Monthly Archives: October 2022

On Tides

October 20, 2022

I was reminded abut this little incident from the summer of 2019 recently….something of a long story.

Today, we all took a trip to the beach. We arrived at Burleigh Heads in the later afternoon. The babes and Becks were all enjoying their usual spot. Ahead of them was some pretty horrific surf and a pronounced rip, coiling out past where the beach meets the headland. I was walking down to see them and, as I approached, I could see two young girls swimming just about 20 metres ahead of them in the relative shallows. As I got closer, I started to notice one of the girls was moving very quickly away from the other girl, towards the open ocean. Suddenly, her friend turned around and had a look of complete terror; it was clear her friend was caught in the rip and was being sucked away from shore.

At this point, I ran into the ocean (and you have to picture it…sunglasses, Stetson and all; hey, I’m sun smart!) and started to swim out to the girl. She was moving very quickly now. I could feel the intensity of the rip around me. When I caught glimpses of her, I could see her screaming, but I couldn’t hear her calls over the thumping and fizz of the waves. As I got closer, I could see her slipping under the water more often and when I was about five metres away from her a wave crashed right on her and in that moment I lost sight of her.

The waves were getting stronger and I had swum to right near where she was and at that moment I could see her arm in the froth of the post-wave water. I reached out and grabbed it and pulled her out from below. Her eyes were all red, she was terrified and desperate in a way that we all perhaps become in moments the grave danger. I wrapped my arm around her and started to swim back to the beach. In my swimming out to sea, both my hat and sunglasses had been washed off me.

As we got closer to the shore, I said to her not to worry and she was safe now, just as I was saying that, my hat literally floated up to me, sucked back towards us by the rip and I was able to put it back on my head as we swam in. By this stage her mother, and I am guessing her aunt and cousins, had all gathered in the shallows watching her and this strange person bringing her back from the depths. Her mother wore an expression every parent wants to avoid, that panic of nearly losing their child. She was crying as I reunited them, as was the young girl and her friend with whom she’d been swimming. The mother, I’m guessing who was a tourist on holidays, quietly thanked me and they all went off to take a moment together….

It was a lucky outcome; a true example of how complex and random life can be. To think of the chance of her choosing to swim just there and the chance of me arriving at that point… both of these situations were completely down to numerous incidental decisions made throughout the day; pure randomness and a testament to the limitless complexity and unpredictability of being.

The only tragedy from today though is that from now on, every birthday and significant life milestone this poor young women celebrates, she will likely have the relive the tale of that time the Aussie Cowboy Goth rescued her from drowning in the ocean.

2019 is going to be a year, of that I am sure.

Be safe folks…and thanks to the ever present Churaki, an ancestor who still watches over us all along the coast!

(Here is the last photo of my sunnies and my ’non-saltwater version’ stetson)