Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bear Lake

Last weekend I went with a bunch of friends to Bear Lake. We had so much fun staying in the USU cabin, playing games, eating tons of food, watching the stars, sitting around the bonfire, and just laughing. There was a big group, about 20 people there, with Jeff and Dennis's boats.

Monday morning we headed out onto the lake, and although it was cold (56 degrees in the water, 59 in the air) we had tons of fun. I braved the first ski run of the morning and it was great. About 10 the sun came out and we were loving it.

Around noon we set out for one last run before heading home. That's when trouble hit. I have never seen a storm come up so fast, and I've never seen waves that big anywhere but the ocean. 5 of us were in Dennis' boat, and it was the first time he had taken it out. By the time we reached the beach the waves were about 3 feet high and were coming over the bow of the boat. Jeff and Scott headed to the marina in Jeff's boat about 5 minutes before we did, and in that 5 minutes the waves about doubled in size and we knew we couldn't make it in Dennis' boat. We tied the boat to a little dock at Sweetwater where they rent their boats, and as the waves came into the bow I bailed water as fast as I could. I would literally just get it emptied when another wave would fill it. Scott was bringing the trailer to this side of the lake, so I was hoping to keep the water out until he got there.

Dennis had gone up to talk to the guys at Sweetwater, but they wouldn't help us because of liability issues. It was such a frustrating feeling. The waves were getting bigger and bigger, and they were watching the boat fill with water, unable to help. I was soaking wet and freezing cold, but its amazing what adrenaline will do to you and I honestly didn't even notice it. Craig was trying to hold the boat from being smashed against the docks, and as I was bailing he suddenly yelled "T! Watch out!" I stood up in time for a wave about 8 feet high to wash over me, slamming me into the windshield, and filling the entire bow. And with that, the front half of the boat went under.

I've never been so scared. I looked at Craig and said "What do we do?" We had been trying to keep it off the beach since its a V-drive and it will ruin the prop, but at that point Craig said untie it--let it wash up on the shore. Have you ever tried to untie a boat that is being pulled away from where it is tied? The ropes were taut, so we couldn't untie them. I tried to get it out from where I was, in the half sunk boat, but the handle of the ski rope (which we had used to tie it) was too big to fit through the railings. Craig finally managed to get it untied from the dock, and we started to rotate it around. We got it turned 90 degrees, so it was parallel with the beach, when another huge wave pushed it up on the sand. This whole time I've been standing in 4 feet of water in the bow of a sinking boat.

At that point there was nothing to do but start grabbing everything and get it onto the shore. There were 4 of us there, and I just started handing out life jackets, ropes, skis, phones, cameras, everything. By the time we were done I realized I was soaking wet in just my swimsuit and cover-up, my shoes were washed out to sea (yes, sea), and I was covered in sand. I started shaking and didn't stop for about 3 hours. What a fiasco.

Everyone was safe. Jeff and Scott made it to the marina in his boat, although he said it was scary. We were so blessed to be at the beach when the storm got so big instead of the middle of the lake. Dennis reacted so great--I expected him to be mad, upset, frustrated...I definitely would have been (lets me honest, I was and it wasn't my boat!). But he just kept saying "Everyone is safe. That's what matters." We left the boat there on the beach overnight, and Dennis went up yesterday and with the help of 4 great friends, they scooped out the water, sand, and junk and got it up on the trailer and home. Definitely an experience I could have lived without but won't be forgetting any time soon.


Chelsea said...

Man, first of all, it sounds like it was freezing. Maybe you should have waited a couple months until it warms up a bit? And I am so glad you are safe even through the crazy storm and sinking boat. Sorry for D's boat!

Billy Reano said...

Holy cow, that's nuts. Glad that everyone was okay. Sheesh!

Megan said...

Holy scary! I would have been pissed if that were my boat too. Way to be an example. Geesh! I am glad you survived - your sea comment made me laugh. You are hilarious!

M and M said...

WOW! T - that is crazy! I am so sorry you had to go through that, but I am glad you are safe. Something you definitely will remember...

Dimond Blogger said...

That is a crazy story and I am glad that you are all okay. I have been on Bear Lake when a storm comes and it gets scary fast. Nothing that bad has ever happened though. I hope everything else is going well!