I'm sure you have heard the story by now. May it be from a friend, a family member, an article, and soon, channel 13 news story. And if you haven't, you are reading this to find out the story. Well here it goes.
Ten days ago, I was floating with my salvation. I know it sounds a little quirky. And probably a little too into context. But on Monday, August 18, 2014, I was floating in the bottom of a 36 ton shrimp boat, with nothing but my God, His son, and my own salvation.
Weather is a normal earthly occurrence. Something most people who are on land a lot, usually don't give second thought to. Well on the water, it is a different situation. There are no trees, no large buildings, no barriers to slow the wind, slow the onslaught of rain, slow the brute amount of force. Daddy, Cody, Manuel (our other deckhand), and I had been watching the weather roll in from the La Porte/Bayport area. I didn't think twice because Daddy always took care of us. The wind was strong though, it started to cool off the hot, muggy air that had plagued us that day. My hair began to whip around my face as Cody and I cleaned the back deck of fish and crabs, and then we dipped shrimp from the tanks into baskets to unload at the dock.
Daddy called to us from the cabin doorway that he was going to do a few circles at the hole (which is where the Houston Ship Channel branches into Cedar Bayou), wait for the weather to pass. "It's a bad blow, I want that to get out of the way before we head in." He casually grabbed a water and went back to his tall, captain's chair, and settled in.
Laughing, I put my arms up like the classic Titanic pose as the wind pushed hard against my face. I told Cody, "Put your arms up! It's just like Titanic!" Cody immediately hollered, "Sabrina! No! That boat sank!" I laughed harder, thinking of the absurdity of our boat sinking. Gave Cody a big, I-love-you-for-saying-something-so-silly hug and finished up unloading the shrimp. Just as the rain began to release, all three deckhands walked into the cabin and dad steered the boat into Cedar Bayou.
Lightening flashed up ahead. It was so beautiful. Purple and just.. breathtaking. I felt a twinge of fear but remembered that Daddy always took care of us. The weather wasn't something to be feared. Dad stood at the helm and was watching the beacons, his line up, his depth meter. Everything was normal. Lightening struck ahead of us. "You should take a picture, Brina. It's really pretty." And just like that, I grabbed my phone from my purse on the bunk and turned back to Dad's side. My spot. Always my spot. That little corner where the dash nestled into the starboard window. Right next to the wheel. I swiped my screen to unlock it just as the clock changed to 2:12 p.m. "I sure wish we were already at that next beacon. It would make me feel better with all this wind," and just like that Dad was on his feet, spinning the wheel deftly to the right. I looked over my left shoulder to the back left of the cabin out the door. The boat was laying over to the left and the water was at the bulwarks. The white box (large tank that holds 700 pounds of shrimp) slid to the edge and was going over. I cried out that the box was going over as dad yelled to grab a window. Pushing me against the corner, Dad wrapped his strong arms around me as we both clung to the window sill. Just like that, my hands were the only thing touching the cabin as the boat capsized.
Water rushed in, rising to my neck. I began screaming to God. It didn't seem real. It didn't seem possible. This doesn't happen in real life. If you don't already know, I have night terrors. These have happened long before the accident. I wake up in a screaming/crying mess, reliving the terrible images of a dream gone wrong. Screaming to God to save me was the only way I could awake from them. Daddy always said I read to many Nancy Drew books when I was younger, but who knows the real reasons. They are always extremely vivid and real. I thought this was just another vivid night terror haunting my sleep. But as the water swirled around my face, the light inside the cabin began to dim as the boat filled with water, and I knew it was not.
I immediately kicked my boots off. Just like my daddy taught me. Swimming to the surface, I felt disorientated. I was at the front of the cabin, Manuel in front of me, Cody next, then Daddy had some how ended up on at the back of the cabin. He came rushing out of the water with a big gulp of air. Thrashing his head around, he cleared the water from his brow, his necklace whirled around his neck. The gold crucifix anchor spinning and catching what little light was left in the small space. "I found the door! Come to the door!" And with that my head fell under the water as the boat rolled over.
Spluttering for air, I found myself near Cody and Manuel. "Break a window!! Break a window!!" Cody continued to scream, as Manuel moaned and clamored for something to hold onto. the water reaching our necks again. I screamed for Dad. Ceaselessly. "I broke the window, we have to climb out. I broke a window!" Cody had broken a window. Suddenly Manuel accidentally pushed Cody underneath me. I could feel his head beneath my socked feet. With knife-cutting screams, I wrenched Cody from the water below me and shoved him through a broken window. Grabbing Manuel by the back of his shirt collar, I yelled, "Your next! Go! Now! Out the window!" I forced him through the small space, and tried to come out too. One arm, my head, and part of my chest were through when I felt something hit me in the mouth. I tasted blood. Falling back into a completely submerged cabin, my left hand found an open space. Reaching inside I felt air. Thinking I had found the door, I pulled myself into the open space and upto much needed air. Opening my eyes, I expected to see the whiteness of clouds, the glow of the sun, my brother, my daddy, the world I loved.Yet all I saw was blackness.
A simple moment of pure beauty changed to tragedy with just one simple second of time. A simple deceiving moment.
I need to gather my thoughts before I talk about what happened for the next four hours while my life was shrouded in darkness with just a small glow from a three inch bilge pump pipe. Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask questions about what has happened up until this point in the story. I want to say now though, that my faith in God is stronger than it has ever been. It is not even because I feel like I owe God my life since He spared me. But because I was content with dying and was at peace with whatever He wanted of me. That peace was from the knowledge that I loved my Savior and knew I was going to be with Him for forever.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understand. Proverbs 3:5