Last Wednesday evening a woman paced a Maine shoreline waiting for her husband, an experienced kayak tour guide, and two other kayakers (husband and wife). They were two hours past their arrival time. A lobster boat captain stopped to check on her. She explained what was going on and he insisted that she call the Coast Guard. The lobster captain, along with some other boats, set out to search for the missing kayakers.
What they found was harrowing. One of the kayakers was clinging to her overturned kayak. Her core temperature was 82 degrees. She was hypothermic and unable to speak. The woman had been in the water for 4 to 5 hours. She was taken to the nearest hospital and has since been released.
The bodies of the other two kayakers were found at 8:30 p.m and 10 p.m.
They had set out at noon for their trip. An unexpected storm suddenly came on causing 5 ft waves. The kayakers clad in life jackets, t-shirts and shorts were thrown into 52 degree water. The men were unable to survive. You can find a link to the story here.
This story has played out a million times in my head only because Chris, Sam and Annabelle could have so easily been the ones on that trip. Last Tuesday, Chris and I went by SeaScape Kayak and Bike to talk to them about a kayak trip. The locals were adamant that was the best place to go with the best guide. He had owned the business for 14 years and was vigilant about safety. The tour guide’s wife was there and we let her know that the next day would be the perfect day for the trip. She was great with that, and told us she would call us that evening to make final arrangements and let her husband make sure the weather would be ok for the trip. That evening she called and said her husband wouldn’t be able to fit them in the next day, so we made plans for Thursday morning instead. She was to call Chris Wednesday night to make final arrangements. The call never came.
Thursday morning, Lucy and I went to drop off Chris, Sam and Annabelle. There was no one at the office. Chris called the wife’s cell phone, and a gentleman answered. Chris told him that he was there for the kayaking trip and that no one was there. The gentleman was completely out of sorts and stammering around. Finally, in the background, Chris heard a woman say, “Tell them what has happened.” The gentleman said, “There will be no trip today. There has been a death in the family.”
We had no idea what had happened just 12 hours earlier. We had seen the boats with lights right off the coast from the house where we were staying. We had heard the sirens, but we of course never imagined it could have been for kayakers.
As we were getting ready to leave the parking lot, a man stopped by and filled us in on what had happened. We wandered off to breakfast shaken and the small community was live with chatter about the previous evening’s events.
Chris and I have mulled it around over and over in our heads. That was the trip that Chris had wanted to take, but it was suddenly unavailable. Now two wives have lost their husbands, and I came home with my family in tact. God’s grace and protection is evident. How many times has He watched over us and guarded our lives when we were unaware? I don’t understand why those men were the ones that lost their lives. I can’t imagine the pain of those two widows. My heart breaks for them.
I read a Psalm every day during my time with God. The following day was Psalm 124.
1What if the Lord had not been on our side?
(Let Israel repeat this.)
2 What if the Lord had not been on our side
when we were attacked?
3 When they were angry with us,
they would have swallowed us alive.
4 They would have been like a flood drowning us;
they would have poured over us like a river.
5 They would have swept us away like a mighty stream.
6 Praise the Lord,
who did not let them chew us up.
7 We escaped like a bird
from the hunter’s trap.
The trap broke,
and we escaped.
8 Our help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.