GALVESTON, Texas -

A Galveston man rode out Hurricane Ike at sea level, in the dark, as 10 foot high waves crashed against a small building where he sought cover.

"That's right where I was standing climbing step by step by step by step until it finally got up to the last step," said Miles Chapman.

The day before Ike came ashore, Chapman tried to leave Bolivar Peninsula, but before her got far he ran into a friend who said the road was already impassable.

"He said we got to go back to the beach and hunker down somewhere and ride it out," said Chapman.

Helicopters airlifted some of his neighbors, but he decided to stay at his brother's cafe because he couldn't take his welding tools and was afraid of losing them.

Chapman made himself comfortable on the second floor, but within hours began to fear the wind and waves would batter the building down. He grabbed one of the pilings that the building was anchored to and held on.

"I was just holding on for dear life," said Chapman.

The building and Chapman survived. Others on Bolivar weren't so lucky. It was days before he was able to get a call out to tell his family.

"My brother said, 'Miles I knew it, I knew they couldn't kill you,'" said Chapman.

The building and Chapman survived.

Chapman says he learned a valuable lesson in his experience.

"Being as how the majority of people did get out, that's the one thing to do, don't be a dummy like me and stay," said Chapman.