Lost at sea with little hope
It was a Wednesday afternoon with nothing going on. I get a phone call with desperation on the other end, it was my kid brother. “Hey, what are you doing? The jet ski is not working, it won’t turn on.” With nothing better going on, I decided to investigate and get out of the house. I arrive at the end of Jungle Hut Road with a purple sky behind me. As I am walking South down the beach I see Jake and our friend Justin. At this point Jake runs up and tells me that the jet ski will not start, Justin then tells me that he must go now or his parents will be upset with him. Justin gets on his jet ski and rides off and Jake and I start working on our jet ski. After about an hour we narrowed it down to be an electrical problem. I dry off the main panel and it started right up. We both jump up and down in excitement for as we have just solved the problem to get the jet ski back to the dock in time before the sunset. That was only the first small problem of much more to come.
Our goal was to drive the jet ski about 9 miles North in about 30 minutes before the sun was completely gone. This was a very reasonable request, but we had to act quick. The tide was turning and it was almost all the way low. We push the jet ski in the water, I hop on and Jake starts to push it past the rocks that are now displayed from the tied change. Bam, crash, bang, not only is the jet ski getting a rough ride through the rocks, Jake is right behind it getting the same treatment if not worse. We make it past the rocks, Jake hops up behind me covered in blood. His legs look like the rocks tried to make him his bitch, but he wasn’t having that. We shouted again in yet another minor defeat.
We are going great, we have a quarter tank of gas and cursing with the throttle at about 70%. We figured we would travel about 20 feet from shore, “Just in case”. What a great idea that was, we made it about 4 and a half miles when out of nowhere the engine dies. We kind of laugh at the situation, as if we both knew this was going to happen and boy did it happen. The jet ski died in the middle of a feeding frenzy and we see three sharks at first glance. All of this is happening all so fast. We have two options at this point. First, either Jake or I jump in to swim to shore with the jet ski on a rope and possibly be dinner or we try to get the engine to start again. I tried to talk Jake into swimming into shore, but he had this lame excuse that he was still bleeding from the rocks. I was not about to swim 20 feet to shore with a minimum of three sharks while dragging a broken jet ski with my kid brother chumming trail running off the back. The only realistic option was to get that jet ski working again. So we start yet another investigation with both head down we start with that same electrical panel hoping that it just got wet again. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but our light was gone with the sunset and it appeared that we were caught in a riptide.
With no light, a dead jet ski, a bleeding boy, and a half-mile away from shore we decided to call for help. We took out our cell phones, mine was dead and Jake’s phone had one bar left. I called the police I said “My name is Kennedy and I am with my kid brother stuck in the ocean on a dead jet ski about a half mile from shore. We are right in front of Surf Club Condos. I think we are caught in a riptide. Please send h….”. Jake’s phone dies, I guess we are lucky that we were able to pass on the important details.
Hours went by, I entertained Jake by pointing out constellation in the sky. Our hope was high and our body temperatures were doping. Jake stop bleeding by this time, now he moved on to shivering. I gave him my life vest in hope that is would have added protection from the wind. Out of nowhere, we heard a helicopter and then we had a huge, hot and bright light shining down on us. “We are saved”, we both screamed at each other. We waved at it as if it has yet to find us, it was practically on top of us. We waited for a rope or a basket to drop down so we could go home safely. As soon as it came it left, it just left us. Once again we were all alone now about 3 miles from shore. Crack! The jet ski was just hit hard by something, I mean hit really hard. I grabbed the mini fire hydrant with my left hand and the jet ski with my right getting ready to take on whatever was in the water. Crack, it hit us again, this time almost throwing us both of. We see a huge fin in the moonlight. We both hold on to the jet ski and looked at each other as if it will be the last time. The shark never came back or it just waited for us to fall off.
It was getting later in the night or should I say earlier in the morning. We noticed that we were still drifting out, but now we were drifting south. The still bright six-story condo now looked about two inches. We heard a slight buzz every few seconds, it was a rescue boat going between the wave. The helicopter came back to find us, except that it lost us. It was looking for us where we would have been if we did not get caught in the cross current. I am blowing our safety whistle until I am blue in my face as if the helicopter could hear us. The helicopter might not have heard us, but the rescue boat did. We saw a light scanning the horizon, we decided every time that the light passed us we would whistle. Either that was their plan or they caught on. The boat now had us narrow down, the helicopter decided to follow their light they found us again. This time, they came with a megaphone “We are with the sheriff’s department, there is a rescue boat on its way to bring you in.” About time, but we already knew that. What seemed like an hour, the rescue team was within shouting distance. They came along the side of us with this little inflatable raft. We both laughed at each other, we thought to ourself “This is all they could send for us?”.
They tie the jet ski up to the boat and we headed into shore. It took about an hour to final touch land again. It was one of the best days in my life. We then were drilled about how “We should not ride jet skis at night” and “How much this cost the city”. We tried to explain everything, but they didn’t care. Neither did we, we were just happy that we had sand between our toes once again. That night there was one helicopter, three different fire stations, and two sheriff’s offices all looking for us. We made the paper the next day and now have a great story for the rest of our lives.