SWIMMING LESSONS

O.K….let me be honest with you.  It will help you enjoy this story much better.  I do not like the ocean.    Well, I like to look at it.  I like to sit next to it.  I like to smell it.  I like to hear it.  I like the way it moves.  BUT….I do not like it to touch me……not even one little bit.  I don’t like to be in it because there are other things in there too and I do not know where they are or what they will do or if they like me and want to touch me or if they don’t like me and  don’t choose to ignore my presence.

If there is a time that I NEED to be in the ocean….I can do it.  I used to get in with my children when we would visit the beach for vacations.  One rule:  Mom’s head does NOT go under the water.!!!!!!  They did pretty good, and I went in with them enough to get good marks in the ‘mother of boys’ department.  But since they got to the age where it was akin to public humiliation to be seen with your mother…..no more time in the ocean for me.  Which suits me fine!

Now you know of my love for Maui…I’ve talked about it enough.  But, all the times I’ve been there I have never gotten in the ocean.  Which was causing me no grief  because I never wanted to.  It was enough to be near it and watch it.  Besides I had always heard that you could not trust the currents and tides and such. ..especially there.   Once, while visiting there, I went out to lay in the sun for a while.  I placed my towel and other stuff far enough away from the waves breaking on the shore.  I watched the water for a while and then lay down to soak up some rays.  That was when it was still considered OK to lay out in the sun.   After about 10 minutes, I was surrounded by a foot of ocean water all around me.  All my things were floating away.  Water was everywhere.  It wasn’t a wave…it was the tide.  And, it was coming in fast.  I gathered what I could and high-tailed it (literally) to higher ground.  I learned a quick lesson then….DO NOT TRUST THE OCEAN IN HAWAII!  And, by the time I was ready to drive away…it was about 3 feet deep!  Scary!  And no sign to say BEWARE!  YOU CAN DROWN ON THE SAND!!!!!

ANYWAY…Patty is a swimmer…and a very good swimmer.  And, she loves to be in the water.  So the first chance she got…she was IN the ocean.  I tried not to think about it.  Now Joy likes the water as well, and is a good swimmer.  So the next day, she went with Patty.  And, they got all sorts of pictures of each other in the Maui waters.  They flaunted them in my face.  Really, I was not jealous in the least.  Besides, I had not brought a swim suit. I had no intention of needing one.   No matter….they put in for me to get in the water so we could all have a picture of us in the ocean.    While at a local shopping mall, I was making a purchase, and   when I finished paying, Patty was waiting for me.  She went in several stores and finally found a suit…ON SALE.  I tried it on and it fit.  As well as it could, I suppose.  And, plans were made for me to get into the ocean…just for a picture.  And, being the good sport that I am, I agreed.

Oh, I got a cover up and I got a hat and sunglasses, and I got ready to go.  And, I went.  And therein lies the story. 

I learned long ago, that you should never allow yourself to be talked in to something you are not comfortable with.  Things will not go as planned……bad things will  happen……and happiness will not be the result.  Oh…and you will regret your decision.  But, I digress.

*****BTW*****I’m sure you will understand if this little post doesn’t include many pictures.  Another thing I learned a long time ago…some things are better left unseen !

Just so you will know this is a true story…..here’s evidence!  Yes, I do know it’s quite far away…do you blame me???

Patty and Joy are already on the beach, and they can hardly contain their enjoyment of seeing me in a very uncomfortable place.   They were jumping up and down and turning flips and whooping hollering like little children!   But, I said I was goint to get in and I was!  I placed all my things down and took off my cover up.  Why did I leave my hat on, you say?  Because I had no intention of any harm coming to it…nor of it getting wet.  Because, only the bottom half of me was going to be submerged.  Yeah right!

This picture is taken while I am only in water up to my ankles.  Notice I am still smiling! 

Patty and Joy are on the beach saying, “Go further out!”…  Patty was taking pics and Joy came down to the water.  Anyway, I went out a little ways more.  “Just a little more!” they said.  And, soon I was up to my tummy.  Oh, the water did feel good, too!  And, I was standing there, feeling all Hawaiian Beach Babe , loving on nature, and thinking how proud I was of me.    And, what a great friend and sister I was to indulge my friends this way!  What a delightful little fairy tale I stepped into for a moment.  But, the next place I stepped was not so pleasant!

The undertow was fierce and I could tell I was being pushed and pulled strongly by it.  “Time to put a ‘happily-ever-after’ to this fairy tale…and get on out of here,” I thought.  I knew I was pushing my luck.  So, I took a step toward the shore, and immediately got pushed backward.  I tried to regain my balance, but the ocean floor was not in the same place!  It dropped away…and I could not find a bottom to touch!  So, I started swimming toward shore.  At least it’s what I like to call swimming! :).  I have always known I could swim if I had to and nobody believed me…but they saw that day!

Where, Oh, where was this sign?

Notice that even through this turmoil, I managed to keep my hat on my head.  Patty is still making pictures!!!  I swam up to where I could stand up…but something went horribly wrong.  I just couldn’t stand up.  Joy tried to help me…however she was laughing mighty hard, so she probably wasn’t giving her best effort! 

 I managed to make it to my feet , but somehow I got knocked down by another wave.  And, even though I hate to admit it…this was in 2 feet of water!  Anyway, I ended up on the ocean floor. …completely lying in the surf.     And, the next thing I know…I was being rolled…ROLLED, PEOPLE…3…I tell you…THREE…TIMES!!!!! Everything I had was full of sand.  My mouth, and lungs, and head were full of water…not to mention my eyes and nose!     I was completely disoriented.  AND…I could not get up and out of that water.   And, my hat was gone, too.

I was begging Joy to help me…but, obviously she found this little unfortunate incidence to be a mite funnier than before!    And the only thing I saw of Patty was a camera where her face should be.  OH, yes.  I could tell she was laughing too, even as near to drowning as I was. 

Thankfully, there was a hero on the beach with his wife.  He had the good sense to tell that I was really in trouble and rushed to help me.  He helped me stand up and he walked me onto shore.  I thanked him and thanked him and thanked him again.   His wife and Patty were having themselves a good, old time at my expense.  His wife said to Patty, “I’m sorry to laughing at your friend, but that was the funniest thing I have ever seen!””  OH REALLY?  Then she said, “This should be sent in to Funniest Home Videos!  It would win!”   I started to take that little tanned , skinny girl in a bright white bikini and tell her a thing or two. 

 But, actually…I didn’t have any fight left in me.  I was winded.  I needed to sit down.  I needed to cry.  I needed someone to hug me and say, “Are you sure you are all right?  Is there anything I can get you?  I was so scared for you.  Are you sure you’re OK?”  But, all is heard was laughter…..on either side of me and behind me.  It was not a good day to be in the ocean in Maui…or on the beach, either! 

I learned many lessons that day.

Good friends can turn mean in a hurry!*****So can sisters!*****Never back into the ocean!*****Sometimes people with cameras in their hands don’t have many brains in their head!*****Sometimes people who get their scalp blistered on their first day in Hawaii get their brains blistered as well!*****Never go swimming anywhere that doesn’t have at least one hero close by.*****Don’t count on your family or good friends to be your hero!*****

And, now I post here the two bathing beauties who laughed when they should have been helping!

So, in case any of you are planning a trip to the beautiful islands of Maui, stay out of the ocean.  Especially if you have friends or family with you!!!

Now, all kidding aside.  I really was in trouble in the water.  The undertow was so strong, and the force of the wave churning, coupled with my weak legs could have been a bad situation.  Of course, I would never have been in the ocean alone.  But, it was so deceiving. I would never have thought I could not walk out of an ocean.   Please be careful when you swim.  I truly don’t know what would have happened if I had not had the help of the man on the beach.  Joy was trying to help, but she was not strong enough.  And, Patty would have been there in a second once she realized I was in trouble.  Hawaiian waters are notorious for changing tide patterns and undertows, and riptides and such.  I will enjoy it again….but only from a distance.  No matter what my companions say!

ONE MORE THING…..

Isn’t this the strangest drowning sign you have ever seen?  It was in use for only a short time before being discarded for obvious reasons. 

 Do you see it?  LOL …. is a head with 2 raised arms on either side!

I wonder if Joy and Patty had anything to do with that?

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4 Comments

  1. I almost drowned in the Gulf as a child, so I'm very careful near the water. With all going on, it looks like y'all managed to have a good time!

  2. Oh, Tonja, bless your heart! I, too, like the ocean from a distance and can't stand to even get my feet wet. And to be honest, I don't even like the SAND. There are all kinds of little "creepy-crawlies" in and amongst it … and I always seem to step on them. Not to mention it's gritty and is impossible to get off without getting in a shower.

    I'm so glad your "hero" saved you … and your story had a happy ending (if you can call nearly drowning and being pulled out "to sea," happy. I have to admit that I laughed as I read it, but that was because I knew you were okay or you wouldn't have been sharing the story with us … lol I promise I wouldn't have laughed if I had been there, because I've had panic attacks when waves just lapped up on my ankles!

    I loved the pictures and that sign is priceless!

  3. No laughing here. I can so totally relate. I was in Jamaica as a teenager with a music group. We were having fun at a beach, and I was too proud to let anyone know I was scared to death of the rough waves. We all held hands in a long line, jumping the waves until a huge one came and knocked us apart. I was pulled down and away from the beach, didn't even know how to swim. I don't even remember if I got back by myself or if one of my friends was a hero, but I do know I thought I would drown. Unfortunately, I have never had enough courage since then to take swim lessons.

    I'm so thankful your story has a good ending.

  4. Tonja, what a story. I can't believe that happened to you. You were being so sweet to join them for a picture and you could have lost your life. I am so glad you are okay. Thank you for the lesson learned. I'm not crazy about the ocean either but I have gone in a few times.

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