This is the story of the time I very nearly died, whilst in the failed pursuit of spotting a Manatee! I was 18 years old and was on my second trip outside of the UK with my boyfriend, we took a trip to a fabulous 5* resort in Marsa Alam in Egypt. This holiday was eventful to say the least, though out of everything that I noticed about Egypt on my holiday, the one thing that stood out most for me was -the lack of health and safety regulations, I will explain in a later post how on this holiday I lost the ability to walk or lay on my back for a week, but I will start with the one and only time that my life literally flashed before my eyes.
It starts with a day trip to nearby town Abu Dabbu, it is famed for having lots of seagrass on the beds, making it the perfect habitat for both turtles and manatees. We are separated into groups based on our native tongues, and then asked “do you want to have a lifejacket?” No one else in the group said yes…so neither did I!!
The moral of this story is never, ever; EVER think that you are to cool to wear the lifejacket…EVER!!
We walk down the beach a little and swim on in, we head along a coral reef until it stops and there are dozens
of turtles underneath, it really is fantastic. I come up for air and…my group is gone! Me and my boyfriend had been following someone else, a German group. We ask if they are from the same company and the tour leader says “NO! English group over there…go away or you must pay”. We head to the group he pointed at and they were Russian…with the same response, and they are boarding a boat that we can’t get on.
Not too far from shore we decide to just head back, this seemed a good plan until we noticed that the undercurrent is ridiculous and we are being dragged out to sea, we swim hard towards the shore not allowing for rest as we will be dragged back further. We get close, very close but it is still deep and we had been swimming non-stop for around an hour and a half, when…I hit the metaphorical wall. My limbs sized up, I couldn’t breathe, and I gave one scream for help before I started to sink. I tried to get back to the surface but I was weak, my conciseness was fading and I had a weird moment of clarity, my life flashed before my eyes – not literally but I thought I’m going to die and I have done nothing…I hadn’t even managed to spot one of these bloody manatees – and I am going to die!
Then I feel my boyfriend’s hand grab my hair (it was painful) and pulls me up, he then told me to get a grip, calm down and hold his foot – I did, and within 30 minutes he had swam us both to shore 1 footed and we were alive. I cried a lot and then we saw someone from our group who said that we had to get back on the bus, they had been looking for us – they might have tried looking where they bloody left us but – whatever! This event taught me the most valuable lesson I have ever learned and now I always accept the life jacket, even if I look like the idiot who can’t swim.