Sunday, March 22, 1998

Spring Break in South Carolina

I'm back from from spring break in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Besides being appalled at how many confederate flags and "South will rise again" bumper stickers I saw, one story in particular sticks out above everything else. Here it is:

There were 5 of us (me, my roommate Garret, 2 Chrises and a Kevin). We stayed at Garret's house in Isle of Palms. Garret's family's boat was in the shop, so on Thursday we got to borrow a demo boat from the Sea Ray dealer. The guy at the dealer is a family friend of Garret's, so he brought the boat out to the marina near us. It was about 12:15pm, and the guy was going to come back at 4 to get the boat. Bear in mind that he is supposed to be on the boat with us, and that he was 100% liable if anything were to happen.

The 5 of us depart, not yet aware that we had no means of communication. At about 1, the boat stalls in the middle of Charleston Harbor. After 30 minutes the engine finally started. We went back down the Intercoastal Waterway, which is an inlet in between the ocean and the mainland. We went past the marina, because the boat was running fine for over 15 minutes. About 5 minutes after the marina was a path to the ocean, so we decided to have some fun in the Atlantic.

We went back and forth for about 20 minutes hopping waves and having a grand old time. It was great. We started to head back to the marina, but then we decided to go back for one more loop of wave hopping. Upon our attempt to turn around again, the lovely demo boat stalled. As we started to drift, we figured that the boat would start after a while.

After a while we realized the boat wasn't going to start, so we tried paddling with cushions, which proved to be extremely unsuccessful. We blew off the airhorn a few times, and fired a flare. After 10 minutes, we realized that the people on the beach (which was probably between 1/2-3/4 of a mile away at this point) weren't responding, so we blew the airhorn more, and fired off another flare. We started waving our shirts, and we finally saw someone waving back.

30 minutes later we hear sirens, and we were able to make out a pick-up truck on the beach with flashing lights, pulling a jet ski. We figured that we were finally saved. A half hour later, and few more hundred yards closer to Africa, the jet ski had not come yet. There were approximately 100-200 people gathered along the beach watching our escapade.

Soon, we hear a fluttering noise overhead. It was a helicopter in the distance, coming towards us. We finally figured out that this was a US Coast Guard helicopter, and it was coming for us. It circled us for 45 minutes, and much to our dismay, we didn't get an airlift. One of the Chrises even volunteered to let us break his leg so that we could get an air lift. Unfortunately, common sense got the best of him. Finally, a small boat from the Fire Department came and began the towing process. Another bigger boat came and towed us back to the marina. The whole towing process took another 40 minutes. We were pulled at about 2 miles an hour past the beach and several marinas and docks, so that everyone could have their look at the 5 dumbasses who managed to get stuck in the ocean.

We finally got back to the marina at 5:15, over an hour after we were supposed to have been there. The guy from the boat shop was there. He had heard what happened, and luckily he didn't get in trouble because Garret told the police that he was the guy's nephew. Appearantly we made the Charleston news that night, but we didn't watch it. Oh well.

That was my spring break story. Believe it or not there was no alcohol involved at all.