A recent trip to the North Shore left the Cain family of Dalbo shaken.
Off a pier on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn., the waters appeared rougher than usual the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 4.
Miranda Cain, 15, and her younger brothers, 7-year-old Cavin “Bean” Geving and 4-year-old Quinn Geving, didn’t think much of it. They decided to walk along the narrow path of the pier between huge waves crashing over it.
Miranda yelled for her brothers to stop and wait for a wave to crash over. When the water calmed down, she told them to go. Another wave came, and she noticed Cavin had been knocked down on all fours.
She called his name, but the next thing she knew, another wave slammed over the pier, sliding Cavin down the side of the pier and launching him into the lake 10 or 15 feet from the pier.
Without hesitation, Miranda ran and jumped in after her little brother. Cavin went under, but Miranda soon spotted him treading water. When she got to him, 7-year-old “Bean” clung to his sister and started crying.
Miranda was able to hang onto Cavin, but she struggled to stay above water under his weight. She swam back to the pier, where several strangers had gathered at the edge by a ladder to help bring Miranda and her brother to safety.
Miranda said she was afraid Cavin would drown because he didn’t pass his swimming test this year.
“When I first saw him when the wave knocked him over, that scared me, and then he slid in,” Miranda said. “I didn’t even think about it. It was just a big adrenaline rush and I didn’t really think about what was happening.”
Their dad David Geving and mom Michelle Cain were well behind Miranda, Cavin and Quinn. When he saw what had happened, David rushed past Michelle to get to the pier.
“I had no idea the waves were like that,” Michelle said. “I was far enough back that I had no idea the waves were coming up that high, and I probably wouldn’t have let the boys go out if I had known.”
As a Bluejacket swimmer entering tenth grade at Cambridge-Isanti High School, Miranda had planned on jumping the pier into Lake Superior this year. When their mom Michelle saw Miranda in the water, she took her camera out to get photos, not initially seeing Cavin in the water and believing Miranda had jumped in by herself.
“She saved his life,” Michelle said. “I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am. He easily could have drowned if she weren’t there because he starts struggling. He doesn’t like his head under water, and that’s why he didn’t pass swim. He starts panicking.”
Cavin cut up his leg on the cement pier when the wave washed him away, and he and Miranda were both cold and soaked when they got back on the pier.
“He was scared at first,” Michelle said, looking at her son. “But then you were really proud of yourself because you tread water.”
“Mhmm,” Cavin said.
“And then when sis got there, you knew you were OK, so you could cry?” Michelle said.
Back on land, Michelle said she felt relieved. Everyone was crying and thanking the men who helped Miranda and Cavin get up the ladder.
“I was still confused and in shock, thinking ‘Did this really happen?’” she said. “I held Bean because he was crying so bad—uncontrollably crying. When I stopped holding him, I started holding Miranda and thanking her and telling her she’s amazing.
“It really was a scary, scary situation,” Michelle continued. “I just think my daughter is amazing. I’m thankful for her and I’m really happy he was able to tread water.”