would definitely qualify as “weird” and “irresponsible” in my church (UK south coast village), where everybody pays their income tax (presumably higher than the US equivalent) and would not expect any country (other than the ancient kingdom of Israel) governed according to Old Testament law. Please don’t judge Christians as a whole based on a few extremists…

  • David McNerney

    The problem is – until we see the headline, “Family of 4 drowns in Pacific Misadventure” – their biblical justification is just as valid as yours.

    There are no extremists.

  • ChrisCross84

    Am I the only one who sees the irony and hilarity between this Terry’s name and this article???

  • C Peterson

    And not just because of the dangerous trip. Kiribati is unlikely to even exist for more than a few more decades before the people have to leave because of rising sea levels. That’s assuming they aren’t all killed by a devastating storm before they evacuate. Not the sort of place you want to take a child to start a new life.

  • allein

    Did any of the articles say how they came to choose Kiribati in the first place?

  • Eliot Parulidae

    Throwing darts?

  • Terry Firma

    Ha! Actually hadn’t thought about that!

  • KBrent Alexander KThomas

    is this what they mean when they say “jesus take the wheel”?

    Seriously look at the horror on this childs face…..

  • BobaFuct

    I guess I don’t understand why they have to sail…is buying a plane ticket not “faithful” enough?

  • 7Footpiper

    Because I’m a plane geek (self-professed) I did the search. 3 Adults (I use the term loosely) and 1 child (infant on lap) will cost $24,622 one way, will take them 44 hours and route San Diego>LA>Auckland>Nadi(Fiji)>Tarawa(Kiribati).

    All in all, a little safer then getting a bigger boat and moar food and waiting for the miracles to roll in.

  • allein

    She may just be upset by all the people around…but still, they put their kids in danger because of their own lack of experience (and apparently a shoddy boat). And they plan to do it again. Just stupid.

  • Truthmatters

    Good. Maybe they will start a movement and all kinds of christians will pack up and leave the country. I’ll bet his clothes are made from mixed fibers. He should kill himself.

  • allein

    Ooh! Now I’m picturing a movie along the lines of The Terminal but they’re stuck on their little boat in international waters because they’re not allowed to go anywhere else. Maybe Tom Hanks’s kid can play the dad…

  • KMR

    I know!! Buy a plan ticket, dumbass, and then you don’t have to worry about your children drowning.

  • ZeldasCrown

    By the time they’ve paid for their boats, supplies, the $10,000 loan, missed work/pay, etc, $24,622 has got to be looking pretty cheap.

  • Mark DeYoung

    Many Americans believe they can easily move to another country. Most countries take immigration seriously. Kiribati might just throw the Gastonguays in prison and then deport them.

  • LDavidH

    “There are no extremists”?? Seriously? So Stalin’s approach to religion is representative of modern atheists – he wasn’t an extremist?

    BTW, there’s no biblical justification for not paying income tax, and there is no biblical justification for wanting to apply OT laws to a secular, post-Jesus, non-Israelite society. Those who hold such views are extremists, because their version of Christianity is not recognised as valid by the vast majority of Christians.

  • Jasper

    Okay, how about this? The next time we inevitably have to save their asses, we rescue the child, and leave the dumbass parents to their own fate.

  • allein

    Stalin didn’t justify his actions with “atheism.” (Though I do agree, there are extremists.)

  • Jasper

    We shouldn’t be overriding their free will, after all.

  • Bitter Lizard


    Yep, you’re way different from the stupid, annoying Christians. Completely unique and not at all predictable.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Stoning is called for, though. I suspect that stoning oneself* is actually quite hard.

    *(waits for it…)

  • David McNerney

    When we are talking about religion, as I thought we were, then there are no extremists.

    If someone decides to stone their son for disobedience, is that extremism? By what standard – clearly not the bible which is very clear on the subject.

    Oh, but we’re talking about the New Testament. So if someone gave their family arsenic to demonstrate the outward sign of the holy spirit then that wouldn’t be extreme, no?

    And in this church you go to, do they not talk about how great Abraham was? Are there not children’s book extolling his virtue? About a man who was quite happy to murder his only son.

    Like I said religion only sees extremism when it’s too late.

  • Bitter Lizard

    Hitler was an aStalinist extremist. Look at all the crimes committed by aStalinists throughout history.

    Seriously, I will never tire of pointing out how stupid this line of religious apologia is. You’d think they’d learn but, then again, no you wouldn’t.

  • C Peterson

    Why “self-hating”? That is certainly overly narrow. I believe just “hating” describes them more accurately.

  • C Peterson

    Oops, misread the headline. But the general idea still seems correct. “Hating” needs no qualification.

  • Bitter Lizard

    Both the “good theists” and the “extremists” have completely, equally unsubstantiated belief systems. The only way we can draw a distinction between the two is by using secular morality to determine whose actions are less harmful overall.

  • islandbrewer


  • LDavidH

    I think his actions against churches were justified by atheism – what other justification was there?
    Or take Enver Hoxha, the worse-than-Stalin dictator of Albania 1944-1985. His persecution of all religion was definitely motivated by his atheism and his conviction that religion was inherently bad for people – Albanian churches and mosques weren’t rich enough to try give his actions economic motives.

  • islandbrewer

    Phew! It’s only Stalin. For a minute, I thought someone was going to bring up Hitler.


  • Bitter Lizard


  • islandbrewer

    Actions against churches in dictatorships occurs as a means of control over social elements that might oppose you as dictator. It happens among theist dictatorships as well. Stalin’s and Hoxha’s and Hitler’s (although Hitler left the RCC and Lutheran churches intact, after making sure national church heads were under his thumb) actions against religious groups had to do with megalomania, not their atheism or theism.

  • David McNerney

    How about he saw religion as a political threat?

    Given that religious groups organized against communism – simply because it was an ideology that promoted atheism – and that in later years, when the political threat subsided Stalin was very pro-religion, Stalin’s atheism seems to have very little to do with his actions.

  • LDavidH

    Never said I was unique – on the contrary, I would argue that those people in the boat would qualify as unique (unless there’s more I don’t know about the States than I realised).

    And yes, as long as atheists keep treating weird Christians as typical, we will keep pointing to Stalin and Kim Jong-Il and other well-known atheists as examples of extreme godlessness – although thankfully not typical (AFAIK, my mother has never murdered a single Christian and she has been an atheist all her life).

  • Truthmatters

    I’d like to get stoned with this guy. Not in a biblical sense.
    I’m sure it would be an interesting conversation!

  • islandbrewer

    Please don’t judge Christians as a whole based on a few extremists…

    What makes you so defensive as to think we’re painting all christians with this broad brush?

    We know fully well there are christians who tend towards rationalism when it comes to the real world, and also those who believe the end is nigh and give all their money to Harold Camping. No one here put all christians in the later group.

    You seem particularly eager to distance yourself from these (ironically very American*) America-hating christians.

    *It’s only in America are we able to generate people with overwhelming religious-driven vitriol towards America. And the Middle East, too, but that takes lots of bombing and drone strikes.

  • LDavidH

    “If someone decides to stone their son for disobedience, is that extremism?”
    Yes, since a) that was Israelite law, for a stone-age Israelite society; and b) it refers to continued rebellion in older sons (delinquent youth we would call them today).

    “If someone gave their family arsenic to demonstrate the outward sign of the holy spirit then that wouldn’t be extreme, no?”
    No, only extremely bizarre. There’s no biblical justification for that – only a promise that if somebody tries to poison us, we might escape unharmed.

    As for Abraham, it’s his faith we admire. He knew God had already promised him descendants through Isaac, so when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, he knew God must have an ace up his sleeve. And he was right – his faith was vindicated, which is the important part of the story.

  • Truthmatters

    How could they afford to get a new boat? If they aren’t working because they won’t pay taxes, how are they getting an income? How did they have credit to “borrow” $10,000 for their rescue? Why isn’t the government seizing the boat as an asset to pay off the loan? Is someone else funding them? So many questions.

  • islandbrewer

    *ahem* [solemn look]


    [/serious face]

  • Bitter Lizard

    The majority of Americans are religious, so we’re all very aware of what “typical” Christians are like.

    Defending theism by pointing out that there have been a few horrible non-theistic ideologies is exactly the same as defending Stalinism by pointing out all the bad non-Stalinist ideologies that have existed. Actually, there is one difference: non-Stalinists have committed a lot more atrocities than non-theists have. So either Stalinism is awesome, or anyone who makes this argument is a moron with nothing of value to contribute to society. Which do you think it is?

  • islandbrewer

    Obviously Caesar was an emperor. Taxes in America are legislated by a democratically elected body of representatives of the taxpayers and citizens.

    So it shouldn’t count.

  • koseighty

    Sadly, my guess is that crazy daddy has railed against the godless heathens from which they were running to the point this little girl is scared to death of her rescuers.

  • Bitter Lizard

    Don’t you know, any reference to Christians that don’t meet one particular Christian’s ideal for Representatives of Making Jesus Look Good counts as “painting them all with a broad brush”. Atheists are supposed to only cherry-pick the least unflattering parts of religion and effectively do their propaganda work for them.

  • rufus_t

    That seems an awful lot to me, bearing in mind a return trip for two from London to Niue a couple of years ago cost about £2,500?

  • LDavidH

    You’re right – maybe I’m too defensive… Sorry if I over-reacted! I’m pleased to hear that a nuanced discussion is still possible… although I would still say that “the real world” includes God! :-)

    And no, we don’t expect you to do our propaganda for us; just do your homework on what is normal Christian faith (and why is that you do seem to have so many aberrations in the States? No offence intended, I have many American friends…).

  • David McNerney

    “only a promise that if somebody tries to poison us, we might escape unharmed”

    Hang on a second there!

    You are interpreting the text to your own end – even though it is clearly out of context – which is exactly what the extremist does.

    Even if I let you away with that – the rest of Mark 16 says “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

    Are the, now numerous, examples of parents neglecting secular medical attention in favour of faith healing not extremist?

    And why do you not admire the faith of the Gastonguays? Will their faith not be vindicated when God safely guides then to Kiribati? Unless, of course, they all drown, in which case we can safely brand them as just another bunch of extremists – not like those other Christians.

  • GCT

    None of the Xians here are True Xians™ I suppose?

  • busterggi

    Seriously, these people named their daughter after a famous prostitute and traitor?

  • Kim Willette

    Because there are no airplanes in the Bible…but there is a boat ;)

  • busterggi

    In Arizona I expect they’re checking for ‘anchor babies’ full time.

  • GCT

    BTW, there’s no biblical justification for not paying income tax, and there is no biblical justification for wanting to apply OT laws to a secular, post-Jesus, non-Israelite society. Those who hold such views are extremists, because their version of Christianity is not recognised as valid by the vast majority of Christians.

    You’re making a no True Scotsman argument here.

  • LDavidH

    I think my understanding of Mark 16:18 is fairly standard, but I could be wrong. Maybe it’s just my faith that’s too weak…

    As for healings, I would love to see more people healed than we currently do – but that’s no reason to ignore medical science, and I feel sorry for those children whose parents think going to the doctor is lack of faith.

    And for admiring the faith of the Gastonguays – well, yes, if they had made it against all odds, maybe I would have. In the event, I agree with Terry Firma’s comment: “apparently, God didn’t demonstrate his disapproval clearly enough the first time” – I think he did, and they are just not getting it.

    Sorry I’m going to have to call it quits here, as I have to leave, but thanks for the discussion!

  • LDavidH

    No, I think you’ll find my position is the most common one among Christians, in the US and Europe alike.

    I’m sorry I have to leave now, so can’t continue debate. Maybe another time?

  • busterggi

    The ocean is a desert with its life underground and the perfect disguise above.

  • busterggi

    Say, why don’t you join them for this trip – you should get along marvelously.

  • kanehau

    It would be cheaper to fly to Hawaii and take the cruise ship.

  • busterggi

    That would be like the kettle calling Pol Pot…

  • Mommiest
  • Art_Vandelay

    Unfortunately, he’s already ineligible for a Darwin.

  • Truthmatters

    Ha. “magic his ass”.

  • Jamie Carter

    <<<<< is waiting for natural selection to take care of the issue.

  • GCT

    Until you can defend your position in a way that is unambiguous and compelling, it doesn’t really matter if other people agree with you or not. You’re still looking at another group of people who use the same holy book, the same verses, but come to different conclusions and claiming that they are wrong. It’s a position you can’t actually defend.

  • Darrell Ross

    What is wrong with taking an infant on the open seas? How is that automatic child endangerment? That’s absurd. Parents should not have to fear CPS because they want to travel with their infant.

    While they may be a bit crazy, I draw the line at sicking CPS on people for illegitimate reasons. I find that incredibly immoral.

  • The Other Weirdo

    So if he hates income tax so much, why did he avail himself and his family of taxation-based services such as being rescued? In the old day, when God commanded something that couldn’t be done, nobody whined about it, they just recorded that the enemy had iron chariots and then laid down and died on the battlefield.

  • phantomreader42

    They got the children lost at sea with insufficient provisons or safety gear. They endangered the kids’ lives. How is that an illegitimate reason for calling CPS?

  • Matt D

    Sorry, but you don’t get to define what is normal in the “Christian Faith”, the Bible is reponsible for that.

    If you aren’t treating your religion seriously by following ALL the commands of God, than how you are able to maintain your so called “faith” is clear.

  • allein

    Where did anyone say what these people did is typical? If it was it wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy.

  • Armanatar

    They know nothing about sailing. Taking anyone out to sea with them at the helm puts that person in danger, and the children can’t exactly opt out themselves.

  • bickle2

    Why don’t we make sure the children stay safe, by making sure that theyr’e taken away from them? These people are seriously mentally ill, and they’ve almost killed them once. The fact they’re trying again just further emonstrates their extreme ineptitude, and their general insanity means they are unfit parents

  • allein

    “might”? What kind of promise is that?

  • Jim

    That was my take on the look on her face. She looks absolutely terrified of the people around her.

  • Feminerd

    Last I checked, “I was just following orders” is not a valid defense, even if you had utter and complete faith everything would work out fine.

  • Sparky43PA

    If I believed, Christopher Cross would be the Anti-Christ.

  • 3lemenope

    Well, it’s not a valid defense for genocide. I imagine that the defense’s applicability might vary with the severity of the breach. After all, systems that rely on the integrity of a hierarchy, in order to function, have to have orders legitimately passed between agents be followed the vast majority of the time; surely that value has to be weighed against the severity of the breach that results from chasing that value over some other (like truth, justice, awesomeness, etc.).

  • allein

    At least not until Kiribati is under water…

  • Feminerd

    Sure. And whistle-blowers are another protected class- exposing wrongdoing by breaking laws against leaking or sharing corporate and government secrets is technically protected, because exposing the wrongdoing overrides the need for hierarchical integrity. Breaking the law/disobeying orders is clearly not always (or even usually) the right thing to do.

    LDavidH is justifying murder on the “I was just following orders” defense and faith that it’ll work out okay. That’s not a valid defense for a great many crimes other than genocide- murder and rape are among the things that cannot be justified by orders from above.

  • trj

    With the twist that in the Bible story everybody outside the boat drowned. In this recent story it was everybody on the boat who almost drowned.

  • KMR

    Hope their boat survives the trek then. It sounds like they’ll be needing it again before too long.
    I don’t like to call people stupid I really don’t….but Jesus….are they the product of inbreeding or something? Does that account for the sheer insanity of this whole thing?

  • Kim Willette

    LOL touche…

  • Darrell Ross

    They had no intention of getting lost at sea. They had no intention of taking so long to arrive at their destination.

    Based on your description, anyone who plans a trip but then doesn’t make it should lose their kids.

    Think about this. Yes, they are lunatic theists. But I feel like the call-the-CPS bandwagon here is thinking far too similarly to an angry anti-theist mob and not like empathetic humans.

    I recently drove to Canada with my wife and 2 month old son. We did not take any provisions as we planned our stops. But if my car had had a flat tire in the middle of Alberta, I would have been in a really bad position. Based on your description here, my actions would also qualify as child endangerment.

  • raerants

    If only YouTube allowed this.

  • Darrell Ross

    The articles state that they don’t know how to sail. If they knew “nothing” about sailing, then they likely would not have made it out of the harbor.

    After some searching, I was unable to find a picture of their boat. When reading the articles, one pictures a tiny vessel. Does anyone know what kind of vessel they had?

    They were likely too inexperienced to handle open water for long durations and may not have been experienced enough to handle squalls.

    They moved to San Diego in November 2012 and spent 5 months (Nov 2012 to Mar 2013) planning the voyage. (

    Though all US articles appear to imply they just wantonly hopped in the nearest boat they could find and set sail, the facts are that they planned it for a long time. They also lived on the boat for 5 months so it wasn’t a dingy at least.

  • phantomreader42

    There’s kind of a difference between driving on a road with other human beings and rest stops, and a long sea voyage to a destination you know little about with only the voices in your head to navigate. There’s a difference between a random accident and gross negligence. A flat tire is an accident, and one that can be recovered from by using a spare or waiting for another driver. If you deliberately drove off a cliff, or tried to ford the Mississsippi in a Pinto, then yes, I’d say you are too reckless and stupid to be trusted with the safety of children in the unlikely event you survived.
    Of course, I don’t expect you to recognize the difference here, as you seem to be deliberately misrepresenting people’s comments out of some bizarre belief that children should not be protected from their dangerously incompetent parents.

  • Darrell Ross

    I may be misreading this page, ( but it appears that they are exempt from needing a visa to travel to Kiribati.

    There is a wealth of information on sailing around Kiribati. Not too much to be found in 5-minute google searches on getting there from the US.

  • 3lemenope

    I agree it’s inapplicable for murder, too, except in wartime and under combat conditions. My thing is, there are classes of cases–rather large ones–where “I was just following orders” would be a perfectly legitimate defense, and I think we’ve become a tad overzealous in calling out the defense, rhetorically, as never legitimate.

  • Feminerd

    Fair. However, in this specific instance, it wasn’t legitimate. Abraham getting Isaac ready for sacrifice because he got orders from on high is a perfect example of how following orders can be illegitimate.

    You may be a tad overzealous about calling out how it’s often a legitimate defense when it’s being used in a context in which it’s not a legitimate defense!

  • Darrell Ross

    That’s my question. Kiribati has more than one airport and they wouldn’t have had to spend all that money on the boat.

    My guess is they intended to continue living in the boat. In a very undeveloped island, the accommodations of a sailboat can be better than land.

  • Darrell Ross

    Holy crap! Well then I can see why they might try to take a boat then. The news articles say they bought a used boat for $6500 and fixed it up. Plus they got to live in it.

  • Darrell Ross
  • gg

    Isn’t Kiribati one of the islands sinking under the sea due to climate change?

  • gg

    Even when neither parent knows how to sail?

  • HollowGolem

    …and they named the other one after a hafling thief from some of the old Forgotten Realms books.


  • HollowGolem

    Probably has to do with ease of immigration.

  • stanz2reason

    Didn’t say he was crazy, but I offer the following:

    Naive is thinking you can sail 3300 miles on the Pacific on a boat you just bought when you have little to no experience sailing

    Borderline crazy is thinking you can & should do so with your family.

    Crazy is actually doing it.

  • Paula M Smolik

    The look on that little child’s face!!!! Unfrickingbelievable.

  • Sven2547

    They were likely too inexperienced to handle open water for long durations and may not have been experienced enough to handle squalls.

    You do realize this supports the child-endangerment argument, right?

  • Paula M Smolik

    The sea isn’t rising. That’s a liberal lie. If you’re a Christian, God will build another ark for you if it does happen.

  • Paula M Smolik


  • Phantom

    No they are taking woman’s kid away because they are sick , poor, and live on disability in a tiny cramped, leaking travel trailer. And whom dares to discipline her child that has ODD. (look it up) and never got one penny of child support.

  • M.S.

    The real tragedy here is not his paranoia and probable serious mental illness, but the endangerment of those poor children. Sad.

  • Mark DeYoung

    It appears the Gastonguays were not going to Kiribati as tourists, but as immigrates. I doubt Kiribati has open immigration.

  • M.S.

    I know, that made me sad too. She is so scared. :-(

  • baal

    “These people are seriously mentally ill,”
    Maybe. it’s also possible they are acting rationally based on a completely bogus set of facts (descriptions of a false reality) fed to them by right wing media and various church leaders.

  • Nox

    No one plans to get lost at sea. They had a plan which could only result in them getting lost at sea. And they dragged two children along with them. And they are going to drag those two children off again on essentially the same plan.

    These kids are going to die because of their parents’ bad planning.

  • smrnda

    When you were driving your car, I’m assuming you had a license that demonstrated that you were able to drive a car properly. And on land, if your car breaks down, it doesn’t start sinking.

    These were people with little experience doing something incredibly dangerous for ridiculous reasons, taking along very young children. If they had been competent and experienced at travel by boat and navigation, that’s one thing, but this is about equal to someone without a license taking a kid out for a ride on a snowy day.

  • abb3w

    Yes, but the dollar has Washington’s picture on it, not Caesar’s.

    (Hey, waitaminute….)

  • LesterBallard

    The little girl looks fucking thrilled, doesn’t she?

  • C Peterson

    I’m pretty sure God makes you build your own ark. I wonder how much gopherwood there is on Kiribati…

  • Houndentenor

    Have they paid back the government for the cost or rescuing their asses and getting them back home? next time I think we should rescue the kids and leave the parents to their own devices. If they want to do stupid things, they are adults and are responsible for the very obvious and likely consequences. they hate the US government so much, why should they take its help?

  • Houndentenor

    Did you have a spare tire in your car? Did you have enough money and supplies for your trip? This family had no real abilities to complete the voyage they undertook and then had to be rescued. Yes, that is child endangerment and you know that it was. If they have learned their lesson I’d be willing to let it go, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If the adults want to risk their lives like that they are welcome to do so but they should leave the kids with responsible adults (grandparents, perhaps) while they do so.

  • allein


  • pl1224

    Given the fact that their nautical misfortune was caused by their own recklessness and stupidity, I hope these people have to pay every penny of the rescue costs.

  • pennyhammack


  • pl1224

    Your situation, as you describe it, was very different from the Gastonguays’. You and your wife both know how to drive a car and you both exercised a reasonable degree of foresight in planning your trip and providing for foreseeable eventualities. On the other hand, the Gastonguays’ had no knowledge of how to sail or navigate, they had no idea how long their trip might take, and obviously had no ability to foresee any problems which might arise en route. The ocean is utterly unforgiving and is the most inhospitable place on earth for the unprepared traveler.

    What the Gastonguays did was child endangerment of the most of the most flagrant sort. It’s all well and good to believe that the Lord will provide, but the Lord also helps those who helps themselves. The Gastonguays had a duty and an obligation as parents to know what they were doing before they took their children onto a pitifully small boat and set sail for the South Pacific. They failed miserably and put their children at dire and unnecessary risk. The fact that they weren’t swamped in a squall and that their boat stayed afloat long enough for them to be rescued is indeed a miracle. They are totally unfit to be parents.

  • Kurt J Strosahl

    A quick check shows that Kiribiati has something called an “airport”… I wonder if that could provide a means for them to get to there?

  • Rain

    Why not just take a plane or something. WTF.

  • busterggi

    That I could understand. I should change my real name to Mr. Smiley.

  • busterggi

    His plan was to set off and have Jesus sail his boat to its destination – that is outright delusional.

  • pagansister

    Can you say”totally stupid?” The kids have no choice, unfortunately—who would really care about the grown-ups? And just how is he getting another boat? Does he actually have a paying job or is he praying that his god will come forth with a boat etc? What a idiot!

  • Matt D

    Considering who her father is, I doubt that expression is new to her.

  • bzelbub

    And according to the Old Testament, we get to have all the wives we want too.

  • bzelbub

    All they were planning on the first time was a “three hour cruise” apparently they weren’t praying to g-d the Old Testament way. Maybe if they had sacrificed a lamb or a child, g-d would have helped them more.

  • Paula M Smolik

    god god See, he didn’t strike me dead for writing his whole name. Why are you on an atheist page? Maybe old habits die hard. It’s okay.

  • Jerry Aldini

    they should be forced to sail with atheists, homosexuals, and the remains of past abortions.

  • Thomas Kirk

    Taking your children out to sea is not inherently bad or abuse.

    Taking them out to sea when you have no business being at sea and already nearly killed your family once with your own stupidity and ineptitude at sea definitely DOES qualify as bad/abuse.

  • bzelbub

    Maybe a cartel delivering drugs to the US will pick them up the next time. And if the boat sinks well that will reduce the gene pool problems.

  • Crud O’Matic

    HOW THE HELL do these people STILL HAVE THEIR KIDS?!?!

    I’ve seen people lose their kids for spanking too hard, or not having a “certain amount” of food in the refrigerator, and even lose custody BECAUSE THAT PARENT DIDN’T BELIEVE IN GOD!

    These people embark on a sea voyage, with inadequate supplies, no contingency plan, AND ABSOLUTELY NO NAVIGATION EXPERIENCE… drift for 3 months with little food, did not ONCE use their radio to summon help, and even rejected being rescued BY THE BOAT THEY COLLIDED WITH… putting their children’s life in DANGER THE ENTIRE TIME…

    …and they get to keep their kids.


  • Crud O’Matic

    Wait… this guy is complaining about income tax…

    YET he had enough money for a nice quartered boat and months of supplies… and he’s going to do it again with a BIGGER BOAT and a YEAR’S WORTH OF SUPPLIES…


    Fucker, you are more well off than ANYONE I KNOW – and dare I say RICH – and you complain about the income tax?!

    Just another spoiled rich American – probably a libertarian to boot. People are struggling to keep their homes, are behind on taxes, homeless people abound, old ladies choosing between medicine & food (usually opting for cat food so they can afford their medicine), AND THIS SUMBITCH IS BUYING BOATS AND MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF RATIONS because he’s being taxed?

    How about you QUIT WASTING YOUR MONEY ON FOOLISH SHIT! Those taxes aren’t hurting you if you can afford all this.

    Please, don’t come back. If only other libertarian fundie Christians can take your example and shove off!

  • Crud O’Matic

    WHY would anyone want more than one wife?

  • stanz2reason

    It seems far more likely that an inexperienced sailor who took a boat out with the intent of sailing 3300 miles through the largest ocean in the world would get lost and find himself and his family in immediate mortal danger than someone driving thru even a fairly sparse area.

    Would you consider it child endangerment if he bought a plane, and being someone whose never flown before took his family on a flight over a distance as long as the continental US?

  • ShoeUnited

    Forget about getting religions to act humanely to people. Forget about getting rid of religion. Forget about even getting religion to get along with atheists.

    Every fucking week there’s another fucking theist invoking Stalin. My only dream now is to at least educate idiots about Stalin so they quit fucking invoking him like he’s some kind of “take that” magic spell against atheism. I have no love for Stalin. He was a scary mother fucker if you crossed him. But get your history straight. Because of Stalin, churches exploded in the USSR. Read this you troglodyte:
    The sixth sector of the OGPU, led by Yevgeny Tuchkov,
    began aggressively arresting and executing bishops, priests, and devout
    worshippers, such as Metropolitan Veniamin in Petrograd in 1922 for
    refusing to accede to the demand to hand in church valuables (including
    sacred relics). In the time between 1927 and 1940, the number of
    Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29,584 to less than
    500. [...] After Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support for the war effort. [...] Between 1945 and 1959 the official organization of the church was
    greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were
    occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches reached
    25,000. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become

  • Aesithiar Runekafi

    If only it were that easy to naturally expel the stupid from our country. Give them all boats!

  • Erp

    I can think of a few reasons why not a plane

    1. Kiribati would require that they have a return ticket (or at least a ticket off the islands or show they had sufficient funds to get such a ticket) before issuing a visitor’s permit (arriving by boat tends to be much more easy going). And since they intend to immigrate I suspect that Kiribati would require a much more formal procedure (show sufficient funds to pay their own way and probably invest in the islands or already have a necessary job in the islands or have valuable skills [e.g., a qualified doctor or nurse]) before letting them out of the airport.

    2. Perhaps they wanted to go to an island without an airport.

    3. They probably wanted to bring lots of supplies with them and air shipping is expensive.

    4. They planned to avoid customs and immigration. Possibly because they wanted to bring in illegal items (guns spring to mind) and/or because they were planning to be undocumented aliens. Kiribati requires boaters to check in first with customs and immigration accessible only on certain island before being free to cruise the rest of the islands

    I would still like to know what type of boat they had and with what equipment and exactly how much seamanship they had amongst the three adults. Plenty of people do sail to the various Pacific islands from California but only fools do so without a lot of sailing experience; had they done even one longish trip before such as down to the southern tip of Baja California and back? At least they seem to have waited until after the official cyclone season ended before setting sail.

  • Guest

    If they have enough money to buy another boat, why don’t they just fly!? Why has no one asked that?

  • Steve Miller

    You obviously know nothing of the Arizona CPS. They are understaffed and underfunded and lost many children because they can’t get to them all. Look it up.

  • Darrell Ross

    I’m not arguing in the all-or-nothing way that others appear to be.

    I am pointing out the anti-theist mob-mentality of the call-the-cps folks. People are jumping the gun over some terribad US reporting. There’s a UK article that provides far more information and an interview in Arizona where the father talks about finally calling off the trip because he was concerned about his children.

    CPS takes kids away for all kinds of absurd reasons. This is not even going into how messed up CPS is. They get far too many false positives for my taste. It’s too easy to get your neighbor into hot water by sicking CPS on them. Really cruel idea.

    I am not saying that they were not in a dangerous situation. But I think the body of comments here are mean. And not really open to discussion.

    Calling CPS crosses the line for me. I have a kid and I do my best to take care of him but I do make poor decisions from time to time. I hope my poor decisions are not witnessed by atheist hating Christians who think the state run foster system would be a better place for my kids.

  • Darrell Ross

    When was the first time he almost killed his family? I had thought this was his first time out. Or do you mean if he goes out a second time in the future? He plans to get a bigger boat and will likely learn from his previous mistakes.

    Perhaps he could hire a deckhand or a guide. It’s great when people are allowed to learn from mistakes.

  • Darrell Ross

    Where does it say that they do not know how to sail? Please show me? I cannot find any information relating to exactly what they do know about sailing.

    I did find that they had lived on the sailboat for 5 months prior to leaving. The scant quotes I can find show them to know more than I do about sailing – which isn’t saying much but they weren’t clueless like most US news sites imply.

  • Darrell Ross

    True. But they would be allowed to live in their boat as they had been for the past 5 months while they looked for a place to live.

    With Kiribati being 96% Christian, I find it likely the Gastonguays could have found a church willing to allow them to stay. This might even have been their line of thinking… lol.

  • onamission5

    While living on “juice, honey, and what fish they could catch,” for what sounds like a substantial portion of the time. Yeah, that is a good life for 3 year olds. Nope not really.

  • chicago dyke, TOWAN

    not if he kills them before they reproduce…

  • grindstone

    “Collision with a Canadian cargo ship”. Read it again: “Collision with a Canadian cargo ship”. I’m a boater, and I’m going to tell you these people have no business being on the water, and if their near disaster doesn’t constitute child endangerment then nothing does. “The deck started separating from the hull”. You realize that they were not paddling around in SF Bay, or taking their sunfish out on Lake Merryscott…..they tried to sail the Pacific. With no plan and no skills. I bet they DO believe in miracles after that rescue, because it’s true blue chance that these jokers are alive.

  • Timothy Fak

    Or book passage on another boat (you know one crewed by professionals who know what they’re doing…)?

  • jdm8

    That’s easy, because they don’t believe the sea levels are rising, that’s a figment of the “liburl media” and their “glowball warming” lies.

  • Without Malice

    Just how much danger are parents allowed to put their children in before the state steps in?

  • gg

    According to people coming upon them while they were out at sea, they were woefully unprepared for the trip, and were in serious trouble long before they admitted the trip was doomed.

  • James Smith

    Typical christian arrogance. “We are better than yu, so we should not pay taxes or have to do anything you godless heathens do.”

  • Jonas

    Remembar James you are a named from saint James. Turn and face the Lord! Be one with Him an you will sea. He Loves you and you must turn, turn and face him or forever in Hell? Burn forever? No James not burn forever. Turn face the Lord!! Read bible everyaday or Burn in Hell.

  • James Smith

    Most sane americans will see this as an attack on their basic human rights by the muslim left. We need to arm our most vulnerable civilians and yes, I mean children too, to allow them to protect themselves from the oncoming sharia law.

    When I was a chump at IBM, spending time sailing around the world and driving cars and winning motocross with Chuck Norris, I saw many muslims but they were not as fast as me. Don’t believe me? Go to Photobucket and search for slrman. Prove anything I have said is untrue or STFU turd for brains. KMA

  • James Smith

    I am much better than most atheists because I did martial arts with Chuck Norris. Don’t believe me? Go to Photobucket and search for slrman, prove anything I have said is untrue or stfu.

  • Jeremy Higgens

    No, he’s not. He might get a bigger boat, but he sure isn’t going to put a years worth of food for, what, five, six people, on a sailboat. The statement shows that he didn’t learn a damned thing from this episode. The level of stupidity is simply astounding. Not ignorance, because ignorance can be fixed. Stupidity, not so much.

    Forethought requires forward thinking. Clearly not this guys forte.