Snorkeling – Dive Gone Bad

Our most harrowing experience came off those Key Largo shores. We had gotten tired of just diving on empty sand, we wanted more adventure. One of the guys studied the maritime maps of the waters and discovered a submerged wreck marked just off the shore. Well, okay, it was more like a mile and a half off shore. We can do this.

Just for this trip we acquire a divers buoy. It looked like a mini life preserver with a net suspended in the center, for pirate booty, and a diver down flag raised on a thin pole. Now boats would not run us over, and we would have something to hang on to. Three of us set out on this adventure.

The water we were swimming in was no more than 10 feet deep, just deep enough to be “too deep”. Our navigation was flawless and we found the wreck. Wasn’t much left of it. A few spars and a keel in about 15 feet of water. You could dive straight down and then cruise past the wreck before returning to the surface. It felt like I was in one of those Discovery Channel shows, scuba diving in the Caribbean.

It didn’t take long to get tired of diving up and down, so we decided to head back. We started swimming back. We kept swimming and swimming, but we weren’t getting anywhere. We had overlooked one important item. The Atlantic Current, which right now, was pulling us north and east. Away from the island. We took turns swimming, to try to hold our position as much as possible while the other two rested.

We were becoming more and more exhausted. The chop was getting bigger and we were taking face fulls of salt water more and more often. We sensed that we were now in some serious trouble. We couldn’t keep swimming against the current. We were exhausted and growing weaker by the minute and, to make matters worse, the sun was beginning to sink.

We decided to swim AWAY from where we started. To try to swim perpendicular to the current. If nothing else, it would at least keep us from getting further out to sea. If we were lucky, we would find some land. Even if it was underwater, as long as we could stand.

We swam without stopping. Each in his own world. Swimming for our lives, this was the real deal! Just as it started to turn dusky, we hit land. We are going to LIVE! I didn’t run up and collapse on the beach. I sat in the shallow water and relaxed. I tried standing up but I was VERY HEAVY, So I rested in the water. When we had recovered enough strength we gathered our gear and headed south to find our starting point. We didn’t dive on any more wrecks.

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