Sunday, September 26, 2010

~ Misadventures in Water ~

A portent of things to come? Mathew and Andrew at the beach a few years ago!
Sept. 24, 2010
What a week for Mathew and Andrew this has been! A week ago today I was feeling like I hadn’t been to the beach to see “My Ocean” in a lifetime of forever and so I asked my ever patient husband to drop me off at the beach for a little while. He was happy to do so and Joanna and Andrew wanted to stay with me and so the three of us piled out of the van and made our way across the sand to a spot close to the water where I sat down and took out my camera as always.

Joanna and Andrew took off socks and shoes and headed to the surf. It was a beautiful day. Sun shining, cool wind blowing and small waves steadily rolling in. The kids played in the waves, kicking and running along the edges for almost an hour till all of a sudden an unexpected bigger wave rolled in fast and knocked Andrew right off his feet and flattened him! He came up soaked, drenched in icy cold ocean water! Spitting, sputtering and staggering toward me. I grabbed my phone and called my husband and told him, “Come get us, Andrew fell in, bring all dry clothes and a towel fast, he’s ok!” and was off the phone before he even got to me!

I had him take his shirt off and dry off best he could with his sweatshirt that had been laying there by me. (By now he was shivering, his teeth were chattering and his lips were turning blue and it had only been a couple of min.!) Then I wrapped him in my sweatshirt to help warm him a little and we walked as fast as we could up to the parking lot and sat on the concrete to soak as much warmth out of it as we could (Not much on a fall day in Alaska!) till James and Mathew got there a few min. later. Other than a touch of a head cold for about three days he seems to be ok!!!!!

Fast Forward to Last Night ~ Teen activity at the Youth Director’s Home…On a Lake… Mathew and another young man (who shall remain nameless), decided at 47degrees outside…to jump in said lake. Yes, he had taken clothes to swim in case they swam. He just didn’t change first! He dove in his normal clothes and finished the evening with shorts and a tee shirt outside! “But Mom, I had a sweatshirt…”

So today, he went for his Algebra class and then on to another lake with his teacher, his Aunt Deanna, cousins and some friends to cook hotdogs, canoe and have a few hours of fun… Around 7:30 or 8pm he comes home wet to his armpits, smiling, with a big story to tell.

I knew we had had a windy day and as the day went on the wind had gotten worse and in the evening was gusting pretty bad, but I also know in Alaska you can be in town and have a storm with wind and snow mixed with rain and power outages and be just a few miles away hiking on the other side of the mountain and it just be kind of a grey overcast day. This has happened to me hiking with the very same teacher that he was with… so I wasn’t worried.
The 4 Adventurers - Mathew, Jacob, Jesse and Hollie

Here’s Mathew’s version of the afternoon. They had had a good afternoon. Ate, gave canoe rides to the little ones for a while and then Mrs. Vicki and Aunt Deanna told the four teens they could row the two canoes to the middle of the lake to check out the tiny island for a little while before they had to leave.

They got there fine and had fun looking around and then saw and heard them waving from the shore to come back it was time to go. So they loaded up but the wind had picked up and the lake was very choppy and they couldn’t row back to the shore. (Now this is saying a lot because Mathew is no weakling, he’s well over six ft. tall and as his Dad puts it, “Strong as an Ox”). In fact the other canoe with his two cousins was blown around the little island and so he and his friend rowed after them to help since they weren’t making any headway anyway and were worried about them.

Once they were on the other side of the island he said it was a battle to keep from capsizing in the wind and rollers. The order of how and when they tried the different ways of making it are all mixed up in the excitement but I must confess everything I could think of in the calm of sitting at home they had tried there on the lake. They tied the canoes together, then they all got in one with the other tied behind, then they put the lightest and weakest in the small canoe behind for control and ballast and the other three rowed together. They couldn’t make any headway.

They were finally pushed to the opposite shore. There was no trail they could use to hike back around the lake. But one of the boys had a cell so they finally got a weak link to Mrs. Vicki and she told them to work their way around the shore line back to the dock, because they would never be able to fight the waves across the lake.

So they started trying to go around. The only problem was between the wind and the waves pushing them sideways they had all they could do to keep from tipping over and couldn’t make any headway that direction either. So Mathew decided since he was the tallest (Least likely to go under in a deep spot, I guess) he would pull the boats and the other three would keep them upright and from swerving around, so he jumped overboard and pulled the two canoes. I’m sorry but Alaskan lakes are cold!! Alaskan lakes the end of September in the middle of a wind storm…freezing!! I don’t think I could have done it!

But he said he would pull them along the edge about hip deep for a while and then the wind would let up for a few min. and he would jump back in and they would all row as fast as they could to get as far around the lake as they could till it started gusting again then he would jump back in and pull some more. And that is how they made it around the lake.

He got wet to his arm pits when the one time they tested the depth and it was a false read and he broke thru the soft mud and sank! But he said he still had hold of the boat so that kept him from going under! To him it was a grand adventure! He told me the best part was that he got to make Jesse (his cousin who is older than him) sing really loud the whole time! I said, You MADE him? How did you make him?” He laughed, “I told him, you either, sing or get in and help pull, so he sang!” and he just laughed and laughed!!

I was worried that he might be sick after two such wettings in a row, but he’s been fine today. His Grandma Arlene always did call him a “Water Baby” when he was little, she just didn’t know how right she was!

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