Several years ago, my wife and I were invited by some friends of ours to spend an afternoon on the Lake in their Cabin Cruiser. It didn’t take us long to say “yes.” After all, what could be more relaxing than a lazy day boating, fishing, and swimming?
It took my wife and I about an hour to drive to the lake, a large lake in the North Georgia Area. The afternoon was beautiful. The sun was shining. The wind was slightly blowing. It couldn’t have been a prettier day. We had the opportunity to cruise the lake and park the boat in a large, private cove. I can remember jumping in the water and swimming in the beautiful water until I was so tired, I had to climb back on the boat. After we took time to eat a relaxing lunch on the boat and were bored of this particular spot, we took off for another part of the lake, cruising at top speed with the wind blowing in our hair. Not a worry in the world.
Seemingly within minutes, we noticed the water getting choppier and the sky getting cloudier. We didn’t think much about it; after all, summer rain showers come and go all the time. Besides, we were having too much fun. Of course, by then we were no where near the nearest shore and were somewhere in the middle of this gigantic body of water. The winds got stronger. The waves got higher and rougher.
At first, I wasn’t too scared. It reminded me somewhat of the boat on the old TV Show, Gilligan’s Island. We were tossing around some, but nothing too drastic. Our friend, who was driving the boat, decided that we had better play it safe and head for shore just in case the pending storm worsened. That turned out to be the wisest decision of the day.
As we started heading back, we noticed Park Rangers cruising around and warning people to get to shore as quickly as possible. We noticed another Ranger that was helping some stranded passengers on another boat. The wind blew increasingly stronger to the point it was actually stinging our faces. We had to push the boat to its limits to get to shore, but our faces paid a painful price in the process.
The boat dipped, and tossed, and dipped, and tossed. I really thought that we were going to need rescuing ourselves. The bow dipped and water rushed across the deck. Not enough to cause any damage, but for a land-lover like me, it was more water than I wanted to see.
After seemingly an eternity we made it to the nearest shore. Not a shore with a dock mind you, but a shore nonetheless. We anchored the boat in shallow water and jumped in the waist deep water to walk to shore. We held on to a rope from the boat so the boat wouldn’t drift off in the lake since we weren’t confident the anchor would hold.
Suddenly, without any warning, a tree from the nearby shore snapped from the wind and crashed in the water near us. I don’t know why I didn’t have a heart attack, but I probably should have. As if being on the Lake in the middle of a storm wasn’t scary enough, now we were almost crushed by a fallen tree as we tried to get to safety.
Somehow, by the Grace of God, we made it to shore and found a small Campground Restroom where we took shelter and rode out the storm. There’s nothing like being in a restroom shelter in the middle of what seemed like a hurricane to humble you and make you feel really thankful for your many blessings.