Monday, September 12, 2005

My Near Death Experience

As Gary mentioned, I got sucked out to sea on Saturday. What he failed to mention was that I nearly died.

We seemed to be having a terrible time that day. Usually, we go to the beach, hop on our body boards, catch some waves for a few hours and head home. Saturday wasn't like that at all. The waves were really smashy and both of us were having a hard time going anywhere. Gary seemed to be able to make it out in the water, but couldn't seem to catch the waves in. I on the other hand couldn't even get out in the water. I would step a few feet in only to be thrown around by the next wave. I'd stand up to recover and get knocked down again. I couldn't seem to make it more than a few meters in.

We gave up for a while and had some lunch, but I was determined to at least catch a few waves before calling it a day. So after lunch, Gary and I headed back to the water together with our boards. Gary made it past the first few waves, but we were both frustrated that I just couldn't make it out. I was swimming as hard as I could, but I seemed to be staying in one place. Eventually we kind of parted ways, Gary was further down the beach from me. I figured it was because he was swimming away because as far as I could tell, I wasn't moving. But the truth was that I was being swept along the shore by a pretty strong ocean current.

Getting caught in a current is pretty scary to say the least. I suppose that if I had been paying attention to landmarks, I would have realised that I was a quickly moving along and I could have walked back to shore. I didn't pay attention though, and before I knew it I was getting further and further away from the shoreline. I tried to swim back to shore, but I was being sucked out.

I realised pretty quickly that I was in a rip tide...I had been warned about them before. I know that if you ever get sucked out into the ocean, it's pointless to try to swim in against the current. I was told to swim along the shoreline until you can get out of the current and then swim in. Well, what the people don't tell you is that you have to swim the right direction. It seemed like the current was moving along the shore and sweeping out. As I tried to swim to the side, I think I was swimming into the sideways current and being sucked further and further out to sea.

By this point I was terrified, and I'll admit I was even crying. All this happened in only a few minutes, but it really felt like a long time and I was worried that if I got too far out to sea, it might be a while before Gary realised I was in trouble and people came looking for me. I imagined the movie Castaway, but I wasn't sure how long I'd survive without water....if I'd even make it to an island.

Well, I was waving frantically, hoping Gary would look in my direction. Between the waves, I could see him on the shore walking away from me. I was really upset because here I was about to be lost at sea and Gary was just walking away. The surfers all hang out further out from the shore waiting for a big wave. I was out past most of the surfers, but not all of them. I knew if I got out past them all, I was doomed.

Just then, I heard one of them yell "OH YEAH!!" in a really loud, excited voice. I looked back and a giant wave was heading my direction. I swam as hard as I could trying to get onto it, knowing that this could be my ticket in. Well, I didn't get onto it, but it did push me in the right direction and I was able to catch all of the waves back in.

And that's how I almost died.

I have since forgiven the ocean, although somewhat reluctantly. Gary wanted to go back the very next day for a swim, but I was still too upset to go. I told him I'd stay on the shore and watch him. As soon as I got there though, it looked so beautiful so I decided I'd give the ocean another chance.

You'd better not dissapoint me again, Ocean.


Bob Milner said...

Here's my suggestion. Never go into the water without a flotation device such as a body board, and have it fastened to you so you never have to worry about it getting away. If it's smart to wear a life jacket in a boat, it must be twice as smart to have one when you're in the water.Also,get swim fins. You can't body-board properly without swim fins anyway. And if you had fins you could have swum out of there even against the current if you didn't have to go too far---maybe.

Bob Milner said...

Oh yes, and please except my heart-felt sympathy.

Jeff Milner said...

I'm pretty sure judging by the pictures, and the comments that Gary and Tracey have made, they have fins.

Jon said...

Glad you survived.

As I grew up in the peninsular state off Florida and nearly got swept out and died about 3 times, I know exactly how you feel.

The ocean sucks.

Let alone can you drown, it will also send things to eat or sting you.

Bob Milner said...

As Jeff said, you and Gary probably have both fins and boards. I see from the picture that Gary had a board when the picture was taken. So the question is---did you, or did you not have fins and a body board at the time of the incident? If you did, it seems to me your worst worry would be missing lunch.Or maybe "being" lunch.

Tracie said...

I had a board (which was tied to me) and fins.

I swam as hard as I could. The ocean is way bigger and way stronger.

J-P and Mary Ann said...

Quite the harrowing escape. Glad you are safe. Hard to imagine Gary heartlessly walking away from you.

We sure have enjoyed all the photos of you trip. It looks like quite the amazing adventure.

Be safe.