“You’ve lived near the beach for years and never went in the ocean?” my husband Ed said. “You’re going in today, honey.” At our age, I guess it’s now or never. As we drove along the California coast, I decided he was right. I’d finally do it. After all, he had researched all the beaches around San Diego, and we were headed for the best one there, or so he said. With its sandy shoreline and calm, warm waters, he promised it would be perfect for non-swimmers like me. It was finally my time to take the plunge.
We parked in what appeared to be a downtown area high above the ocean, but the sandy beach was nowhere in sight, despite the GPS assuring us that we had arrived at our destination. However, a lifeguard tower was nearby, and we saw people in wet suits headed to a stairway. I was excited to follow them down until I arrived at the bottom and realized there was no beach — the stairway only led to waist-high water. My husband asked someone nearby to help me enter the water while he carefully placed our towels on a high step.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, huge waves blew in at record speed, grabbed me from behind, and threw me into the sea. The man holding my hand saved me from going out with the current, but the next wave landed me in dense sand, face down, and under the water. Two more waves hit and tossed me around before my husband and the bystander managed to pull me up as I gagged and spit out mouthfuls of salty water.
A lifeguard above had spotted me, too, and immediately came to my rescue. He carried me up the stairs (I liked that part!) where he checked me for injuries and bandaged a cut on my foot — I don’t know how I got it. The handsome young man tried to brush off the sand that covered me and my brand new, red bathing suit which I had been saving for this vacation. I had sand in my eyes, between my toes, in my hair, and caked on my face. Then he gave us some advice for the “next time.” He told us that this part of the beach had currents that crossed each other at high tide or noon (when we were there), and only experts dared to swim at those times. Somehow my husband’s research omitted that fact, and the sandy beach was miles away.
The towels we had brought were just as wet and sandy as I was, so I sat on an empty garbage bag for the drive back. Two showers later I had enough sand to form a castle in the corner.
The bathing suit and I eventually recovered. Sure, I was gritty and shaken up for a while, but it was nothing that a big, hot fudge sundae couldn’t cure.
I took the plunge for sure, but the next trip I make to the ocean will be on board a cruise ship.