Adventures of a Storm 13 Miles off Miami

Power of the Storm

When you go out with your family on a day for fun and for fishing in the ocean, then you never expect the worst to happen. It is about being ready to ride in a boat on the ocean. The boat we were in was a 14 foot speed boat that my father had put new fiberglass over a massive hole in the front left side of the boat. That made me always feel just a little insecure about the former hole. It makes you feel like a hole will spring up in the middle of the ocean. My father had no worry about it.

The experience of the sea, and looking into a crystal clear ocean about 100 feet below your boat,and knowing how small you are in comparison to the depths of the ocean. It was the wonderful feeling a little girl had of seeing it for the first time at sea. I am not talking about myself but my sister. She was only about four years old at the time. I think this was her first trip out in a boat on the ocean. I had been out many times before with friends and family, but this time was just a bit different. 

I could look down in the water and see fish so large that beneath the sea they look to be hundreds of pounds. You wonder will they bite my hook,and what would I do, if they did get on my line.  My family was actually anchored near the reef. We traveled toward a place off the reef near a signal tower floating in the ocean, and we could see 6 foot Barracuda laying like cord wood on the top of the ocean while awaiting their next morsel. Maybe they were spying us, and thinking about human food. At least I was not too happy about seeing them there. That day seemed a bit thrilling and yet somewhat fearful. Dad was known to catch them and fillet the Barracuda for steaks on the grill. Some would say they are poisonous, but to some fishermen that applied mostly to the smaller ones that ate more of the bad algae called the red tide. Never did we get sick from eating it, but it could also be because fishermen may have not properly stored the meat. They are huge and must be cut up and placed in a cooler. Often we had caught large Grouper, Barracuda, Mango Snapper and other fish.

I remember my dad saying that it was time to go back in, and his motor was not working properly. He went to the back end near the motor in the boat, and my sister and I were sitting in the middle of the boat. The motor was not wanting to crank right, and was flooding and making bad noises. Mother was asked to steer the boat with the wheel on the front end. Dad kept working on the motor. I felt like we were in trouble again. Little did I know at that moment how much trouble.

As dad was still working on the motor, a storm was brewing in the East and rapidly closing in on us. The rain start coming down, and the waves started to come over in the boat. I grabbed my sister and held on to her. She and I both were afraid of the storm. It would take 13 miles to get to shore and our motor was not working right. Mother of all things was trying to stir the boat on top of the reef. I could see the beautiful colors of hot pink and purple under the ocean and you could actually see the reef formations. I had always heard about boats being ripped apart by the reef, and I remember screaming out to her to stay off the reef, and a few times mother got misdirected and we came very close. Dad in the process of mother swinging the boat around to avoid the reef almost threw my dad off the back in of the boat.  I was not sure that the reef would rip our boat apart and drown us at sea, but what was not happening with the reef, then the waves were about to sink us.

Finally the boat motor started to work,and dad returned to the front of the boat to steer us back to the shore line. We were asked to dip out the water, when the waves came over the side of the boat. Despite all the water in the boat from the storm, and a motor that was acting up at the wrong time, then I can thank my blessings our family outing did not end up in disaster. I really do not think we caught any fish that day, but I was surely glad the Barracuda did not eat us either. It is one thing, when you see them on top, and it is a school of Barracuda, and another thing to realize that they can devour you in a storm or just jump in your boat and take off an arm or leg in a heart beat. I never wore flashy things in the ocean, because Barracuda are known to attack shiny things.

Florida had adventure, but there when you least expect it can be treacherous seas. I always had a respect for the sea, but there are many times that it could not have been merciful to me and my family. It is battling the elements and living to tell your story. These are the memories I have of growing up in the sunshine state.

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