It’s tempting to think we’re cursed. After our boat was struck by lighting, we thought Mother Nature might go easy on us for a while. No such luck.

After leaving the boat on the hard in Florida, we drove up to the Midwest to put some miles between us and the hurricane season threatening the Atlantic seaboard. We prepared Soulianis as best we could, but as Hurricane Dorian began obliterating the northern Bahamas and with Florida appearing to be next, we couldn’t help but think we’d be forced to say goodbye to our boat.

A month later, while visiting family in Wisconsin, a tornado drew a path of destruction right through Lauren’s sister’s property, toppling trees and tearing the roof off of her neighbor’s garage then smashing it into her front yard — all while we hid under the stairs in the basement.

What a strange series of events… Are we cursed? Does Mother Nature have it out for us? Come along for the crazy ride.

Lauren & Kirk

FILMED: August — October 2019




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Thinking About Buying a Boat?

Boat Buying Dashboard

Episode Dialogue

– Really haven’t wanted to do this.

– A lot of people wonder why we get off the boat. Three to six months, each year.

– Hurricane Dorian, category five storm hitting The Bahamas heading for the Southeast.

– [Lauren] I was sort of in a disbelief, I think. And Kirk’s like, that’s a tornado. We need to get to the basement right now.

– [Kirk] What are the odds that it’s going to Hit this house.

– Right here? Mother Nature is just giving us a run, for our money. After suffering a lightning strike while on a mooring ball in St. Augustine. We hauled the boat to get everything checked out. Fortunately our losses were limited to the electrical system and no structural damage was found. With the Florida heat melting us to the core, we hit the road in Chip the van to spend a couple of months visiting family and friends in the Midwest. We drove up the East coast via the outer banks, stopping in Philly and Boston all the way to Bar Harbor Maine. Then, we cut through Montreal Canada and tried river surfing in the St. Lawrence.

– [Anchor 1] And breaking news. Of course, a catastrophic category five storm.

– [Anchor 2] One of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history.

– [Anchor 3] You are looking at a dangerous and I’ve heard it described as a nightmare situation.

– [Anchor 4] It is still making its way to the Southeastern part of the United States.

– [Anchor 5] Mandatory evacuations are already in place from Florida all the way up to North Carolina and the storm leaving so much devastation.

– [Kirk] After Soulianis was struck by lightning. We thought we’d had our dose of mother nature’s wrath for awhile. Unfortunately, that’s not really how it works.

– I really haven’t wanted to do this. So we left the boat two weeks ago, Florida. And now we’re back in Michigan at Kirk’s parents’ house and, uh, hurricane Dorian. I can barely keep it together. Hurricane Dorian is headed right for the East coast of Florida. It’s been a real crap last couple of days. Cause it seems like the entire coast is going to get slammed.

– [Kirk] The closer Dorian inched towards The Bahamas. The more it looked like Soulianis would be in its crosshairs. The worst case scenario of a direct hit seemed inevitable. If winds didn’t knock her over, the storm surge would surely float her off her stands. We’ve been through so much with Soulianis. She’s like a part of the family. The possibility of losing her was heart-wrenching.

– But I just, I can’t help, but think that we left her.

– [Elizabeth] This afternoon we are getting new images showing the extent of Dorian’s destruction Nikole, do you think people feel like they’ve dodged a bullet considering what happened in The Bahamas?

– [Nikole] Yes. Certainly people here are breathing a sigh of relief.

– [Kirk] We were glued to the news out of St. Augustine, and it was a huge sigh of relief. There was some minor flooding but the winds were never that fierce. We got word from a boat neighbor that Soulianis was safe. We were incredibly lucky. And so relieved. Needless to say, owning a boat has its fair share of ups and downs. Oh, it’s so bright.

– [Lauren] Several weeks later, we were back on the road headed to Wisconsin to visit my family.

– Beautiful. So there were gale warnings all last night. There’s a break right out here. It looks like if the wind shifted just a little bit more that would be surfable. It would almost be off shore. I think if I had a wind surfer, I’d definitely be out there. But it looks like pretty good waves. I mean, it’s always tough to tell from this angle.

– It looks crumbly, but it looks consistent.

– [Kirk] Yeah.

– [Lauren] Stops to check out the conditions of lake Michigan are mandatory on all of our drives. We got the burgers. We got the water, we got the chainsaw. We got the Pop’s. We got the socks and flip flops. Uh, well, so.

– We were in a tornado.

– Yeah.

– We’re at my sister’s house right now. And two nights ago, a tornado plowed right through. Went over to their house, thankfully the house is still standing. Took out most of those trees.

– [Kirk] There’s the power line.

– My daughter survived hurricane Michael last October in Panama city.

– [Kirk] Huh. A nice little promo there. We showed up about five minutes before and ran inside and then it got eerily still. There was no wind, but we could hear a just a constant whirring. Just driven into the ground. This is how close this roof came to Kelly and Chris’s house. Like, look at these. That’s what scared the out of me. Is that stuff.

– Yeah.

– [Kirk] Thinking about that. Coming through their house

– This hole right here. That was

– Yeah I mean, this is like a foot and a half or two feet into the ground.

– [Kirk] Yeah.

– [Lauren] This was the roof of their neighbor’s garage. Torn off and smashed into Kelly and Chris’s front yard. We knew that there was tornadoes like all that day. Cause my mom she’s constantly checking the weather and we were staying with my parents the night before. She’s like, make sure you leave early enough to get over to your sister’s because you don’t want to be caught in a storm. I just want to show you real quick where we ran down into the basement. Hey kitty. No no no, get back. This is where the tornado came from, that’s the West. And it’s got this big pine tree up here. Oh, it used to be twice as tall, it was taken off in two pieces. So, we ran down here and ran under these stairs right here. And so the problem is, is that it’s pretty exposed. I mean, there’s a huge window right there. And these stairs, this is only a half flight, really is. It’s not a super deep basement. Yeah. We were heading over here. After we left my parents last night we were driving through a crazy lightning show to get here.

– [Kirk] Whoa! I feel like I’m in like a haunted house.

– It was raining really hard when we arrived and we ran into the house and then like two minutes after we arrived we got alerts on our phones saying warning, take cover. And all of a sudden Kirk was poking his head out the front door again and he’s like, the wind died. And the thunder was no longer thundering, it was like constant. People, I guess describe it like a train. Kind of a dull, far away, high, roar. Really eerie. And Kirk’s like, that’s a tornado we need to get to the basement right now. I, I ran out into the van and grabbed my hard drives, priorities. I just wanted to look too, I wanted to go outside and look and see if I could see anything. And I looked up and down their street and the sky was just kind of like a dark purple. So we all ran down in the basement. And as we’re like diving towards the stairs Kirk says his ears have popped. And I felt my ears pop. And I was like, Oh my God, the pressure is dropping. If there’s one thing that I remember from all the hurricane watching that we did was how low the pressure gets. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’s gotta be close. And not like six seconds later we hear stuff hitting the house. And I thought, for sure the roof was gone. Like there was just a couple of windows broke and we just like huddled under the stairs. And then it wasn’t, it was done in five seconds.

– We experienced 165 mile an hour winds for like 10 or 15 seconds, which is just the tiniest glimpse of what the people of the Abacos experienced for over 24 hours and it was sheer terror. Before we went to bed right after the tornado there were flashing lights and sirens everywhere. And it was just like so comforting to know that people were out there taking care of business, getting the power back up making sure people were safe, clearing the roads. And I just can’t imagine being in a place like the Abacos and just having nothing left.

– The big box elder tree that landed almost on all of our cars, just got pulled away. Cleanup is in full force.

– [Kirk] We had a whole ton of family and friends come by and help clean up and this place looks like you would hardly even know it that a tornado hit it today. A lot of people wonder why we get off the boat three to six months each year. And partly it’s because we’re just ready for a little bit of change for a little while but mostly it’s because we want to see family. And the hurricane season presents a perfect opportunity to escape stormy weather where we don’t want to be on the boat. And it’s just so weird to think about we drove 1500 miles to get to safety basically and landed in a one third mile wide disaster zone of the tornado. Even when we got the alerts on our phone that there is a tornado in our area, I was like tornadoes they have such a narrow path of damaging winds like what are the odds that it’s going to hit this house?

– Yeah. Love, we are back in the mitten.

– Back in the mitten. All right. Here goes nothing. All right. We’ve got a week before we’re supposed to leave for Florida. And true to form I was trying to squeeze in one last project. Cutting a giant hole in the roof of our van to install a vent fan. Alright. Yeah. Perfect. Thank you. If you’ve watched us for a while, you know we tackle big projects slowly and deliberately. The boat is usually priority number one, so we get to van projects in the off season a little bit at a time.

– It’s okay, buddy.It’s gonna be okay. Kirk and I always say that it looks like Chip’s got a face. Look at him, he looks like a little puppy dog and he’s always got a goofy grin on. Is that it? Ooh, there’s some light in there.

– Be very careful with this, but will you grab that?

– Yeah

– Take care of business up top. On the roof.

– [Lauren] Love! The fan’s in!

– It’s a fan, cool! All right. So now I just got to find those screws to actually attach it.

– [Lauren] Minor detail.

– Yay!

– We’re back in the boat.

– We’re back!

– Can I just show this new toy?

– Does tearing our boat apart, make you happy?

– That’s been the problem with this boat the entire time.

– Yeah.

– It’s too nice.