Rick and Cheri...
So glad that things turned out the way they did for you guys. A scary experience no doubt. God's way of reminding us how small we are!
I had a near-drowning experience in the summer of 1999 in Pensacola, Fl. before I moved to Belize.
I had lived in Pensacola all my life and spent time at the beach every summer. I worked the emergency rooms in Pensacola for many years and near-drowning cases were frequent every summer. I used to say...."These tourist tourist come down here every year and don't understand about our undertow....get out too far and then get in trouble."
Well.....after all the years of being in the water.....I got in an undertow situation.
I can honestly say now...that it can happen to anyone. Certain areas are washouts where the waves run into sandbars. If you get into one of these and your feet don't touch bottom...you are in trouble. Problem is.....it all happens so fast...that by the time you realize you are in trouble....it's already too late unless you are a good swimmer and physically fit.
I knew how to get out of it....it had been drilled into my head for years..."Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of it and then come in"....like a broken record.
That's great advice unless you're too tired to swim.
I was about 2 seconds from going under....and scared as hell....I couldn't breath b/c I was so scared and had hyperventilated....air was trapped in my lungs. I finally got the attention of someone with me and we just locked fingertips.....a big wave came in and he pulled me in far enough for my tiptoes to reach bottom.
I got into shore....but it took a good hour and some controlled breathing techniques for me to recover.
In hind sight, what stuck in my mind the most....is how fast it all happened...and how small I felt.
Water is a powerful thing...and I have a whole new respect for it. I felt an inch tall out there in that big ocean...and knew there was no way I would win on my own account. It obviously was not my time to go.
Call it fate, Divine intervention...whatever. Some survive and some don't. I figured my number wasn't up.
I now know without a doubt what my limitations are and I never put myself in a situation where that would ever happen again. Safety in the water is my first thought....and if I don't feel safe...I get my ass out! No matter who I'm with. I have the knowledge to know what I am supposed to do...and that is what I do.
My first dive in Belize was very scary. I made arrangements to go by myself with Tulu from Coral Beach Dive Shop. Didn't want to go with a group...was afraid I would panic and ruin their trip. He took me...and we did a very slow controlled dive. Plan was to enter the water...go straight to the rope.....and chill. Get my gear situated....control my breathing..and just relax....with the safety of the rope.
In about 3 minutes...I was fine.....and we had a wonderful dive. Seventy-five ft. for 58 minutes.....and still had 600psi left when I came up....not bad for a nervous old woman...LOL
After that...I was fine....but I will never look at water the same again....it is THE BOSS!
[This message has been edited by Sandshaker (edited 08-17-2001).]