We all unloaded our own gear and there was a lot of it. Each of us had rented surfboards, scuba gear, and a few had jet skis. All of us were looking forward to a couple of weeks of nothing but fun and sun. We never thought this tropical paradise would soon turn into one of the worst disaster areas in history.
After eating dinner we all decided to rest up for the next day’s activities. It had turned cloudy and spitting some rain, but we were not deterred. We were all tired of our regular daily routines in the city. Joe and his brother were the practical members of the group and suggested we listen to the weather report before leaving our cottage. The rest of us gave them a hard time and piled into the SUV for the trip to the beach that had the biggest waves. We did bring lifejackets, we weren’t stupid!
The morning was great fun and even though the surf was higher than we had experienced, we all enjoyed the waves. After lunch back at the cottage, Joe warned us about a storm coming. Being the young fools we were, thinking we were invincible, we ignored Joe, calling him the doomsayer.
Darkening clouds, even increasing winds and tides, we felt so enthusiastic about being free from our daily routines, we just went back out on the water. The storm threatened, but we prevailed. It was only after Mike was dragged under and taking a little too long to resurface that we started paying attention to our surroundings. It does sound stupid now that I’m here, safe, and telling you the story, but at the time, I wasn’t really frightened.
Mike was exhausted and we all decided to return to the cottage for dinner. Joe seemed glued to his computer while the rest of us went about vacationing. Beer, steaks on the BBQ, and lots of laughter didn’t remove Joe’s worried persona.
The next morning Joe woke us up early, warning us to pack up in a hurry, we were leaving. After staggering out of bed with hangovers, Joe pulled out his computer to let us see what was happening. We were there to relax, forget the outside world, not one of us wanted to check our phones, and no one but Joe brought a laptop. We were not going to convince him to stay, and after seeing that a hurricane was about to visit, we decided Joe was right.
We packed up the vehicles and joined the natives in a long line of traffic heading off the island. Our vehicles were packed and heavy, but the swirling winds still swerved us to and fro on the highway. It was slow and scary, but we made it. At the airport it was a nightmare. All of our rentals made the check-in much longer than usual. The hoard of panicked people leaving the island was growing weary of being in line. A few small skirmishes broke out, but didn’t involve us.
As I write this, I am relieved to say we made it out of the hurricane path in time to come home to our safe, boring lives. We all have more respect for Joe.