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Thursday, May 3, 2012

God looks out for fools, drunks and children ( part 2)

When I hear stories about " The Bermuda Triangle "    I just laugh.  I can't tell you how many  ship wrecks , plane wrecks , accidents  we saw , and there was nothing "Supernatural" about it.  

I have on occasion told this story but never from a position that I performed some sort of heroic act. Quite the contrary, I had negligently put 3 people in grave danger and now my younger brother had fallen overboard at night in the middle of a storm he was not wearing a life preserver                                                                                            “John fell overboard” screamed Mary, the urgency in her voice woke me from my state of shocked disbelief . I don’t remember being scared , I remember being focused and determined to turn the boat and find him. I gunned the out board motor to full power and the boat nearly foundered in the large swells as she made the 180 degree turn. Scanning the dark sea ahead a beam of light caught my eye, incredibly John had managed to hang on to our only  flashlight , the cheap K-mart beam was barley visible in the high seas 150 ft dead ahead. I steered strait for it and throttled down as the boat neared the location. I had a sort of tunnel vision not seeing , hearing or thinking  anything,  just  reacting .   Making my way to the bow I looked down to see John struggling in his heavy winter clothes to tread water , with one hand I reached down and pulled him aboard . I don’t know who was happier him or me, but he was now on board, but  not safe as our situation had not improved .                                                                                                                                  There was little time reflect on what had just happened with 8 hours till daylight and miles of open sea to navigate .                                                                                                                                                John striped off  the wet clothes and got in the bunk, he was very quiet, It did cross my mind that he might be in Shock, I also noticed for the first time we were taking on water !  We got back on  coarse and we seemed to make progress over the next couple hours, the weather was bad, I would compare it to  being a top a tall building  " don't look down", I focused on the compass heading and not the 12 ft seas or the rising water in the cabin,  now and then a large wave  would break over the deck, and the sea spray was a constant , we  were heading due East at 7 knots.   The first sign of hope was a red blinking light dead ahead , we determined it was likely a Radio tower on Bimini or a near by Island. A quick check of my watch revealed,  I could at least pray for day light as it was around 5am  I don’t ever remember wondering if we would make it, my focus was to just stay on coarse . The rough seas afforded no opportunity to make coffee so warm Old Milwaukee beer would have to do as I chain smoked Marlboro's .                                                  The good news was it was daybreak  and we could see lights and make out the shape of Land!!   The bad news was we had no idea where the safe harbor was on this land mass , 29 years later I can still picture the Island of North Bimini and the huge swells under the overcast grey sunrise.  An area ahead looked like it might possibly be the entrance to an inlet or harbor , but at around ½ mile off shore I could see white water,  waves breaking on a reef and no channel markers                                                               . It seemed a cruel irony that we could come all this way only to end up ship wrecked on a reef 100 yards form shore . We had no choice but to turn North and look for safe harbor,  as we reached  the North end we could see calm water and a beach, making the starboard  turn we were now committed , being that close to land I realized for the first time how fast the boat moved . It was at that time I also determined that we had sailed right onto a reef, the water so clear in was impossible to determine how much water was between us and the sharp coral , I held my breath and waited for the sound of the  boat crashing on the reef.... ( to be continued

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