Our Family Ran Away To SeaBy Angela Metro
Published: June/July 2012
Cruising with children in an older boat may be a challenge, but it's well worth it.
Normally, I love storms, and this black squall was beautiful to watch. The magnificent clouds seemed to explode over Ft. Lauderdale with wind and rain as if Noah were below demanding another flood. Lady Enna was cruising smoothly along the coast from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale, with my husband Nick at the helm. The children and I took pictures of the distant weather. But our excitement turned to dread as the waters around us started chopping, the wind increased from 30 knots to 40, and that black squall came for us. We were still a few miles from our destination, and outrunning storms is only a fallacy.
Our stern could no longer hold its own. We began to fishtail in the four- and five-foot chop, as the boat tossed about like a bath toy. We all wore life jackets. Visibility was nil. Nick had his hands full just trying to keep us upright in this attack of rain, wind, and waves. I was responsible for the rest of the boat, and our terrified kids (then just 6 and 8). Honestly, I was scared, too, but had to keep a positive demeanor or the kids would've completely lost control, "It's OK kids, Daddy's got it under control."
Continuing north toward our destination was no longer an option. We turned 180 degrees and put our nose into the wind and waves. That turn was one of the worst experiences of my life. Nick called out, "Get ready," and the kids and I held on as he began the turn to port. More wind pushed against the 25 feet of cabin until I thought we were going over. From my seat, all I saw was water. That turn has haunted my dreams ever since. Once Nick got the bow into the wind, things seemed easier to handle, and we stayed that way for the duration of the storm. After it passed, we resumed our journey to Ft. Lauderdale. The entire squall had taken only about 30 minutes. It's amazing how quickly beauty can turn into terror.
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