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Willie T 12-03-2011 11:42 AM

Since we're all doing it....
 
Wrote this for another fourm I'm on.............

It’s 10:15 am on Friday the Thirteenth. The sky above me is an ominous swirl of angry grey, a heavy, miserable cloak of chill that should only settle over the lonely tombstones of an eerie London graveyard. All around me are towering walls of watery death illuminated for eternal moments by the glare of startling splashes of lightning flung to Earth from an enraged heaven.

Hurricane Charley is heralding its imminent arrival. The tiny kayak shutters and flexes beneath me like a frightened and hesitant creature trying to bolt toward a safe burrow. Any semblance of control that I struggle for through my frantic paddle strokes is laughingly eradicated by swirling, sucking waves. It is all I can manage to keep the bobbing craft upright, let alone hope to persuade it into a chosen direction. As if I had even the slightest idea what direction to choose.

Teetering for a moment upon a cresting twelve foot mountain of heaving froth I spot the faint blinking of the Egmont Light off to my right. Madly I slash at the water as the boat skids out of control down the face of the wave. Down into the surging trough I keep digging and struggling through the gurgling water toward the light. Up we go again. “Keep pawing! Stay upright! Find the light….” Like a man possessed, my eyes search, straining to see through spray and the mist. “Oh my god! It’s behind me now. No….. it’s to my left.” “Where is it?!?!”

My brief moment of visibility has vanished. Back down I slither and slide. My paddle slams into the vertical mass of unyielding water, ripping it away from my exhausted grip. Down into the endless ditch of black water…. Black Death. And now no way to control this careening pod. Oh, this is really Friday the Thirteenth!

Back out of the darkness I spew, jetted upward again. On top of yet another terrifying wave. Once more I see the light, but this time it seems even farther away. “I’m being pulled out to sea!” But how can that be? It’s supposed to be a slack tide at 10:00 this morning, and the hurricane should be causing the waves to push me ashore, not out into the Gulf…. “What’s wrong?”

Dragged along by an unrelenting force of surging might, all I can do is cling to my little haven of buoyancy. I can tell I’m rapidly moving still farther from the light. If only I had a light of my own, maybe someone might see me. But why would they be looking out here in the middle of a storm… no one even knows I’m here. No light , no flares, no radio… no hope.

The waves seem to be getting a little smaller. I think they’re stretching out some too. This is good. But wait… Oh no! Now they’re starting to break and tumble into the shallows to the West of Egmont. If I just had a paddle, maybe I could ride them out. Too late. I’m caught in another headlong rush of the stampeding cascade of churning water. It slams into me like a freight train, blasting the frail craft up, up and over. Before I can even think, I’m hurled out of the boat.

Franticly, I flail and kick, fighting my way out of this nightmare. Choking and gasping I reach the surface…. And the kayak is right there beside me. Thankfully, I reach for it. But my clawing fingers only succeed in shoving the slick plastic hull further from my reach. Again and again I struggle through the pounding waves to my little boat, only to have it sucked away from me. Once I caught one of the bungee cords, but I couldn’t hold on.

The kayak is gone now. I’m still being drawn out into the empty vastness of the Gulf, wave after wave. But at least the waves are smaller now. Maybe I can hold out till help comes. Help? Who’s going to come? They wouldn’t even know where to look. Oh God! Nobody even knows I’m out here.

Tired…so tired… If I just had something to cling to… this ceaseless treading water is exhausting me more than I want to think about. Why didn’t I wear the stupid PFD instead of stowing it in the hatch?

OK THE SCENE IS SET FOR THE FIRST SAFETY AND NAVIGATION DISCUSSION OF THE NEW KAYAK FORUM: Who can tell me what I did wrong this morning? (Other than being dumb enough to go out during hurricane warnings)

creeper 12-03-2011 02:15 PM

Ok , I've never kayaked and I'm not anywhere near the ocean, but the great lakes are pretty huge, so maybe they count. I'll have a guess

First, tell someone where you will be
Second, maybe not a good idea to go in a body of water that has a tide
Third, actually wear the lifejacket

Do I win?

AndyGump 12-03-2011 02:35 PM

Aren't you suppose to secure your body to the Kayak in some way so you are not thrown from it?

Also your script is too flowery,

Quote:

The tiny kayak shutters and flexes beneath me like a frightened and hesitant creature trying to bolt toward a safe burrow. Any semblance of control that I struggle for through my frantic paddle strokes is laughingly eradicated by swirling, sucking waves.
I just think it gets in the way of a good riveting story.

Andy.

Willie T 12-03-2011 02:55 PM

Everybody is right on so far.... even the part about the flowery prose. But I'm a sucker for Earl Hamner Jr. (Walton's mountain)

AndyGump 12-03-2011 03:10 PM

Should have stuck to kayaking in Tampa Bay.

That way you are unlikely to be pushed out to sea by heavy winds.

Andy.

Willie T 12-03-2011 03:18 PM

Right again. Most people miss the Tampa bay entrance wind direction during approaching hurricanes.

rossfingal 12-03-2011 04:54 PM

"Willie T"
What do you mean - "since were all doing it" ?!?
Doing what??!
Just throwing things out there for edification and "enjoyment" (Huh!?) -
mirth and merriment -
Participate and have some fun!!!! :)

rossfingal

chrisn 12-03-2011 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rossfingal (Post 785110)
"Willie T"
What do you mean - "since were all doing it" ?!?
Doing what??!
Just throwing things out there for edification and "enjoyment" (Huh!?) -
mirth and merriment -
Participate and have some fun!!!! :)

rossfingal

Some of us have to work for a living:jester:

Willie T 12-03-2011 07:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rossfingal (Post 785110)
"Willie T"
What do you mean - "since were all doing it" ?!?
Doing what??!
Just throwing things out there for edification and "enjoyment" (Huh!?) -
mirth and merriment -
Participate and have some fun!!!! :)

rossfingal

I did.

kwikfishron 12-03-2011 07:50 PM

So how about the rest of the story Willie???

My only question is, was it high slack or low slack at 10:00?

Willie T 12-03-2011 08:31 PM

Low...... That's why it would seem reasonable to expect both wind and tide to be in favor of keeping me inshore. (Our morning winds are usually Eastwardly... out of the West) But the counterclockwise rotation of the hurricane's winds as it crept up the coast from the South over-rode both those natural forces. We ended up with an exagerated and extended low tide continuing to go out.

Of course, when the hurricane started past us hours later, all that reversed and the bay filled rapidly to almost 1.5 times normal high tide level because the winds from the opposite direction were now pounding us.

kwikfishron 12-03-2011 08:47 PM

That’s scary stuff.

I too grew up playing in tide water and have experienced the water moving the “wrong direction” than I was expecting due to other conditions that I under estimated and have a story or two of my own.

But back to yours……….The Rescue.

creeper 12-04-2011 07:21 AM

I want to hear the rescue also and I like your flowery prose. However, your I's have all become we's. Sorry but I can't help pointing out the discrepancy. Or do you mean "pounding us" as in colllectively ?

Willie T 12-05-2011 08:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creeper (Post 785543)
I want to hear the rescue also and I like your flowery prose. However, your I's have all become we's. Sorry but I can't help pointing out the discrepancy. Or do you mean "pounding us" as in colllectively ?

Us and we, as the Tampa Bay Area.

Willie T 12-05-2011 08:44 PM

The rest of the story? The alarm went off and I woke up.

Literary license, don't ya know. Telling this as a good "Paddling Safety" story on the Kayak Forum came to me on the way to the office as the hurricane approached.


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