The Sarah Joe Boat Mystery

The Sarah Joe Boat Mystery

In this article we will be covering the Sarah Joe boat incident from the 11th of February, 1979, when five strong men went out on a fishing trip but never returned…

Well, one man actually reappeared a decade later on a remote atoll in the Pacific Ocean…

The Fishing Trip

On the 11th of February, 1979, a group of five men boarded a Boston Whaler named the Sarah Joe. Their journey began from the town of Hana on the Hawaiian island of Maui, it was lovely day and therefore perfect weather for sailing.

About two hours after they set out, the weather seemed to take a drastic change for the worse. Unfortunately they were all amateur sailors, so they hadn’t checked the weather forecast before heading out.

Gale force winds and torrential rain forced most of the boats in the area back into shore.

Before long relatives of the missing and locals began to search the beach lines to see if they could find the missing men or their boat.


The following day the coast guard got involved and sent out a a large flotilla of ships, boats, and aircraft – the search went on for five days.

Unfortunately the authorities had no real idea which direction the men had headed off in, and where they were heading to.

Family and friends of the missing men were not going to give up after a mere five days of searching, and they raised enough money for a search to proceed for a further three weeks.

Nothing was found.

The missing men were named Scott Moorman, 27, Benjamin Kalama, 38, Peter Hanchett, 31, Patrick Woessner, 26 and Ralph Malaiakini, 27.


Ten Years Later

On September 10, 1988, a biologist (John Naughton) who was actually part of the initial search for the Sarah Joe, stumbled upon an abandoned fibreglass boat on the coastline of Taongi atoll.

Only half of the registration on the boat survived, but it was enough to indicate that the boat had originally come from the Hawaiian Islands. Naughton had finally found the Sarah Joe.

The group of biologists decided to search the area and eventually came across a make-shift cross fashioned from driftwood which was sticking out of the top of a shallow grave. They could see a human mandible bone poking out of the grave.

Also, on top of the grave were blank pieces of paper that seemed to be stacked, with tinfoil in between each one.

Ten Years Later

Scott Moorman

The grave was eventually found to contain the remains of Scott Moorman, but no other remains were found in the area…but who actually buried Moorman?

Many conspiracy theorists now believe that the grave could have been part of a Oriental burial tradition – apparently Chinese traditionally include in a coffin the provision of small pieces of paper or paper money separated by gold or silver foil.

They believe that a Chinese vessel could have been fishing illegally, so they opted to bury the body they found themselves, so that they would not get in trouble by reporting it.

The Sarah Joe mystery endures.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here, please leave them in the comment section below.

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