About Me

United States
Belle is a mother of 2 beautiful teenagers aged 19 and 18 years old. She is originally from Bato, Catanduanes. She loves fiddling around with computer on her free time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Beauty and the Beast

Piece of sponge

Steve and the fisherman.

Old and flimsy boat.

My brother, me, and caretaker. I was holding beer for the camera just for fun...not a beer drinker at all.

I have been raving about the beauty of the beaches in Catanduanes, it is about time that I should blog about the danger behind its beauty. Just because it is beautiful doesn't mean it is safe. It happened three years ago in Puraran. It was the year when we came home to attend the wedding in Marilima beach, Virac Catanduanes. We were staying in Batag resort, Virac, Catanduanes for the night.

Suddenly, my husband, along with two friends of ours from the USA, decided to go to Puraran on the day of the wedding despite my objection. The wedding was going to be held late in the afternoon so he figured he had plenty of time to get back in time for the wedding. The travel to Puraran was about 2 hours from Virac, one way. They left in a van fairly early in the morning and took my brother along with them as a guide.

They came back rather late. I was getting upset and worried. He looked so tired and his face was all red. I reckoned he spent all day frolicking on the beach. Our room where we stayed in was full of people already getting ready for the wedding. He went in and asked for his clothes so he could take a shower. He dressed up for the wedding in no time. Suddenly, I saw him sitting on the couch in the living room dozing off despite of how busy and noisy the place was. I let him be as the wedding was not going to start until approximately an hour later. I thought it was good that he took siesta before the event.

I asked for the change of the money I gave him on his trip to Puraran. He said, "I will talk to you about it later." Fair enough, I thought I would catch him later that night in bed and besides I was preoccupied with wedding matters.

As night came, I asked him again what happened to the change. He said, "it is gone, I did some good deeds with the locals." I was actually happy of what I heard and was proud of him of being nice to the less-fortunate. The topic ended and we flew back the following day.

Six months later, Joe popped on my YM, asking me strange questions like "has S been nice to you lately?" or has S been acting different lately?" I immediately suspected something was wrong but I just couldn't pinpoint it. At first I thought he found a girlfriend in Puraran, but I knew he wouldn't do that as the idea seemed farfetched. Joe wouldn't disclose what happened and led me in circles for some time despite my ceaseless prodding. He probably couldn't believe why my husband hadn't told me about the incident. Finally, after wheedling for truth for some time, I finally persuaded him in confiding in me. Here's the rest of the story as told by my husband.

I was wading in about no more than one foot of water, too shallow to actually swim in and was looking for deeper water to swim. There were no surfers or fishermen in sight. About 50 feet away, I saw what looked like deeper water on the reef, so, I dove into the water using the piece of foam and paddled toward it. Then as I swam, I noticed that I was being swept outwards, I paddled as hard as I could, but suddenly the water was over my head and I was being carried out into the deeper ocean. The bottom was going by faster that a man could ever run. I paddled as hard as I could but it made no difference.

Suddenly, I could hear the breakers in front of me instead of behind me. Now, I was on the other side of the white breakers and was caught in the big swell of the Pacific Ocean. It bobbed me around like a cork. I was plenty scared at that point. All I could see was ocean and breakers between me and safety.

Long time went by and I was getting very tired. Some of the waves were splashing oer my head and I was breathing water and coughing. I could feel a cramp coming along in one of my legs, my body temperature was going down slowly, and the blood was leaving my appendages to warm my core. Furthermore, the current was carrying me to the right side where the breakers were crashing visciously against the reef; I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be battered against the coral. Somehow, the piece of sponge that I was carrying and the extra pounds contributed to my flotation in the water for at least an hour, according to Joe, a friend, who came with us.

Then Junior, my brother-in-law, waded out a ways into the water, carefully, as he did not know how to swim and beckoned me to come in. It was very noisy with the waves so all I could do was gesture with my arms for him to save me. I said, "boat!" "boat!" and he didn't know or hear what I was saying and continued to wave me in thinking that I was out there having fun. Since I didn't come in, he waded up closer and found some rocks where he could walk yet even closer. I shouted with all my energy and at the top of my lungs to get a boat, above the noise of the waves. His eyes open widely when he realized that I was in trouble. He immediately ran back up to the resort.

After the longest time when I had completely given up hope and was saving my little energy for when the waves crashed me against the reef, I saw two natives pulling a canoe to the water, which gave me new HOPE. I watched them row the canoe through the channel in the coral and they seemed to head out to sea instead of coming over to me. I waved frantically but they kept going. I figured they were two fishermen who were not going to bother picking me up. I said to myself, "if they save me, I am going to give them one heck of a good tip." Then, they circled toward me and approached from the rear where they themselves were safe. In order to get myself into the canoe, one of the natives had to jump out in the water and hung out on the outrigger on the far side to counter balance the weight while I struggled to get into the flimsy canoe. While the two locals paddled the canoe, I bailed water from the canoe. We finally made to shore, to safety, and once I had calmed down, I gave them all the money I had on me, in exchange for my life.

Note: the boat and fisherman in the above pictures were my husband's saviour. All beaches are dangerous. Always wear a life vest, or bring a surfboard, boggie board, or inflatable raft before venturing in the water. Just because you are a good swimmer means nothing.


KK said...

Ate Belle,
Your story gave me goose bumps. I experienced being taken by a rip tide. When you're in a beach with rip tides aside from wearing flotation devices that you mentioned, if you find yourself floating away- swim at a diagonal direction to the shore because going straight to the shore doesn't get you anywhere.

I'm sure your husband got the scare of his life with that experience. He is lucky to have been saved by the locals. I'm glad he got around telling anyway.

niceheart said...

Oh my, that's a very frightening experience. It's good that those fishermen were able to save him.

Elyani said...

Thanks for sharing, Belle. Am glad the fishermen were there just in time. I had an experience drowning when riding the banana boat. The banana boat rider did that purposely but to me it was not fun at all. Luckily I put on a life vest but still I gulped a lot of sea water because I didn't anticipate they will take a dramatic turn and caused me to fall over the sea. My throat felt horrible a few days after that. What supposed to be a ride fun ended up with me suffering the sore throat for nearly a week. Arrrrgghhhh!!!!

Connie said...

I made my way here from Heart of Rachel's blog. Just read this post and had to comment how happy I am that your husband is safe. I think an angel was with him that day. What a very scary story. Such an important thing to always remember how powerful any current of water can be.

Take care,
Please feel free to stop by my blog.

cruise said...

kinilabutan ako sa kwento mo, buti alnag safe na siya, nakabasa na rin kasi ako ng ganitong post at di nakaligtas yung kaibigan nila. kaya buti nalnag naging happy ending ang kwento mo. tama ka di lahat ng masarap ligtas kaya ingat ingat nalang :)

Stephanie said...

umm hopefully daddy doesn't come across this entry, lol!

julie said...

Never underestimate the sea's current, no matter how calm it appears to be. Thank God you were saved. Nakakatakot! Even in Zambales, even if the sea is relatively clam, there are always talks of people drowning, mostly tourists, every year. Most of them graduating students, usually during Holy Week or thereabouts. It almost like a sacrifice for the South China Sea. Scary thought.

vernaloo said...

scary Belle but praise God nothing bad happened to Steve.

I'm scared of drowning and of the ocean. That's why when I'm in the beach..I don't really go too far.

dangkin said...

whew! kakatakot naman tlaga.. kaya ako, hanggang ngayon di pa rin marunong lumangoy e, hanggang dipping lang ako.. ha.ha.ha.

Belle TH said...

@kk, you must be a strong swimmer. my husband is an average swimmer only. thanks for the tip. swimming at a diagonal direction or parallel to the shore is a good idea when being taken by an undertow.

@niceheart, thank goodness my brother spotted him before it was too late and was quick enough to get for some help.

@Elyani, i don't appreciate jokes like that. good you were wearing a life vest.

@Connie,you are right! I'd say don't venture out in the water without asking around first.

@cruise, kinilabutan din ako nong ikinuwento ng kaibigan ang nangyari.

@steph, daddy has seen the post several times.hehe. remember he had my blog bookmarked?

@Julie, you got it right. always bring a boggie board, a raft, or at least a life vest when swimming in the unknown water.

@verns, i have phobia of water, too. i always stay in the shallow water, no more than a waist-deep. if go past waist, i panick and rush back to shore.

@dangkin, dog paddle lang ang alam ko. i can also swim on the back a little.

Toe said...

Belle, that's a scary story. But it is a good lesson for all of us to learn to respect nature... both its beauty and its dangers. I'm glad that your husband is okay.

annamanila said...

Omg, your husband had a close one and he didn't even want to tell you about it, worried that you'd worry. What a guy ha! I am so glad that adventure ended happily. Now, you got a conversatiaon piece of a really memorable vacation. But I suppose S doesnt want to talk about it ha?

maping said...

Belle, God is good. The people that saved your hubby are heaven-sent. Glad he was ok.

sesame said...

That was so close...so fortunate that he turned out safe and well. And I agree with you. Even if you're a good swimmer, it won't mean anything in such situations.