A couple of weeks ago while my family was in Florida for a vacation we decided to rent a paddle board. This was our very first time to ever try this out, but…how hard could it really be?! On this day the water was calm, the beach was toasty, and the air was windy…very windy.
We seemed to have no issues at first. Lauren turned out to have superb balance skills and was out paddle boarding for quite some time! But, Lauren went out farther than planned, eventually making it in saying the comment, “I went out a little to far…”. Then I tried it. Keeping in mind these words, I stayed right in the swimming area, having no desire to face off against Mother Nature. My biggest incident was when I came back and had my mother hold the board for me while I attempted to stand. It would appear that all the balancing talent went to Lauren because I then fell off of the board. Dad later made the comment, “All of a sudden you just walked right off the back.” 🙂 My mother tried and succeeded in standing for a little while. My father went out and even saw some wildlife!
Then my sister went out again…
Immediately on her departure my mother and I could tell that Lauren was starting a journey that was not going to end well. It is not in the pictures but, my sister ended up about a mile out in the ocean. This was only a flimsy paddle board, a life jacket (Thank God!), and an amateur.
Lauren was out with the boats…actually, some boats were more shallow! Lauren did not turn around until she was out about a mile, but when she did she could not get in. Her paddling was only keeping her from going out further than she would have if she didn’t, because even with the paddling she was going out further. Mom, Dad, and I were out to where we couldn’t touch trying to call out to her and think of a way to save her. Later she told us she didn’t even see people on the shore.
Dad and I went back to our house ten blocks away and got the kayak down as fast as possible. The plan was for Dad to go out and bring Lauren back. By the time we got back to the beach and got Dad into the kayak I began to run as fast as I could to get back to my mom and sister. Eventually, between the heat, stress, and my poor strength, I began to just fast walk feeling that I was about to pass out. I kept thinking, “God, please just let her live. Please, please just let her live.” Then I heard the sirens and began sprinting because I just knew in my heart that those were for Lauren.
Turns out that while Dad and I were going to get the kayak, Lauren got off the board to try to swim back whilst still holding the board and paddle! Praise God that a lady on the beach saw my Mom and asked, “Do you need help?” This was when my mother called 911.
They were very fast in there response and assured us that they do these missions all the time. They said that even though the water is calm you also need to think of the wind. That day the wind was blowing out into the water. In fact, before we had even begun to swim we had seen 3 umbrellas be picked up and blown towards the water.
Lauren ended coming back on a fishermen’s boat completely safe. Lauren told my mom that night that she thought the fishermen were angels. 🙂
Mom, Dad, and I will always have this ingrained in our minds but I am so thankful for how it turned out. Our whole life could’ve changed that day, thank God it didn’t.