Sunday, December 21, 2008

Only Two Shark Attacks!

South African Journal: Day Eleven – Today was a beach day. We rented two surfboards from the Wooden Spoon at Beach #2 for 50 Rand each (US$5.00) and they threw in a decent Boogie board for free. The guy who rented it said there were only two shark attacks in the last three years and only the last one ended in a death. It was less than a year ago that they only found the two chewed up bloody fins of a life guard, no body. They guessed it was a tiger shark.

So the guy renting us the boards felt we had good odds of living. From the sharks at least. Miles and I are not exactly known for our surfing skills, though you have to admit we look like we know what we are doing in these pictures. And Thea, well, let me start from the beginning.

Cows don't surf

First of all, we are all strong swimmers and in pretty good shape for folk our age. Miles has hardly surfed and my skills are bad at best, though I can usually stand on a long enough board. Though the waves were not that powerful, a four to five foot face is still intimidating. So Miles and I rode the ripe tide out beyond break and paddled into the zone.

They may not know what they're doing but they sure look good

Meanwhile, Thea got caught in the rip and couldn't get out. If she didn't have the boogie board, she said she could have swam out of the current that was dragging her toward India, but with the Styrofoam board she couldn't escape. So the lifeguards blew their whistles and three of the four of them paddled out to get her (or as Thea put it, “I was tired but saw three buff guys coming toward me). The yellow capped water crusaders threw a flotation can to my little sis and brought her in. They showed her where the rip current was and suggested she stay clear of it.

Miles and I were enjoying the warm water and floated over a few sets before we tried out our luck. As I said, the waves were weak so we had to kick as well as paddle in our attempts. I finally caught a decent wave, stood for what seemed like only seconds before I bailed. I forgot to mention that we didn't have leashes, so my board shot out toward the beach.

Thea had caught her breath just as she saw me get separated from my board. Being the good sister that she is, she jumped back into the water and quickly recovered my surfboard. Unfortunately the recovery found her back in the rip. Back out came the aquatic saviors. Miles and I were now in the rip and I was getting tired trying to fight it to get my board. Miles gave me his board to catch my breath and the two of us got to Thea about the same time the two of the lifeguards did. Thea gave me my board and she let one of the lifeguards “save” her. The other lifeguard made sure we made it out of the rip before paddling his kayak back to the beach.

Future ASP World Junior Champion

Rolando does 'vacation' right with a snooze on the boogie board

Later when my our other sister Meg went to thank the lifeguards, they commented, “that girl doesn't listen.” A local said to Meg, “I was surprised how calm your mother and other family members were when your brother and sister were in trouble.” She didn't know that 'Trouble' is all of our middle names.

"That girl doesn't listen"

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