Sara and I were on this cruise.
It was still a big ship – something like six decks – but it was local to the Tampa Bay Area. That said, the area was much more diverse than in reality and getting off the boat where we had docked felt like getting off in another country anyways…
Apparently the weather was really bad, but the cruise staff just seemed to take it in stride. On our way to one destination, the captain simply announced, “Everybody hold on!” as we looked out the window to see a wave coming that was taller than the ship itself. It was scary because it took a few seconds for the wave to approach, but when it finally came down it was almost like we were underwater for a long time.
We all looked around, wondering if the boat was going down, but a few seconds later the wave passed and we could see sunlight outside again, and that was that.
I did worry a bit about anyone who might’ve been on the top deck, though.
When we got to where the boat was going, we decided that we’d go out for a little jog / run … I think the track was on the upper deck. I never made it there because we had some confusion and I followed my wife to the changing room, only to find that there were separate facilities for men and women and I wasn’t allowed in, so she went ahead and got changed while I went back to the room to get my own stuff because we weren’t going to be allowed to share after all…
On my way back, somehow I ended up down on the streets outside of the ship and stumbled upon this outdoor Lego display, which stood out to me because I actually had a set being displayed as well. I was instantly mad because although there hadn’t been a lot of guests through, my piece had kind of gotten trashed – it was a Lord of the Rings set that was all medieval, and there were pieces of one of the towers in a big pile with all sorts of other sets.
I stopped to try and fix it because a guy I knew was working on his own as well, and it’s probably a good thing that I did because as I gathered up the wreckage from my set from the bigger pile, he noted that a bunch of the pieces that had gone into mine were pretty rare … as if to indicate that had I not been standing there, they would’ve ended up his before too long.
Suddenly without warning, that’s when the next wave hit.
Being on the ground instead of back on the ship, that’s when I felt the full force of the wave instead of just watching it harmlessly flowing over the six story boat.
People ran for nearby buildings and a few got inside, but more didn’t, and then the wave started sweeping people and things away like they were pebbles.
I watched one lady get crushed by a refrigerator who was scrambling to get inside somebody’s house, but they shut the door on her … a moment later, that steel box slammed into the side of the building and squashed her like a bug.
The weather was more pronounced on the ground than it had been on the ship – the wave came in multiples, and other smaller things like twisters made of dust (?!) were born after it arose.
For a brief moment, I was pissed because my Lego pieces by now were surely gone forever, but then I thought of Sara and got her on the phone to make sure that she was ok. Being back on the boat, she said that she was fine and that they had closed the jogging track on top of the boat due to the weather, so she was safely inside the whole time.
After the final smaller wave hit, I wandered the streets a bit and tried to take some pictures of the damages with my phone, but it quickly because apparent that my presence wasn’t wanted by the locals because at any time I could go back to the boat and escape it all.
Their streets were a mess, the water had swept in these giant locust creatures that were laying eggs and multiplying rapidly, and as tensions rose it was clearly time to go…