A few days before Valentine’s Day, Florida residents, Lenny Piciullo and Deborah Faust were sailing to the US Virgin Islands from West Palm Beach to get married and start their lives together, but Mother Nature unexpectedly intervened. Shortly after the start of their journey, what started out as the perfect sailing day quickly changed for the worst. Recognizing they were in imminent danger, the couple placed a distress call to BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association). Strong winds, waves, rain and lightning knocked out their navigation and with zero viability they were confronted with only a slim hope of survival. After two hours of this frightening sailing experience, the couple’s vessel came to a crashing halt near the safe harbor of Old Bahama Bay Resort in West End, Grand Bahama Island, and they swam to shore.
Having lost most of their worldly possessions, the dedicated and caring employees of the resort and the Grand Bahama Ministry of Tourism immediately extended wonderful Bahamian hospitality and jumped in to help make the couple’s dream of a wedding become a reality. The hotel staff, fellow vacationers and local community members became their extended family and assisted them with accommodations, clothing, transportation and meals. To top the gifts of love, the Ministry of Tourism provided the couple with a complimentary destination wedding near the location of the shipwreck.
The couple used string adorned with shells for wedding rings, Flowerama donated the flowers, and a local bridal shop, Fritz Bridal, provided their wedding attire. Pastor Leslie Woodside conducted a short ceremony and a local couple from West End stood up for the couple as best man and maid of honor. Old Bahama Bay provided an oceanfront suite for the couple to stay. The wedding took place at Old Bahama Bay on Friday, February 13th.
“The team at this resort (Old Bahama Bay) took care of us like we were family. We thank Jackie Carroll, Daisy and the rest of the team for their unconditional love and support,” Deborah Wells Piciullo.
The couple also expressed their gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism. With the help and support of the Bahamian community, and despite their heavy loss, this wedding became a reality.