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~~~The following is very presumptive. Its not meant to be an accurate narrative. It is certainly not meant to cause harm or pain. Hopefully it will just be taken as a piece of fiction based on a true story, taken from someone else's perspective. Someone whose perspective it is admittedly not my right to take or assume. If this is found to be objectionable in any way, please delete it.~~~

...Ah, this coffee is perfect, tastes like mud, but I'm enjoying it immensly. It's lifting the brain fog of this early morning, like the sun burning up the mist on the bay the other day. I remember how much I love the back bays, warm green marshes, speckled with white egrets hunting their prey. So tranquil. Soothing.

A little satisfaction in a papercup, warming my hands. My hands are cold, cold from the ice, the bait, the chum. I double checked it all. All is stored well, ...the gaffs, tackle, rods, ropes. We are packed up and ready to roll. Dad double checked the boat too. The twin Yamaha 150's are purring, trim, bilge, lights, all working perfect. PFD's accessable, two survival suits, flares, back-up radio, all good to go. No EPIRB, but we aren't going out THAT far, and we'll have plenty of company, over 250 boats. (...still its just another little detail on my mind).

The coffee is starting to cool, but its still helping soothe that little knot in my stomach. I got the butterflies I guess. A lot going through my mind - all our minds. Dad checked the radio for the latest forcast. Not good - 5 to 7's, strong east wind, small craft advisory still up. I wonder if it will be postponed? Nah, we've fished that before.

My cup is empty, where is a garbage can? This small distraction is a welcome break for my racing mind. (gear, weather, competition, sharking, rough seas, Dramamine?, more coffee?, gear, enough chum?, cover of Noreaster?, money, should we?, rigs, balloons, shouldn't we? ). I stroll over to the tent, to the garbage can, toss the paper cup. My ears pick up more news. More data to evaluate. The weather boat says 5 foot swells. Cool. Thats a bit of a relief.

Dad, Rob, Pete and myself regroup. We talk about the situation. "OK, guys, the tourney's a GO." "Hang on, what about the forcast?" They say 5 foot swells right now" "Yeah, five foot swells, we can do that. If it gets bad, we'll just come in. Beats sitting at the dock." "Yeah, especially with all the bait and chum and ice!" "Hey don't forget the 200lb Mako last week! I feel lucky!" "Yo, it was 192lb!" "Yeah, yeah, alright." Dad chimed in, "Ok, lets go for it, BUT... If its gets too big, we are turning around - thats MY decision." "Ok, sounds good to us".

We all feel it. The adrenaline. The testosterone. The excitement. We are going out to sea for the big one. We will fish with the best of them. One good shark. A big carrot at the end of the stick. Yes! I feel GREAT! I, WE, feel so ALIVE! I love this!

I take a piss in a stinking port-a-potty. We head for the boat. We shove off and leave land. Its blowing a little, not bad. The egrets are having breakfast. Nice. I'm in an alerted state of relaxation. We break the inlet - rough, not too bad - and head out to the deep blue sea. The deep blue sea, where our fate awaits us. A 384lbs Mako, TWICE the size of Rob and Pete's is our expected fate. We're all confident, laughing and joking, and they can't stop talking about their "cover shot" Mako. Dad does his best Quint imitation, "You call that a shark? The Taxidermy man gonna have a heart attack when he sees what I brough'em!" I pipe in, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!" Good times!

The land starts to fade into the horizon, dropping off our world. The wind as picked up a lot. The waves too. They are definetely increasing. Eleni is handling well, no problems. We are all in a heightened sense of awareness; our perception becoming more acute. Relaxation is gone. Our minds are on big fish, ...and an uncomfortable day. We are in good company; many boats are visable heading for their own jackpots.

We slog out another five our so miles. Crap, the water is getting big out here. Steep too. Too much whitewater. The boat is still handling well. Dad suddenly slows her down. "That's it guys, we're going back." We all stare at the water. God, that changed fast! None of us object. Our bodies are now on full alert. We head in.

A mile or so towards land, its getting scary. The waves are too **** steep. The next few minutes seem like a split second, and an eternity all in one. Dad had already told us to get the PDF's and survival suits out and accessable. Same with the flares. He was on the radio mike about to ask for a radio check.

One bad wave. One steep, tall, just about to break wave. It was bigger than the rest, steeper, and was starting to break, coming up fast behind us. It lifted the stern and we surfed forward, burying the bow in the wave infront of us. That buried bow stopped us, but not the wave. It crashed over the transom. A foot and a half of water flooded the floor we stood on. It drained mostly into the cabin as the stern was lifed once more. Dad was reaching for the mike. We were bogged down, low in the water. Another wave came over the rear starboard side. We bogged down lower. Everything was everywhere. Chaos. Dad had already yelled in one Mayday call.

Someone yelled to throw the chum and bait. The notion of sharks with us in the water passed through our minds, but just for a fleeting moment. It wasn't a worry. That wasn't the danger. By now, we were dead in the water. Dad was yelling his second Mayday to the Coast Guard. The safety equipment was gone, washed out somewhere.

I don't know what happened next. It was so fast. I know we were terrified. The terror slipped away, to our surprise.

I know at some point, I was very cold. I wanted that cup of coffee again. I wanted to become a snow-white egret in the tranquil marsh. I became very calm in a strange way. My life didn't flash before my eyes. Only my family. And my friends. I can no longer express my love for my family. I hope you can somehow know how much I will miss you, and how much I regret leaving you. And, please know and trust that I will always love you, deeply, more than you could know.

Now I am serene, at total peace. All four of us are. I can now fly with tranquil grace , like my peaceful friend, the egret. I know I will see you all again.

"Hear my voice upon the wind,
and realize, you and I will meet again."

Would I do it again, you might ask. Not if we knew we would be leaving you for this long. But ofcourse we did not know that. So, yes, we would do it again. Men are men and life is for living. Living life to the fullest is not without risk.

Do I place blame? The Coast Guard couldn't have saved us in time. The club didn't make us go. We all trusted Dad's judgement with our lives. We felt confident in our decision. There were four good heads on that boat.

It was just one bad wave.


"Sound of the low tide,
Smell of the rain,
Traveling along with my boat and my pain,
Take it all in, its as big as it seems,
Count all your blessings, remember your dreams."
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