Today is the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. But there’s not much going on out there now. The water is very cold. I went out to the beach for awhile and tried a few forays into the waves because no one else was swimming and I wanted to make a statement.
But there are just a few people left now that the holiday is over and they didn’t care very much. There was one guy out there with his little girl in knee deep water and they were both looking inland when a six foot wave hit them. Fortunately the little girl was not hurt. She was still bouncing up and down but now she was doing it much nearer the shore in five inch deep water. I guess that’s what they call a “sneaker wave”. It amazes me sometimes when I see parents in and around waves with their kids.
I can remember grabbing children on different occasions who were about to set sail while their parents were preoccupied.
Rip currents are bad news too. But they are not a problem if understood and handled properly. Just float on out beyond the waves and then swim sideways. Sometimes they do move diagonally so you may have to change directions and swim in the other direction parallel to the beach. Here’s a good example of how understand and trusting nature can save your life.
Mother Nature is taking us for a little ride! Oh the water feels so good and we are on an adventure. And it’s so easy to float in the ocean isn’t it? So many folks are not prepared for this because we are not really connected to nature very much anymore. There’s a lot to learn on just one little vacation.
But leaving your four year old son to play in the waves while you talk to Momma back on the blanket is just asking for trouble. I was watching this a couple of days ago when the wind was blowing and the waves were crashing onto the shore. I was trying to figure out how fast I could get my aging and overweight frame out of the chair and down there if he fell or was knocked sideways. Fortunately the little guy stayed out of harm’s way just like the little girl who was tumbled by the wave.
It was already about 4 p.m. when they got to the beach. When they checked in at the rental agency, Sandee said nobody mentioned that there were red flags on the beach — or that they meant “Dangerous Conditions — Swimming Prohibited.”
The surf was up — unusual, but not a rare thing for Grayton Beach. Larry, Sandee, and their children Ryan, 12, and Krysta, 9, saw the red flag as soon as they arrived.
“The sign next to the red flag said it meant ‘dangerous currents, like rip tides,’ but it did not say these currents could or would occur at the shoreline,” Sandee tells WebMD. “I saw a sheriff’s deputy on the beach while we were there, but he drove through the crowd, with no warnings. Families like mine played in the surf all day. Dozens were in danger.”
Sandee and the kids waded in the water — she about ankle deep, the kids in only up to their knees. Ryan played with a “boogie board” in the shallow water inside the sandbar. At about 6 p.m., Sandee told Larry she’d take over dinner duties. She went inside the rental house. The kids kept on wading.
“Ten minutes later the kids came screeching in the door saying that Ryan was stuck in the water and Daddy went in after them and couldn’t get out,” Sandee says.
“I ran to the beach. As I was running down the boardwalk, there was a helicopter coming in. The sheriff’s people were just coming up. They put on life vests and waded in. I waded in after them. I saw people in the water trying to get a man out. I think, ‘Oh my God, it’s Larry.’ Then I see another man floating in the water.
“It just seemed to go on forever. At one point I just screamed to the heavens, but mostly I just stood there in the water, praying. I saw a man brought in with red trunks and they started working on him. Then I saw another man out there floating face down, and I knew. It was Larry. Larry was dead.”
It only takes a moment to lose everything. Ocean waves are special in so many ways. The sound they make is so relaxing. I can hear them now as I type this and see them down below as they caress the beach.
We should love them and understand their unpredictable power as well.