WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A FAMILY OF 5 IS DESERTED ON AN ISLAND?
I’m a mom of 3, and I call B.S. on the SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
Believe it or not, I found myself stranded on a small island along with my husband and kids. No shoes, no food, no sunscreen, no wallet or idea when our rescuers would come, we were marooned on a small nature preserve.
To date, this is probably our worst vacation fail. But, IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT SOME OF OUR OTHER VACATION FAILS, CLICK HERE
BEST LAID PLANS
One ill-fated day while on vacation, our small family, complete with my husband, my 3 small children, and me, had a marvelous opportunity to take a boat ride with…well…let’s just call them Mary Ann and the Skipper.
A party of 7 –the first of many omens preceding our disastrous desertion– we were excited for a day of salt-spray and fun. We had no idea that we were about to be stranded on an island with kids!
Mary Ann and the Skipper invited us for a day in the sun, sand, and shells to explore a beautiful natural preserve in the Gulf of Mexico.
Great idea! We bought sandwiches, packed up drinks, doused ourselves in sunscreen, and disembarked.
Ordinarily, corralling 3 small children to leave the house at an appointed time can be quite a chore. But, not this day. This day, 3 small children were happy to comply with requests for final potty breaks, to don shoes, and even to carry their own beach toys.
Everyone was excited. Everyone naively expected a carefree day on the water.
This day would be special. Today would be different. This day was for memory-making.
Would it ever.
Mere moments after leaving the dock, the pilot seat completely broke off its stem leaving poor, Skipper sprawled on the floor. Turning back for the marina, not yet deterred by this second bad omen, the Skipper motored back to the docks for a repair.
Within just a few minutes, the shore crew repaired the break and sent us back on our adventure! Like a pit crew, they swarmed the boat, pulled us to the dock, dismantled then repaired the seat, and pushed the boat off again.
The crew at Tierra Verde Boat Rentals was so helpful! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!
So, we idled our way out of the bay, yet again.
Finally, past the no-wake zone, the Skipper opened up the throttle and 3 little faces were spread with smiles! Faces to the sun, water spraying, and cold drinks in the cup holders, we made our way to the nearby island.
That is where the fun ended.
TROUBLES AT SEA
Edging up to the beach, we threw in our anchors and promptly began to be thrown about by the waves and wind. The waves turned the boat sideways and started launching coolers and small children as the Skipper worked his best to turn the boat straight.
Mary Ann jumped into the water quickly pulling the anchors, turning the boat and calling to the Skipper to trim the engine.
As I quite literally threw the children overboard to lighten the load, in my best Jonah impression, I tossed my shoes on the boat floor and swam over to the shore, children in tow.
Leaving the Skipper, Mary Ann, and daddy to anchor the boat, I quickly distracted the children with shell hunting and looking for local wildlife. The kids were having a blast.
Although it was a dramatic few minutes, the third bad omen, after just a few moments, the boat was anchored and all peace returned. The entire family was ready to resume our fun and relaxing day on the water.
Daddy joined us on the beach and soon helped another boat that had become awash on the shore thrown by the same waves that had nearly capsized our vessel.
Feeling very Jason Momoa, daddy returned to the beach with a puffed chest ready to dig shells with his little girl!
As we hunted shells, other boats continued to suffer the same fate as we had. Although watching other boats crash into the beach should have been yet another sign that we should go home, it actually had the opposite effect.
Instead, the other shipwrecks reassured us that our dramatic beach arrival wasn’t merely a problem with our lack of boating skills. We chose to accept the version of reality that we had happened into a dangerous and difficult to navigate section of beach. And, we believed that we could now relax with our boat safely anchored offshore.
However, only a few moments later, we heard yelling from our boat from the Skipper and Mary Ann. Widly gesticulating, they began to pull away from the beach. As we watched the craft disappear across the bay, we began to wonder what in the world just happened.
STRANDED WITH 3 KIDS
So, there we were. Stranded. Stranded on an island, in the ocean, with 3 children.
What would you take to a deserted island?
Which one food would you take to a deserted island?
What one person would you want to be stuck with on a deserted island?
Well…we took nothing but the swimsuits on our backs and my daughter’s shell bucket. We had nothing to eat. And, we had nothing to drink except the warm water in my son’s water bottle that happened to go overboard with him. Plus, we were stuck with 3 children!
A few minutes passed… then 30 minutes… then an hour. We realized that we had been left behind. We realized that all of us, including our 3 kids, were stranded on a secluded island!
THANKFULLY our children had no idea. Our children were none the wiser and believed themselves to be on a great adventure.
My husband and I began determining what we should do and whether the boat would be returning.
It was in those moments that we formulated a plan for what we should do, when stranded on an island with kids! Or, in any other small catastrophe!
WHAT TO DO WHEN STRANDED ON AN ISLAND WITH CHILDREN
1. Keep smiling.
The kids had no idea what was going on. To be really honest, neither did mommy and daddy. But, to keep everyone calm, mommy and daddy made our plans and watched for boats that might return us to our home. We waited with gritted, smiling teeth.
Mommy and daddy continued to smile as we hopped across hot sand. We smiled as we pulled our children out of the current. And, we smiled as we discussed all the things that we would eventually say to the Skipper and Mary Ann. That is, if we didn’t kill them first.
Kids are incredibly reliant on their parents even when it comes to how to react in somewhat panicked situations. As long as mommy and daddy were calm, the kids stayed calm too.
It took more than 20 minutes before the children looked up and discovered that our boat, the Skipper, and Mary Ann had all disappeared. And, even then, they continued to await their return long after we realized that we were abandoned!
As long as we were smiling, the kids were fine too.
2. Make everything a game.
Heat, sand, and no food can make kids grumpy in a hurry. So, we decided to make a game out of shell hunting, watching for animals out in the water, and walking across the hot sand.
Pretending to be explorers made our unexpected marooning, more fun.
3. Make sure that everyone is safe, hydrated, and covered from the sun.
It took only 1 hour before all of us were complaining of thirst, hunger, and sunburn.
This is why I know that the Swiss Family Robinson is fake.
Forget about the engineering talents of Mr. Robinson. Throw out the fact that he had three strapping sons who were not only helpful but adventurous. Our crew had a mix of advanced degrees and some building skills.
Why I know that the Robinson Family is fake, is that almost no one in the movie was complaining. Further, that fair-skinned family wouldn’t have lasted one day on that beach without having their skin completely burned off their bones.
Walking across the beach for a mere 30 minutes was enough for us. This short stranding was enough to teach us that we would never make it through the evening, let alone Christmas, without a rescue party!
4. Wait for help to arrive!
Well, the Skipper and Mary Ann did return only a short hour later! Never to live this down, they met us with water bottles, shoes, and sunscreen.
As we climbed back into our minivan, we laughed about our adventure. Already laughing about the feeling of being left on a deserted island, we discussed how unlike the Robinson family we were!
After being stranded on an island for only an hour, left confused, hot, and hungry, our family would never survive on a game show or in the wild.
The Skipper and Mary Ann had abandoned the shore to retrieve us from a nearby private beach. Turns out their yelling and gesturing was to tell us that they would be back and that we should meet them at an area nearer to an access road.
Formulating an adventure and wondering about the duration of our abandonment made for a very interesting day. The Skipper and Mary Ann won’t live this one down for a long time. And, I hope that you got a good laugh too.
**Oh…and we don’t have any pictures of our adventure because we were left without a phone/camera either!
*NOTHING IN THIS POST IS SURVIVAL ADVICE. THIS POST IS SOLELY FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES.