Submitted April 18, 2011

A Bad Day at the Beach

It was a beautiful day on Oahu Hawaii. My family and I were at the beach on Yokohama Bay. We were walking on a gravel road near the ocean, and we decided to go for a swim in one of the small tide pools adjacent to the rocks along the beach. My friend Bruce, his son Tio, my son Scott and I entered the water and began checking out the marine life along the crevices of the rocks.

The ocean was extremely rough crashing against the rocks outside our small pool. I was adjusting my swim mask and suddenly a rouge wave swept me over the ledge and into the churning white water.

It only took a few seconds for me to be forced down under the water again and again. Holding my breath was all I could do. The merciless water then began to smash me against the huge rocks; my body was getting badly beaten.

I was mad at myself for getting into this predicament and the fight for survival was on. Trying to swim proved futile; the water was just to strong. It seemed like an eternity, but finally an opportunity for escape presented itself. I was washed onto the other side of the huge rock that I had been getting pummeled against, and I was able to grab onto it.

Holding on with a death grip as the waves washed over me. Clearing my head, I heard Bruce yelling for me to reach for his hand. As he helped pull me out, I asked if Scott and Tio were safe and I was relieved to learn that they were.

My wife was freaking out, as she witnessed the whole ordeal, along with my daughter Jennifer and Cousin Gina. As I climbed over the ledge, Scott was nearly washed over and I had to grab him. Finally we were on dry ground and we got out of there.

My body felt like it had been run over by a truck! I had cuts on my hands and bruises on my waist, back and legs. I lost my contacts and I had to wear Bruce's prescription dive mask in order to climb the hill up to the road!

The long walk back to our vehicles seemed endless! What a day! On the drive home, I reflected back on the incident, and I was glad to be alive. We never went to that beach again.

- Keith Stokes

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