You’re on holiday… on a wonderfully idyllic, pristine beach… walking along with your feet in the cool water.
You stop for a moment to admire the view, smell the sea air and feel the warm sun on your face.
You’re not too deep, so you stand firmly, feeling your toes in the sand as the water touches just below your knees.
The foamy waves wash up against your legs and drawback as you admire being in such a beautiful place.
You take a moment to enjoy it … and BREATHE!
Suddenly you notice your legs…they’re not in the water anymore!?
The water has drawn back…
All the way back…
It’s down at your ankles…
You look up in disbelief and see the water gathering before you, rising in size, almost towering above you now! Growing. Rising. Higher and higher…
As the backwash builds, the water starts to curl over you – a monstrous wave! A split second seems like an eternity, and you realise there’s no escape!
The voice in your head yells, ‘What are you waiting for!? RUN!…only you discover your feet are glued in the sand!
You can’t move…paralysed with fear, you stand there stuck!
‘Help! ‘ your mind screams! But no words pass your lips – your voice is frozen.
It all happens so fast!
And the wave…the enormous, growing beast of a wave… the wave comes crashing down!
Gasping for air!
Grabbing at the surface!
Trying to breathe!
Trying to find a way out!
You’re thrown backwards with force again and again – sucked into the water!
All you can hear is crashing and rumbling!
You try to see which way is up – but the sand – there’s so much sand!
It’s scratching your eyes, it’s in your ears, in your mouth….murky, salty, grit – it burns!
You can’t breathe! HELP! You can’t BREATHE!…
The water – it’s everywhere!
There’s a light…
Is that the sun?…but then it’s gone!?
There it is… but then you can’t see anything clearly!
You keep tumbling over and over…
Reaching for a surface…
Always just out of your grasp…
Tossed back and forth!
‘Over here! I’m over HERE!’ you try to scream…
‘Can anybody see me!? ‘I’m over here!! – HELP! …PLEASE!!’
If you can’t reach up, reach down! … you try to grab the ground and hold on!
‘Wait – which way is that!?’
You can’t see anything!
You can’t breathe!
You try to call out, but all you can do is gulp in more ocean!
Salt and sand scrape through your nose and down your throat as the sea throws your legs back over your head, one last time…
What if this was real?
What if it was you in the water?
What if it was your son?
Drowning is a silent epidemic that claims an estimated 360,000 lives every year, many of them children. It’s the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide! These are lives taken too soon and preventable deaths – There are approximately 42 drowning deaths every hour, every day.
I was lucky – I survived…
Swallowed up by the sea – I was just 7 years old. I had NO IDEA it was coming, and neither did my parents.
It was on a beach along the coast of Southern Africa and, after I blacked out, the sea threw me back up onto the shore where I found myself gasping and terrified, but alive…
I get to share this story today – knowing that many others tragically won’t ever get to tell theirs.
So, I’m swimming the English Channel this Summer… to raise much-needed funds to support a foundation that helps children and families who otherwise would never have access to the necessary education required to prevent drowning and loss of life.
You may have been on holiday to beautiful beaches, swum in the clear turquoise waters, snorkelling or diving from boats in crystal blue seas, but what many don’t realise is that most of the local people in these areas cannot actually swim. They have never had the opportunity to learn.
No child should be denied access to an education because of their economic status.
The SwimTayka mission is to give disadvantaged communities around the world access to swimming teachers who can not only provide the life skills of swimming, but create a legacy for today’s children, who will grow up to teach the next generation.
This is something that I too very passionately align with. As a swimming teacher, being able to extend my reach and contribute towards providing swimming lessons and environmental education about clean water stewardship to underprivileged children around the world, brings a great sense of purpose.
It’s no doubt a challenge to take on an English Channel crossing however… the benefit to the children and communities is far, far greater than me achieving a personal goal.
This I know for certain – my story could have ended very differently!
Uplifting communities, empowering the safe and conscious use and enjoyment of water – what SwimTayka does saves lives.
It’s a privilege and a blessing to be able to contribute towards such a cause.
Would like like to join SwimTayka is this epic and rewarding challenge?