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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Exhale (08/15/13)

TITLE: Lake Michigan Roars
By Pamela Reed
08/21/13


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It was a beautiful summer day in 1992 when we left the channel at Grand Haven, Michigan. The light breeze, the summer sun, and Lake Michigan were within our grasp. Our family vacation this year included my husband Wes, myself, our three children, and two of their friends on our 33í Chris Craft cabin cruiser.

Our cruiser slipped noiselessly through the waters of Lake Michigan as I donned a swimsuit and laid out on the front deck to achieve a tan. Wes was on the fly bridge directing the cruiser north so that we could discover each harbor on the northwest side of Michigan. The children were on the back deck, snacking on chips and pop and loudly telling their favorite stories. We would pull into a marina and walk the city to get a feel of the different communities. Manistee captured our hearts as it is a city of historic value. We gleefully went through the antique stores and businesses that were contained in century old buildings. At Frankfort, we played volleyball on the marina courts and trudged uphill to a theatre where we watched ďA League of their own.Ē It was a new movie and we enjoyed it.

Sadly, our week was now coming to a close and we needed to sail south and return home to begin a new work week on Monday. We enjoyed our sun and fun on the water and all seemed well when Wes glanced at his radar screen and the right half was jet black. Oh, no, we donít want any trouble with the electronics on the boat! He then glanced west and noticed it wasnít the radar equipment at all; it WAS jet black on the lake approximately four miles out. It was as if a black curtain had been hung from the heavens. We were in the sunshine, but knew what was coming. Between ports is not a great location during a storm. Throttling up, Wes brought the cruiser to its 32 knots per hour capability. We needed to get to Portage Point, but it was quite a distance.

The storm hit and the 18 foot waves brought our vessel out of the water. At the top of each wave, our rudder was totally useless. We had absolutely no control of the craft. Turning the steering wheel completely one way and then the other had no effect Ė the wheel turned, but the boat went exactly where the wave wished it to go. And then the lightning began. We sent the children to the cabin. The lightning grew stronger and closer and then it hit the rudder when we were at the top of a wave. The electricity followed the steering shaft and hit Wesí hands which were tightly on the steering wheel. He got shocked and his hands flew back off of the wheel. Oh, God, we are going down! We have no safe harbor, and we canít control the boat. I held my breath as Wes decided that it would be best to ditch the boat anywhere that he could. Letís get our family on land, and safe; but where? The storm was so fierce and it was dark. We couldnít even see the coast to choose a location. Panic was setting in when we received that ďpeace that passes understanding.Ē We instantly knew that we were not going down to the bottom of Lake Michigan. We would live to see tomorrow.

And that is when Wes noticed a string of smaller boats following us. He determined that they noticed that we had radar and thought that we had an advantage that would lead them out of the storm. But we were totally unaware of our location or what to do; and now other families were relying on us to help them.

Wes glanced at the radar for the umpteenth time since the storm began and then he saw it. There was a little tiny break in the land. We didnít know what it was, but believed that God showed us and so we went for it with our entourage following. We discovered a harbor that we didnít know existed. Arcadia had a very small marina, but had a slip for each one of us. I donít know what the word Arcadia means, but to us; it means ďGodís safe harborĒ where we were finally able to exhale and relax.


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This article has been read 126 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 08/22/13
WOW- AMEN! God is amazing, and when that peace encompassed your being, you just KNOW everything is going to be okay.

LOVED THIS. Thank you for sharing this.

God bless~
Brenda Rice 08/22/13
What an amazing adventure. I know that peace you spoke of and there is nothing like it.

He had others following the boat He was in charge of and so all were saved.

Well written. Thanks
Jan Ackerson 08/23/13
I live just a few minutes from Lake Michigan, so this entry really appealed to me. I think a lot of people don't realize how enormous our lake is, and how dangerous it can be! You captured that well.

Since it appears that you had a few words of your 750 to spare, I'd have like to see some more characterization of you and your family--perhaps some dialog portraying your panic and fear.

Really good story, a fine read.
Mike Newman 08/26/13
You did a great job of building toward your climax, it had me hooked.

Thanks for sharing this.
CD Swanson 08/29/13
Congrats! I knew this was a winner!

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/30/13
Congratulations for ranking 1st in your level and 14 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.)
Bea Edwards 09/02/13
Oh I know the fury of the Lake and the raw beauty of that coastline well. Great storytelling and congratulations on your level win!