As I dip beneath the thin layer of clouds, I gaze at the white sand beaches, crowded narrow streets, and the light blue ocean. This was rather spontaneous, mostly me just tired of the same job, stuck behind a desk every day, so one day I came to work and quit my job. To be honest, this is probably a mid life crisis of some sort. I've always been passionate about surfing, growing up in santa cruz, I started when I was 4, getting pushed into waves by my dad. At 13 I had my first sponsorship; o'neill surf shop. Then right around my 15th birthday, My dads work moved us to salem oregon, the town of absolutely nothing. I stopped surfing then, working at my dad's business until yesterday.
I take a taxi to my hotel, staying right across the street from a large sand beach, filled with people. I decided to go to sleep right after I check into my hotel, keeping in mind that I have to wake up at 5am tomorrow morning for my surf trip. My alarm sounds, and its still pitch black out. I walk to the elevator with my board under my arm, take a taxi to the docks where the boat leaves from, and hop aboard. When I wake up again the sun is shining in my eyes, and were bouncing through the open ocean, through the bright blue water. We arrive to the first place, and I grab my board and jump into the water. I wait for the perfect wave, and I catch it first try and ride it until the end. Given that it was my first wave in 10 years, it was pretty amazing. I keep this up for about 6 hours, then decide to paddle around the rocks, out of sight from the boat. I lay back on my board, staring into the sun. When I wake up again i'm floating in the middle of a dark ocean, with nothing in sight.
I've heard of this happening to people, getting sucked out to the open ocean when they are surfing. Most of the time they never come back, or they do, but not alive. I look all around, me, but there's nothing in sight, when I look down, the water is dark, deep, and mysterious. When I look up there's clouds covering the sky, so there's no light. It was almost incredible how dark everything was. I would be amazed if not for the current issue on hand, which was me being stranded. I search the pockets of my shorts, looking for something, anything that could help me. I come up with a pack of saltines that I got on the plane and the small red pocket the I keep zip tied to the inside of my pocket. The saltines only have two crackers inside them, and the pocket knife is about the size of my middle finger. It must only be about eight or nine at night, but I have no way of knowing. I cant sleep, so I lay back and stare at the sky for hours before I fall asleep. When I wake up, I keep my eyes shut, hoping that maybe, somehow, I got washed back, but no such luck. Everywhere I look, I see flat ocean, with nothing in the horizon. The sun continuously beats down on me, and I can feel my skin burning. The last time I ate anything was in the airport, so I eat half of one of the saltines. I can feel myself becoming delirious from the sun and dehydration, so I spend the rest of the afternoon in the water, using my surfboard to shield myself from the sun. Eventually, it gets darker, and fish start to surface. Starving and thirsty, I use the other half of my saltines to attempt to bait fish closer to me. It doesn't work, and a fourth of my only food supply sinks into the ocean. I fade into a dreamless, sick, sleep again, until Im awaken to the brush on my leg that almost feels like sandpaper. I look down, but I can't see anything in the dark. I feel it again and again, along with strange jolts of my board that continue throughout the night. The next morning its cooler, almost looking like it was going to rain. I look down into the water, and see something that horrifies me.
Seven sharks, circling beneath me, each about seven or eight feet long. AS I float, they follow me, not doing anything but waiting I lay on my back all day, drifting in and out of conscious. For the most part, that's the last thing I can remember, setting aside the few times I woke up from my unconsciousness, and looked around, only to slip back into the darkness. I lost track of time, unable to decipher if hours, days, or weeks had passed. I could feel the hot sun beating down on me, the sounds of the ocean, the smell of saltwater, and the warm water washing up on my legs. THe next thing I can remember after that is waking up in a hospital bed in Cancun, Mexico, hooked up to an IV. My lips were unbelievably chapped, and all my skin was peeling, and burned. Even in the hospital I drifted in and out of consciousness, until five days later when I woke up for good. I was discharged the next day, and I took a taxi from the hospital to my hotel room. I opened my door with my key card, packed up my things in fifteen minutes, and boarded the next flight home.