(From the picture, you can see where we swam across in the top right corner right before the water is blocked by the sand)
Swimming may seem like a fun thing to do with your friends, but an underlying danger still exists. I never had a respect for this until recently.
Last month, I went on a camping trip to a place called Washburn Island. Washburn Island lies less than 60 ft from Falmouth Ma, and also makes up one side of a large bay near by. In World War II, the island was rented off to the Army, so they could train for water landings such as D-Day. But enough about the history, what happened to has no relation to it.
Camping on the Island, some friends and I decided that hanging around the Campsite was becoming dull. We wanted to do something. Having the most knowledge about the Island, I proposed that we explore. And so we explored. We hiked a good few miles until we reached a beach where a full view of Martha's Vineyard was waiting. I had seen it many times before, for I live near there, but it was new foreign experience for the other four boys. We walked along the beach for some time until we reached a large jetty, that served as a gateway for the bay I had aforementioned.
The oldest out of all of us came to fish, and this seemed like the perfect spot. As he separated from us, we all simultaneously noticed the nice beach less than 100 ft away. We happily trotted to it, for we had looked forward to swim. Having previously been here, I knew it was a safe beach and that many people swam here, and with that, we jumped in the water. That's when we noticed the other side.
No more than what seemed like 60 ft away was the other side of the channel. I noticed this and told everyone that across from us sat Mashpee, a different town, and more importantly, the mainland. Seeing it as a novel experience, I said "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we swam to the mainland?". With it came a barrage of "Yeah let's do it!". So we swam, and thats when I noticed the current.
Swimming steadily, I realized how fast my friends and I were moving horizontally, luckily towards the bay and not the ocean. Despite of this we kept swimming, and eventually reached the other side. At first everyone had a triumphant mood to them, but we noticed something wrong. The weakest swimmer of us was hunched over, breathing heavily. We asked him is he was okay, and he responded that he wasn't feeling so good. Knowing this, we all decided to rest to give him a chance to breath before we swam back over.
After a couple of minutes, he said that he felt better and we started to swim back, this time going farther up the beach to compensate for the current. Everything seemed fine, until about three quarters of the way back. Not noticing it had first, I heard some splashing behind me, what really caught my attention was the yelling. "HELP!" I heard repeatedly. It was the weak swimmer, his head barely above water. Again he called and again. Myself and another person were too far away to grab him, for the current was carrying him away. Then he went under.
In a flash I saw someone grab him by the arm and pull him towards the shore. Repeatedly he was gasping, "Thank you, thank you" he said. He got back on shore and all of us ran over to help him. Luckily the strongest swimmer of us was the one who had saved him. He said he had no memory of what happened in the water.
What everyone should take away from this is that peer pressure comes in many forms. The weak swimmer knew that he would struggle, but because the rest of us wanted to, he felt that he had to. Also, remember that sometimes things are different then they appear, the current was almost invisible from the surface, but once we realized how strong it really was, we were to far to turn back. All in all, this whole event was because of the lack of thinking I put into this. Thankfully no one got hurt, but It just shows how quickly things can change.