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Monday, June 2, 2008

Entry for June 02, 2008

Lake Michigan does not care how big and seaworthy you think your scrawny little boat is.

Last Friday’s storm had multidirectional winds that hit 60 MPH and the surface of Lake Michigan can churn waves up in no time at all when a sudden storm like that hits. If the winds on the lake were as variable as they were here on land, you can get “confused seas,” waves coming from all directions, very scary stuff. Whatever the case was on Friday, at 11:30 AM the waves were big enough to sink a charter fishing-boat, 3-miles offshore between Waukegan and Great Lakes Naval Station.

The Lake County News-Sun article said 6’ – 8’ waves swamped the 36-foot boat and it sank in a hurry. The Captain had the presence of mind to issue life vests to his passengers and crew, and to radio a Mayday to the Coast Guard with the boat’s GPS location coordinates. The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived in 30-minutes, with their patrol boat arriving shortly thereafter. Another News-Sun article said that there were seven very cold, very lucky, people rescued. Give a hearty salute to our Coast Guard for a job very well done.

Before you call the boat’s captain a dumbass, hear me out. I can tell you stories of being on a glass smooth Lake Michigan when the weather service was warning of current wave conditions being over 6’, and I have been out there when the weather service said there were no waves at all while I was taking waves over the bow into the cockpit. Boating on Lake Michigan comes with no guarantee. Most of the time you go home and eat fish, but if the cards you are dealt turn up
black aces and eights you don’t go home and the fish get to eat you.

In other news related to Friday’s storm, there were still 6,900 homes without power as of Saturday morning. Sadly, I found that the storm winds stripped the petals from my last two remaining tulips of this season, a beautiful pair of pink tulips that lasted for what seemed like weeks. Gladly, my peach colored irises have bloomed. Spring is racing into summer.

James A. Zachary Jr.

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