DAY FIFTY-SEVEN

Today did NOT end up being a chill day, in fact today was one of the most frightening days of my life. And just like yesterday it started chill enough. We ate, played piano, had pb & j sandwiches, and relaxed. Then to carry on with our chill day, we decided to head down to the Waimarama Beach. This beach was just a picture perfect white sand blue water beach, and after lying in the sun, we went for a splash in the ocean. 

What we didn't realize though was that the area we were swimming in, was NOT for swimming, it was only for boats or surfers simply because of the extremely strong riptides, and rocks in that area. And I mean there was NO ONE else swimming which should have tipped us off but we just weren't thinking. For the first ten minutes, it was glorious being in the clear crisp water, playing in the waves. I remember going deeper and deeper till I was just barely standing, then all of a sudden I realized my swimsuit top had come undone, so I spent about a minute trying (and failing) to do it back up. Then next minute, all I could remember was being way out of my depth, way out from where my friends were, and uncomfortably close to all the rocks. But as hard as I tried I couldn't swim away from them because of the crazy strong cross current. My friends were now shouting at me to get my ass over to where they were, and I was beginning to hear the fear creep into their tone which scared me even more. Another minute passed, and I felt like even though I was swimming with everything I had in me, I was just moving closer and closer towards the rocks. By now, I was starting to freak out, I was swallowing in mouthfuls of water, becoming exhausted, and starting to panic. It was such a helpless feeling to be just dominated by the waves, and have no power or control over where you wanted to go. The ocean was just sweeping me up and away, farther and farther out. But then before I knew it, my friends were treading water beside me, they had swum out to try to help me, but they soon realized that they could barely keep afloat as well. They were trying to pull me with them, but the current was just too strong for them too. After a few futile attempts Griff let go and swam towards the rocks slowly, and was able to since he was now going with the current. And after he got there, he climbed onto the rock and started jumping up and down screaming for help. Simultaneously my friend Biggi had his arms around me and was holding me with one arm while trying to swim with the other. I can't even describe the relief that crept over me when I felt his arm around me. Even though we were struggling like crazy, I could feel his strength keeping me afloat and keeping us from going further out. Even though we weren't able to swim away from the rocks towards the shore, at least I wasn't going further out. By that time Griff had reached the rock and was now directing us to swim towards him, and so we rerouted and started to slowly paddle towards him. Although it was probably just a few minutes, it felt like hours that we were out in the sea being thrashed and thrown about while guzzling down water. It's hard for me to illustrate the situation, I almost feel like you had to be there to see the panic in my eyes, the fear in my breath, and the panic in the air. I was only able to remain semi calm because of my friends, one physically guiding me, and the other encouraging me. By the time we reached the rock I was shaking, and only then realized that a beautiful soul had seen us from his car, thrown on swimming trunks, and ran in to help. He guided me across the slippery, coral covered rocks to where the water was shallow enough to stand. But even then, the wind was SO strong, and the current was crazy fierce that if he hadn't been holding my arm, I probably would have been swept away again. When we finally reached the shore I just in shock. I couldn't really process what had just happened, how close we had come to being absolutely and totally fucked. How close I had come to drowning. How grateful I was to my friends and the good Samaritan. How lucky I was to have escaped anything more severe than an upset stomach and headache from the sea water. What a HECTIC, exhausting, emotional day. I'm still reeling over everything that happened. This trip just continues to teach me, to humble me, and to fill me with gratitude. LIFE. AH.