|Michael and stepson Dillon
|Two windsurfing champs!
|Michael's father, Rod Femrite from Minnesota.
|Michael was an only child and his father was distraught.
|Rod and Susan, Michael's parents on the left.
|Sailboat trip to the reef to spread Michael's ashes and bones.
E-mail copy to the Belize Listserve with over 100 people following the events of Michael's tragic death.
Well I'm back at my computer on a Thursday night in
Miami. Rain and lightening. Hot! Muggy!
Many thanks to all who sent condolences for Michael Femrite.
It was a lovely Memorial service on the beach in front of the Wind Surf shop. Flutes playing Scottish dirges that brought
tears to the eyes of everyone. A crowd of extended family and friends about a hundred strong. After a number of people telling
their memories of Michael, the crowd adjourned to a variety of boats at the dock. Two huge
sailboats, a big chartered powerboat and several
smaller boats paraded out to the reef.
Anchored at the Point of Reef, or Siwash, more music was played and then Diane and the mother and father from
Minnesota, scattered Michael's ashes in the water amid
flower petals we were casting over the side. Music
played, a lot of crying went on. Flowers and wreaths
of flowers were tossed. Followed by a sailing parade
the mile length down the reef to the Caye Caulker
Channel and then back to the Caye.
An open pavilion was held at the Auxillou Trust property which has numerous rental condos for the four Auxillou sisters.
A big tent had been set up. Food started at noon and continued after the boat parade and scattering of the ashes. Wine, food
and beer flowed!
Certainly I believe his Mom and Dad got closure for their only child!
Michael was irreplaceable in my grandsons hearts and
needs, as they grow up, he was a wonderful role model.
Diane's ex-husband ( Marlon Kuylen ) was there and did a lot of the organizing and heavy work in the first couple
of days while everybody family wise was in some sort
of shock and daze. People came from all over, from
Miami, from Minnesota, from Orange Walk, Ladyville,
Dangriga, Hillview, etc.
The freak accident itself was probably a first?
Human error basically! Michael taught kite board
surfing among other things. You put his name in 'Google'
and you will come up with three of his websites. He
spent hours riding the winds and waves. He was
performing a maneuver he had done hundreds of times.
Basically he rode a wind FRONT of a long line squall.
A half mile out in front of the squall he had
tempestuous strong winds which he loved. He had just
bought a brand new larger wind kite costing several
thousands of dollars and it was strong enough to give
him some wild rides. In this case the line squall
coming in from the sea had strong winds in front of it
and Michael rode it in, either on his bare feet, or on
his belly, the mile from the reef. In shallow water
he was standing in front of his surf shack, struggling
to bring the kite down in the strong wind. His back
was to the sea and he never noticed the line squall
approaching. June rainy month line squalls start off
light as they approach, get stronger as they close and
as they pass overhead you will get hit with a
downdraft pouring out of the top of alto-cumulus cloud
passing overhead. The down draft is usually hurricane
force for 3 to 4 minutes, as it hits the sea and
spreads out. Then lighter winds followed by sheets of
rain to dissipate in ten minutes to dead calm.
Michael was struggling with the kite and had ignored
several suggestions by people to release the kite. He
probably thought he had done it before and could do it
again and it cost a lot of money that huge new kite,
to go scooting off into the powerlines and trees and
houses of the island. Anyway, what he didn't see and
what he didn't know was that he only had about 3 or 4
minutes to get the kite under control, or ditch it.
As his back was to the steadily approaching line
squall. The downdraft hit and the kite filled and
catapulted him to his death against his flagpole and
the 4 inch wood post of his verandah. He died
instantly and probably had less than 4 seconds to
realize his mistake?
There but for the GRACE of the Almighty go I, many
of us fellow adventurers thought. When you think back
to your close calls and mistakes you survived through
Diane was alone on the island. Wendy was on the
mainland, her sister Tina was up country with her
mother and there was nobody to help her, but the
police who came for the body. Knowing how much Diane
and Michael lived for each other, those first 30 hours
were horrific for Diane.
Silvia and I got word at midnight in Miami and were out of the house by taxi for the airport by 7:30 a.m. and in Belize
by noon. Tina and her mother arrived just a half hour before us at Wendy's apartment in Belize City and within a few hours,
Michael's father and mother arrived the same day. Friends started to help and over the next few
days, order started to come in. Then the Memorial
Service on Sunday and boat parade for the Viking
Funeral by the reef. Diane is now absorbed in all the
legal paper work ramifications. She has three young
sons she has to look after, so time for crying isn't
really there yet.
Thankyou again for your sympathy and condolences!
Ray Auxillou And Silvia and Diane and all the extended
|Heading out to reef on sailboat under power.
|Spreading ashes and flowers trip to reef. David, Chantel- first cousin, Diane's sister Sharon.
|Marlise and Blayd, first cousins.
|Marlise is my granddaughter from Sharon and Blayd is youngest son of my daughter Wendy.
|Sharon, the older sister of Diane, came from Miami
|Sharon serving the hungry crowd of about a 100 people.
|Granddaughter Giselle, Wendy's eldest daughter.
|Verandha of Auxillou Beach Suites.