Thursday, 22 November 2007
A few weeks ago I went out for my morning walk with my colleague Wendy. She had been hankering for days to walk on the beach and the idea was cool to me too, so we took our rubber dinghy and drove to the closest beach near the shipyard which is Woodman's point.
We beached the dinghy and started walking, we reached the end of the beach in abt half an hour and turned back, after walking 10 minutes I saw a boat and wondered whether it is our boat, to our relief it wasn't. Just a local angler. Another 10 minutes of walking and we saw another boat floating around and, I'll be damned, it was ours.
After a short deliberation with Wendy I stripped to my budgie smugglers and started swimming for the dinghy, it wasn't far, maybe 300meters away. As I was swimming the boat floated further away because the wind was from shore. I swam and I swam and then I realized I was not going to catch the dinghy and also saw that if I don't turn back I won't make it either.
I turned back there and then. I must've been out 300-400 meters, by this time I was stating to get short of breath. I swam towards shore and I was running out of energy, more and more. I tried swimming on my back to conserve energy but as I had no pointers to aim for I was afraid of swimming in circles so I turned on my belly and continued in a half frog style. I was panting and my body was burning of acid in the muscles, I was getting fatigued. I was maybe 50 meters from shore and I shouted for Wendy to help me. She was just talking on her mobile phone. I thought that I'll be damned if I drown here so close to shore so I bit my teeth together for a last effort and swam some more, everything was pure agony. I was trying to get bottom touch now and then and abt 7meters from shore I could finally stand and stagger ashore.
Wendy had called the ship to come and get us and the dinghy, what an embarrassment. I was sitting on the beach just panting, my heart was pounding like a rabbit on speed, I thought I was going to faint. Eventually I calmed down and I told Wendy that Mats, the Captain, would be very pissed at me if I drowned today as he would then have to postpone his vacation (he was flying this very day). Wendy told me off that how could I think of such things when I had nearly become a casualty.
After awhile the Captain came with our car and Wendy told me to act half dead as she had said on the phone I was having a cardiac arrest :) . Oh well, I guess I'm not an actor but Mats saw that I was dead tired. Our deckboys had lowered the rescue boat and they went to recover the dinghy, which by now was a few kilometers away. We all went back to the ship, but Mats made me go to the local hospital to check out my heart (that's an order!). I went and the Doc's verdict was that I was fit as a fiddle.
In the end I can just imagine that death by drowning must be the most horrible experience one can have (not to say the last). Picture shipwrecked people in the middle of the Ocean with nowhere to go, just mile after mile watery expanse. Nothing to grab for, maybe not even a lifejacket. The thought makes me shudder...