Uncle and nephew return to Coast after Caribbean nautical venture

In October 2021, Paul Tuennerman and his nephew Paolo Sunyak left Pass Christian Harbor with charts plotted to the Caribbean for the trip of a lifetime.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:33 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A Pass Christian man and his nephew are back home after going on a life-changing adventure at sea.

It was the trip of a lifetime.

“Five month, four thousand mile journey,” said Paul Tuennerman. “I’m the least likely sailor out there. It’s called the Bad Captian for a reason.”

In October 2021, they left Pass Christian Harbor with charts plotted to the Caribbean.

“It’s a childhood dream of mine. I’ve always said I want to sail a boat down to the Caribbean and back,” Tuennerman said.

There was just one problem; he’s not exactly a seasoned sailor.

His nephew Paolo Sunyak wasn’t much help.

“He didn’t know how to sail. He didn’t know how to do anything,” Tuennerman said.

“I was gonna say, let alone sailing, even just boats in general,” Sunyak said.

“Navigating, charting,” Tuennerman said.

That didn’t stop the recent college graduate and his Navy veteran uncle from setting sail.

“Yeah, so we went here, Panama City, Key West, Marathon. Left Marathon, went into Gulf Stream up the east coast of Florida, up to the Bohemian banks, into the Atlantic, then boom,” Tuennerman said.

Through all those miles, the uncle and nephew forged a strong relationship.

“I can confidently say that I’ll never have a bond with someone that we have, ever again, with anybody. It’s just something so different that we went through,” Sunyak said.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing. A nasty storm at sea had the Coast Guard radioing the crew, asking if they needed emergency helicopter rescue.

It was fight or flight, and despite the very real possibility of death, the two did not give up.

“There are those people that have formed bonds on the battlefield, and then there are those who have formed bonds in a gale in the North Atlantic. When in all reality, we’re two idiots on a boat. Someone had enough money to buy it and neither of us should have been out there,” Tuennerman said.

“I took a once in a lifetime opportunity and it has certainly paid off and will continue to for the rest of my life,” Sunyak said.

For Tuennerman, having this opportunity is what it’s all about.

“If we all just go out and give one person a unique opportunity, imagine how different the world would be,”

As for what’s next for the crew of the Bad Captian, they’re not sure.

Tuennerman said he’s keeping the sailboat, and when the time comes, his nephew will inherit the vessel.

You can see more of their adventure HERE.

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