Very soon I will post something about SQL Server. I promise. I’ve got a couple ideas I’m tossing around in my head, and they will be put to paper (electronic paper, I guess) in the near future. But, for now, another personal story.
Early Sunday afternoon (May 19th) was just beautiful in Madison. Slight breeze, sunny, low 80s. Perfect day for a boat ride. I called up a couple friends and we made the standard arrangements: Suzi and I bring the beverages, guests bring the food. Most of the time we just sit out in the middle of the lake, talking, or listening to the radio. Sometimes we go through the locks at Tenney Park and laze on down the river to Lake Monona, feeding the ducks as we motor on through the no wake zone. Yesterday Lake Mendota was a little choppy, so we decided to head down to Lake Monona. When we got to Monona we were surprised that that lake was even rougher than Mendota. That’s usually not the case. So, we turned around and headed back up the Yahara River to go through the locks and get back onto Lake Mendota.
Mendota actually calmed down a bit by the time we got there. We buzzed the south shore, looking at the new Edgewater Hotel construction next to my former workplace National Guardian Life. Next we headed to the UW Student Union to see all the recent graduates getting their pictures taken. I then motored full out over to the west side of the lake to view some of the nicer homes and to look at the boat ramp in Marshall Park. Once we got there we saw that the sky way off to the west was getting a bit darker. There were a few more clouds overhead as well, and my friend looked at the radar on his phone. There was a green and red blob to the southwest of us, and the weather channels were predicting it would move south of Madison. We looked up at the sky and noticed that it was getting a lot darker, and decided to head back to Warner Park (east side of the lake, about a 15 minute journey full throttle) where I had launched the boat. Just as we were starting back the wind picked up quite a bit, and there were white caps forming on the waves.
It was at this point I stopped the boat and said “Life jackets. Everyone. Now.” No one even tried to argue. By the time we got the life jackets on the lake had turned black, with 5 foot swells and what I estimate was a 40 – 50 mph wind. My boat is a little 18 foot runabout, and it was getting tossed quite a bit. We were taking on an awful lot of water as well, both from the now pouring rain and the waves crashing over the bow and the sides.
After what seemed like an hour – it was probably only 20 minutes – we made it back to the boat launch. Everyone was drenched and freezing cold, given that the lake temperature was only about 57 degrees. We had to wait to get the boat out of the water, as there were 4 boats in front of us. Everyone on the docks pitched in and helped everyone else. A few people disregarded their own personal safety and jumped in the water to help hold the boats and get them to where they could be tied to the pier until the trailers were in place. After our boat was safely on the trailer, we went and helped the last boat get tied up.
By the time we got home, 5 minutes later, the sun was shining, the rain had stopped. I took my friends back to their car in downtown Madison, and as we passed Lake Mendota we noticed that it was as smooth as glass again.
Quite the adventure, not one I want to repeat anytime soon. We really had no advanced warning of the storm – it just popped up out of nowhere. But, we’re safe, dry, warm, and ready to go out on the boat again, as long as it’s nice and sunny out.