Knuckles white, I gripped the sides of our ski boat. The storm had hit with almost no warning and we were being tossed about like a cork, the wind and waves threatening to capsize us.
“We’ve got to get back to the dock,” Phil yelled over the gale. We’re veteran boaters. Not easily panicked. My husband and I were fighting for our lives.
From the middle of Kaw Lake, a massive body of water in northeast Oklahoma, I looked to where we had put in that morning, hoping to enjoy the day exploring the lake’s many coves. But, now, with the rain coming down in sheets, I couldn’t see a thing. No way my husband could either.
We inched blindly through the water for what seemed an eternity. Finally, I saw a bridge ahead. The dock was just past it. “The bridge!” I yelled. “We’re almost there!”
Phil eased the boat under the bridge, a momentary reprieve from the rain. “On top of everything, I think the steering cables have gone,” he said. “I can barely control the boat. There’s no way you’re going to be able to pilot it into the dock. Not in this wind.”
My chest tightened. That was our routine. My husband backed the truck and trailer down to the dock. Then I steered the boat onto the trailer, which would be submerged in the water. But if I couldn’t steer…
WHAP!!! A giant wave slapped against the boat, pushing us straight toward the rocks that lined the shore. “If we don’t get out of here the boat’s gonna be torn apart,” Phil shouted.