Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Up Close: Great Lakes Coast Guard Rescue!

Lake Michigan from the Leelanau Peninsula at Glen Lake looking at South Manitou Island

Rain was coming across the lake, you can see it here, plain as can be!

On our second visit back to Glen Haven, we walked up to the beach to see a gathering of Park Rangers talking to a family member about some men out in a kayak on the waters of the lake.

Forty mile-an-hour plus winds were blowing, the air was chilly and the waves were big and crashing relentlessly against the shores.

Why anyone would take a KAYAK out into this, when all the ferries running to the Manitou Island were anchored in the nearby port --is beyond me! Only the big ships were out and many of them snugged in toward the shore anchored and waiting it out.

Somehow this family member knew the men were in trouble and knew about where they were on the lake.

So the park rangers are spotting so they can report to the US Coast Guard the location and to send in a chopper.

So as not to look too snoopy or overly interested, we completed the walk we'd planned to the point at Sleeping Bear Dunes, and climbed up that high point in the sand and wind and shot some great pictures of the waves crashing.

Luke had the camera the whole time, and except for a couple on this post, he took all the shots!

Kids amaze me with their natural ease with electronic equipment!

That's a big old ship way, way, way out there.

So the next thing you know, the thump, thump, thump of the rescue aircraft comes at us from around the bend. 

We hoofed it down the beach, headed toward the place directly across from the rescue site.

We weren't the only ones watching, clicking or video-taping.

 Luke kept shooting.

They found the men. First they lowered a rescue diver.

Then the basket.

One man up, saved!

None of this was quick, I've cut out many of the pictures because the headwinds were so strong the chopper had to keep repositioning.

And when the man was up, the helicopter did not go straight into shore.

What a cold ride this must have been with the wet and the winds and the cold air.

Slowly, carefully, the chopper lowered the basket safely to the ground and the waiting emergency rescue personnel.

Back out to pick up the rescue diver. And then they searched for the second man. It took a little while to find and bring him back. During that time, we took the long walk back to our car. We were hemmed in by all the emergency vehicles and were not allowed to leave.

Not that we even wanted to.

We stayed until the end.


Plus, we just had to know the outcome.

Although this building is not used for Coast Guard duties anymore, it's still here on the shore as a historical building and a museum. The rescue happened within sight distance of this place.

And now they're back with the second man, all safe.
The chopper was right above our car, and dropped the man behind a little grove of pine trees on the beach.

All in a day's work for the US Coast Guard!

The Guard is awesome. Well-prepared, well trained and professional. Just doing their job. And making this American pretty proud of them and their skill. I just can't help it, when I see something like this, I know we're going to be okay as a country, because I know there are military men all over the world just like this crew that rescued these silly kayakers.

They're ready to put their lives on the line for people like us...and more.
It's their job, and their bound by duty to do it.

And do it they do.

(Learn more about Michigan's Great Lakes here. They are called "freshwater seas".)


Cher' Shots said...

WOW ... that kind of excitement I can live without. I truly do respect the work that people do who put their own lives at risk to save others.

Hollace said...

What dramatic photos! Even the colors are dramatic. The story might have ended very differently...thank God it didn't.

Jeanette said...

Great pictures and what a exciting thing to see! Glad the outcome was good.

The Redhead Riter said...

Awwwwwwwwwesome photos!!!!

I totally love the ocean and people who help others on the ocean are heroes in my book because I am scared to get in the shark infested waters!

Nan said...

What an awesome post about the USCG rescue. My grandson age 22 is in the Guard now stationed under the Golden Gate Bridge in SF. Many in our family have been in the Guard and I'm so proud of them all. Yes they put their lives on the line to save someone being stupid at times don't they. Kind of makes you wonder what's in some peoples heads. Thanks for visiting me over at Retired in Alaska.

Blissitydoodah said...

Wow...that was incredible.
Lifeflight helicopters always land in front of our house and we see a few nervous situations...

jAne said...

amazing rescue pictures.
beautiful stormy weather.
lake michigan .. love it.
silly kayakers. ugh.
our military .. which includes Coast Guard .. so proud!


jAne said...

oh. stand on the shore and look across the lake, north of chicago. wave. that's where i was born and raised til 10 years old. winthrop harbor, illinois. i may reside on the left coast but i'm a midwest gal at heart.