When I was 12, I almost drowned in a rip, off Coffs Harbour. Seven of us were caught in the rip and fortunately all survived. My father was with me, a bronze medallion swimmer, but unfortunately unaware of how to deal with a rip. We were rescued by some local boys who were wagging school. Bless them.
The feeling of being under a huge amount of water and not know which way is up has stayed with me all these years. Surfacing and seeing the once close shore far off in the distance remains like a photograph in my memory.
I remember what Dad said to me when we were so far out, with no idea of how, or if, we would get back to the beach.
“Swim when you can. Roll over and float on your back when you need to rest.”
Not a bad mantra in difficult times.