Sunday, November 20, 2005

The day I learnt my lesson about the sea...

So we got to the beach. By the time we had got there, although still drunk, the hangover was already begining to materialise. The only guy renting beds down there that early had an arsenal shirt on so we instantly became friends and he set us up with some nice beds and a brolly. Managed to get an hours or so shut eye and then went for a walk and swim in the sea. With the time being now about 10am I felt rough - and when sheeba (sheebu, sheevba, sheevbu??) asked me and neil if we fancied "some juice" we gladly accepted. It turns out that by "juice" he meant pint of lager.

After taking a few sips and then discretely tipping the rest away we went up for a bite to eat followed by another snooze. Kim from the UK office was over and her and suzie joined us at the beach and politely woke me up by shouting in my ear. Needing to blow a few cobwebs out my head I thought i'd go boarding for an hour or so, the weather was warm, the sun was beginning to go down and the waves looked amazing. It was here that the real fun began.

If you look around on the net about kovalum, you'll find stories about how nice the beach is and how good the waves are. There are surfing websites that recognise kovalum as a good place to go surf. You'll also find horror stories about "the vicious rip tide at kovalum" that not only is very dangerous but also has claimed a few lives over the years. I had of course felt the rip tide before, and it is strong (once getting dragged out a little too deep without a board, worrying,) , but never had been proper caught out by it until today.

It all started out normal enough - the waves were good and the water was really warm as usual. I went out a bit further and caught a massive wave which was so fast, after I had wiped out I wanted to get out further again and catch another one. Swimming out a bit deeper, missing a few waves....waiting for a big one.....that never came. Before I knew it, I was about 50 meteres BEHIND where the big waves were crashing and I was going the wrong way, and by the wrong way I mean I was on my way to africa.

Realising that I was now potentially in a 'spot of bother' I tried waving to neil back on the shore that I was infact still out here and I would possibly need some help getting back in. I wasnt too worried at this point because at least I had a board to keep me afloat, I didnt have to tread water and I wasnt going to sink. But that wasnt making me feel any better with regards to getting back to the shore, I could feel myself being dragged further back. I began paddling forward the best I could and was making a little bit of progress, I wasnt really going back any further now but I wasnt getting any closer to the shore either and i was a fair way out. 10 minutes later I was making better progress but by this time two blokes who sit with the lifeguards had been sent out from the shore to come and help me! There were worried faces on the beach, particuarly kim and suzie who, as neil told me when I got back, "thought they had lost me forever" - slightly worrying too much but hey. Neil had been pretty cool and not worried about me, but I think that was down to the fact that he didnt have his glasses on and couldnt actually see me...

Anyway, I ended up catching a monster of a wave in and returned to safety, tired and a bit relieved. I was talking to arsenal shirt guy after I'd got out of the sea and he was the one that had called the lads in to go and help me. He said that he'd been caught by that rip tide himself twice before and it had scared him a bit, he doesnt go out swimming there much now. It definately taught me a good lesson and I wont be going out that far again but looking back it was a positive experience and a good story to tell.


Anonymous Mum said...

Now do you realise why I worry about you sometimes? Nuff said! Mx

November 21, 2005 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

james...I know just how you felt mate! The Watergate Bay undertow can be pretty hefty! Matt

November 21, 2005 7:15 PM  
Blogger Naff_Nuder said...

i bet you're glad now that you past your 5 meters swimming test at the old gaol......i knew mum would be the first to comment on this one. 'what carol, what did you know was going to happen?'

November 22, 2005 1:40 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

You should have gone to the Didcot wave more often, then you would have been prepared!

December 01, 2005 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really amazing! Useful information. All the best.

July 22, 2006 8:07 AM  

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