It’s Okay, I Ran In Slow Motion

So my vacation is wrapping up – sadly – and yesterday was likely our last day at the beach. It’s supposed to rain on and off all day, so we stayed in the water yesterday until nearly 7pm. Kevin and Julia spent the day on their boogie boards, and I stayed close by because the waves were rough as the tide came in.

At one point, I noticed a husband, wife, and their teenage daughter – she looked about Kyle’s age – floating in the surf in a raft. The family was sitting near us a few days ago, and they were speaking both English and Arabic. They seemed nice enough, and weren’t a bother, plus the daughter was really pretty.

The raft came closer toward where the kids were swimming, and I saw the husband rowing, the wife resting, and the daughter lying back and sunning herself. The raft was headed north/south but the waves were headed east/west. Did I mention the waves were rough?

I’m watching the raft, expecting something bad to happen, and see the daughter turn to her father with her mouth agape. It was as if she wanted to scream, “Look out!” but was paralyzed by fear. The wave was probably a good six or seven feet high, the family was in a small raft, and when the two collided, it was ugly.

The raft flipped violently, the three people flipped out quickly, and all three slammed onto the ocean bottom. They were only about ten yards from the beach.

As I watched it happen, I thought, “Sh*t, I’m going to have to help.” I was the closest adult – and I use that word loosely – and when I saw them tip over, I thought we were going to need rescue.

I ran to the raft, which washed up on the shore, flipped it upright and moved it a few yards from the water. I then checked on dad, who, while woozy, said he was okay. The teenager was in obvious pain, but she seemed like she was able to stand and walk. Mom was another story.

Mom was still on her knees, trying to get her bearings. Husband and daughter were busy getting reoriented so I yelled to her, “Are you okay?” She lifted her head and nodded, but she wasn’t okay. Eventually dad and daughter were steady enough to get moving, and they helped mom back to their beach canopy. I asked again if I could help them, but dad brushed me off. The lifeguards were already gone, so I suggested they take mom to the hospital, just in case.

The dad thanked me and led his family away. I don’t blame his for the capsized raft, but to be brutally honest, none of the three were paying attention to the surf. The incident could have ended very poorly.

6 thoughts on “It’s Okay, I Ran In Slow Motion

  1. At least you got a thank you. I was a lifeguard in high school and I don’t think people realize you can never let your guard down when you’re in or on the water.


  2. I’ve pulled a few novice divers back to the boat when I was still an active instructor. I never had one that didn’t thank me. Most of them were in no real danger. I suspect they were just a bit lazy and took advantage of a free tow to the boat.

    I did one rescue that I will never forget. I wrote a short article for a dive magazine describing it. In a nutshell, don’t go scuba diving hungover, with a greasy breakfast in your belly, and totally out of shape. And don’t kick and grab at the person trying to help you to the surface. They may not be as forgiving as I was that day.

    I rescued the idiot, but avoided him for the rest of the day.


  3. Good job. I think in today’s world, people are leery of getting help from anyone or helping someone. That’s sad. Lucky for them somebody that cared was there to help.


  4. Back when I was a kid, we used to go camping & fishing at both Clear Lake & Lake Barryessa (stopped going to the 2nd one when the Zodiac Killer made it one of his hunting grounds…yeah, I’m getting kinda o-l-d). Any way, my then step father saw someone drowning & went out to try to help him. Had to punch the idiot so he wouldn’t drag his rescuer under & drown him, too. Yeah, he got the dumb fool out of the water.


  5. Ronni – Mrs. Earp spent her formative years on the swim team and was a lifeguard at a local swim club. She never liked it when I splashed her with water while on duty.

    TX Nick – Probably a good idea.

    RG – They were at the beach today, but there was no sign of the raft. Also didn’t see mom, but I saw dad and bikini teen.

    MelP – Yeah, I’m a good swimmer – we had a pool growing up – but I’m always nervous about trying to go after a drowning victim. I keep thinking he/she will pull me down with her.

    Ingineer – Just got home – I have to work Friday evening – and the family won’t be home until late Friday. I worry every second the kids are in the water. I think drowning, sharks, undertow, you name it.


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