Lucky to Be Alive
By: charmaine_scicluna@yahoo.com

In Malta, the small island I come from, summers are usually hot and dry and the month of June 2007 was no exception.  My friend phoned me up suggesting we head down to the beach for a swim to relax and cool down a bit.  I wasnít really in the mood for that but on second thoughts I decided to follow.  Little did I know what was in store for me!!!
 
On arrival at the sandy beach, my friend literally jumped into the water, but I decided to sunbathe a little bit before getting into the sea.  She started calling me to join her, but I realised that the wind was slightly increasing its speed and this was creating waves, so I was very cautious, I just sat down in the shallow water instead of heading out to the deeper water.
 
Suddenly, a wave that was about half a meter in height rocked me back and forth on the spot, I never thrust the sea so alarmed, I decided to go back onshore.  That was the worst idea I could think of, because on standing up, a higher wave hurdled in and pulled me out at sea.
 
Now the waves were very high, about 2 meters and my survival instinct took over and I started struggling to swim ashore.  Instead of swimming, towards the shore, the high waves dragged me out and from the point I was at I couldnít see neither land nor anyone around.  I think I must have been dragged about a mile out at sea, and this was just the beginning.
 
The waves were now of enormous height and the wind increasing rapidly and panic took over me.  I am a good swimmer as I used to train aquatic sports and I also have Life Saving At Sea Courses and a member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade so, I was supposed to be trained, but at that moment in time, anything I knew felt useless.
 
I started crying, shouting and panickingÖI felt I was going to die and it seemed to me a terrible death.  At that very moment, something took over and I sort of Ďregained my sensesí I was full of courage and decided that I couldnít give up on my life now.  So I started counting the waves and calculating their speed.  The sea must have been force 8 or 9.  First I didnít manage and the sea was pulling me out again, so I started to dive into the waves and using my strength towards the current buy diving.
 
Somehow, my strategy was working and after a grueling 45minutes out at sea, I made it to the shore. On swimming in, I could hear people shouting and an ambulance was being called.  To this day, I canít figure out how I managed to arrive back on land.  My strength was gone, my mind blanked out, so for sure it must have been the hand of God.  At least, thatís what the witnesses told me. That day, in the same rough sea and at the same beach, a life was lost, so I must have been either lucky or had an extra helping hand from up above.  You decide, I think I already know.
 

 

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