A Tropical Storm Almost Ruined My Beach Vacation
Vacations are something many people look forward to throughout the year, and for good reason. Vacations might mean going to a 5-star resort on the beach, or they might mean simply staying home with the family for a week. Whatever “vacation” means for you, it’s no doubt that they are well-loved. One of the best parts about a vacation is simply having something to look forward to! Well, I had been looking forward to my beach vacation for months. And you are about to find out how a tropical storm almost ruined my beach vacation.
Being in college and working, I’ve been desperate to go to the beach for well over a year. If you didn’t know this already, the ocean is where my heart is. Being born and raised in Missouri, I don’t get to see the water very much. So when I do, my heart is full and my smile is big. I am truly happy at the beach, even if that means just sitting in the sun and listening to the waves all day.
I was lucky enough to go to Dauphin Island, Alabama this year with a group of my friends. Dauphin Island is a long, thin island off of Alabama that has a bay side with calm water and an ocean side just across the street. It’s a gorgeous beach getaway that my family and I went to years before, so I knew that it would be a great place to go with my friends. We went June 17th through June 24th; a whole week of what I thought would be filled with hot, summer fun on the beach. Boy, was I wrong.
When we first got there, the sun was out and the water was warm; a perfect start to a perfect vacation (I thought). We were all excited and optimistic, and we had all been waited for this vacation for months. Sunday and Monday couldn’t have been better. We woke up early to make breakfast, had long beach days, and went out for food on Sunday to an outdoor restaurant with live music. So far, so good! Tuesday rolled around, though, and things took a turn for the worst.
Looking at the weather in advance, it showed rain for a few days starting with Tuesday. It also showed rain for Monday, and it only rained for about an hour, so we didn’t think much of it. Remembering my trip to Hawaii a few years ago, it showed rain every day on the forecast; it’s something you can expect when going to the beach. Again, we didn’t think twice. So Tuesday morning we wake up to a storm. Being a nature lover, I took my coffee and a thin blanket and sat on the covered patio and watched/listened to the rain. I honestly love the rain, so I was more than happy! A few hours pass and I’m waiting for it to stop; but it never did.
We turned on the T.V. to learn that we were stuck right in the middle of Tropical Storm Cindy. Again, living in Missouri, we had no idea what a tropical storm was or what it would mean for people on the island. Was it just a regular storm? A hurricane? Were we in danger? We had no idea! We all went out to a local restaurant and talked to our waitress about it. She told us that there were already house’s on the island that were losing front/back porches due to the wind and rain. There was flooding, and she explained to us that people were evacuating the island. We were freaking out at this point.
On our way back to our beach house, we saw the flooding begin to cover the roads. The waves on the ocean side were unbelievable, and we were all a little panicked. Once we got back to the beach house, the rain picked up and it was coming down harder than I’ve ever seen it rain! A few of my friends decided to leave that night to head back home as they felt unsafe, and we were wondering if we should do the same. In my opinion, it’s important to trust your gut instinct. If you are somewhere you feel unsafe, it’s best to figure out if you should leave or not. While 3 of my friends left, 5 of us decided to stay. Hours passed and the sun was beginning to set.
Bored and still scared, we went for a small ride down the street to see how much flooding there was at this point. As we were driving down the street, we saw no one. In the distance, we saw what looked like a fire. Driving closer in curiosity, we were amazed at what we saw next. A power line had blown down and was on fire in someone’s yard! The fire was getting bigger by the minute and we instantly called 911. They told us the fire department was on its way, and to move away from the fire. So we did, but the fire only grew more by the minute and was only feet away from touching a nearby house. As the fire department arrived, we went home. We arrived home to a dark house; the electricity went out due to that fire line being down. Now we were really scared.
We only had two small flash lights, one of which went dead within an hour. On top of that, we could only find 5 tiny candles. And finally, to make matters worse, we all had less than 10% of battery left on our phones. Then we had to consider all of the food we bought for the week that we would lose due to no working refrigerator, not being able to see weather updates due to our low batteries, and the constant fear that the wind would just blow our house over (we didn’t know what would/could happen). Being 10 hours away from home with no power, no phone battery (meaning no communication), no light, and no sense of calm, we had every possible window to break down in panic. But, that isn’t what we did.
Instead, we decided to first, take a deep breath. Second, we went ahead and called the local Police Department and asked them if we needed to evacuate the island (as people all around us where packing up and leaving). They told us to remain calm and stay inside, so that’s what we did. Third, we found and lit any candles we could find and to take turns charging our phones on my friends laptop we forgot we brought. Then, finally having a grip again, we decided the make the most of it! We found some board games in one of the closets, and a portable radio we had. We played games and listened to music, and we were actually making the most of the situation! Only an hour or two later, the power came back on and the rain started to slow down. Things were starting to look up.
We went to bed, and woke up to more rain. It rained all day and all night from Tuesday until Thursday. We stayed inside, went for walks in the rain (because we knew the rain wouldn’t melt us), and in the small amounts of time it wasn’t raining, we walked to the ocean to see and feel the powerful wind and waves. It wasn’t the sunny, beach vacation we had hoped for, but a vacation nonetheless. While I left disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to get my tan on, I haven’t had the chance to sit and do absolutely nothing in SO LONG.
We are constantly doing things, so to be able to just sit and watch a storm for a few days was everything I didn’t know I needed. It was also a great opportunity for me to practice yoga, which was relaxing and refreshing. We took a bad situation and turned it into an opportunity just to sit and be with great friends and good food. Not to mention we went out for food multiple times, which always makes a bad situation better. I was able to try raw tuna for the first time (which is now one of my favorites), and to eat until I couldn’t take another bit. I was also able to eat so much ice cream, which is my all time favorite food. Looking back now, I don’t think I could have been happier.
What I Will Take Away From This Vacation
While this vacation wasn’t anything that I expected, it was a great vacation all in all. I could have let this storm ruin my vacation. But, instead I let this act as an opportunity for me to learn. I learned to breathe in times of panic, and to eat food you love in times of stress. I learned that playing games and listening to music is more fun than sitting on a cellphone, and that tuna is amazing. I learned that mother nature is not forgiving, and that she does what she wants when she wants, even if you had a vacation planned for months. I learned to check the weather forecast in-depth and in advance (duh…). And finally, I learned that a vacation doesn’t have to be this one thing you have set in mind; a vacation is whatever you want it to be, and whatever you make it.
So if you ever get stuck in times of trouble when you are away from home, remember to remain calm and breathe. If you’re ever actually stuck in a storm like I was, check out these 6 Things To Do During A Beach Storm. Just like tropical storm Cindy, bad times will pass and the sun will shine again. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to smile!