Well I had an unexpected bit of drama while on my holiday in Sicily. I had been enjoying a spot of sunbathing on a small beach by a jetty when the weather suddenly changed for the worse; apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence on the island. The sunny blue sky was rapidly filling with tumbling gray clouds and to say the sea had become ‘choppy’ would have been a gross understatement.
I prepared to leave the beach. As I pulled on my clothes and rolled up my towel, I noticed a young man running at great speed towards the end of the jetty. Something about his expression made me take an interest and because I am terribly nosey by nature I went from the beach to the jetty and meandered in the direction that he was heading to see what was going on.
Trying to make sense of things, I glanced back towards the beach where I saw a small group of women anxiously pointing out to sea, they appeared to be shouting something at the young man who had ran past me but the noise of the sea and the wind combined made it impossible to hear anything else.
The young man started to point out towards the open sea and I realised that he was shouting to two older men who were being thrown around by the waves. The strong current was preventing them from getting back to shore. I heard someone close to me calling the coast guard on their mobile phone. We were then joined by a man carrying a surf board, he wanted to help but at this point it would have been madness for anyone else to go in the water.
One of the men managed to make it to the jetty but it was too high and he couldn’t climb up. He looked about seventy years old. He tried to cling on but he was being battered against the wall by the waves. One man and I tried to reach down to him but we couldn’t get a proper grip of his wet arms and he kept slipping back in to the water. Then I remembered my towel and so I lay down on my stomach and got it looped around one of his arms and twisted it to form a sort of tourniquet, between us we were then able to drag him up from the sea. He was covered in grazes and bruises with very blood shot eyes but apart from that he appeared in good form. No sooner had I wrapped my towel around his shoulders when a huge wave came over the harbour wall and outright soaked us both!
All our attention then turned to the man who remained in the sea – he was quite far out, perhaps 60 metres at a guess and we watched helplessly from the jetty as he struggled to keep his head above water. I honestly wondered at this point if I was going to have to take part in a resuscitation effort. Presently the life guard appeared with a rope, he looped one end around the man with the surf board who then very bravely jumped in to the turbulent waves. We relaxed the rope as he slowly made his way out to help him. Every now and then a huge wave would sweep over them both and we would lose sight of them; I would hold my breath anxiously until their heads became visible again. At last the surfer reached the man and they both held on to the surf board as we pulled them back towards the beach and to safety. Their wives and daughters had been sobbing as they watched this going on and there were plenty of hugs all around once they were both safely back on land.
I made my way back to our apartment looking like something of a drowned rat. As I told my husband all about my adventure I was still feeling slightly bemused by how events can suddenly take an unexpected turn – although thankfully, on this occasion, with a very happy ending.