This is why I didn't post yesterday. What happened just shook me so much I didn't have the brain capacity (due in part to the sheer terror of what could have happened and the happy brain numbing effects of my anti-anxiety medication) afterward to put words together to describe it.
When I got back from my morning adventures yesterday a group was just planning an excursion down to Condado Beach. Even though I was still exhausted from my morning's adventure I decided to say "why not!" and so I threw on my suit, grabbed my towel, and joined the fun.
This particular beach was about a 20 minute walk from the hostel, and again I forgot my sunblock and hat.
So here I am. Already weak and tired from walking around for four hours already, dehydrated, and quite possibly the stupidest person ever for looking at the big waves, the strong surf, and running right in rather than waiting for a day when I'm feeling better.
I can tell you though that playing in the water like that was one of the most fun things I've ever done! What happened though is that I got separated from the others, and then the pull of the current and the giant waves yanked me further and further away. I'd try to swim back to shore when another wave came along and pulled me back even more. I shouted for help over and over again, but the people I'd come with weren't paying attention and neither saw nor heard me. Luckily another guy did hear and he was able to swim out to me and grabbed my hand to tow me back to the shore.
I'd never been so scared in my entire life. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before and I didn't know what to do except wait til I was safe to panic. The guy who saved me told me that if it ever happens again, to swim to the side. Like at an angle. He said you won't get caught that way.
I did go right back into the water after my post-terror panic attack. I told my group what had happened and they were aghast. From then on every one of us made sure we stayed in pairs just in case something similar were to happen again. Happily, it didn't.
I'm not afraid of the ocean. I still can't wait to go back to the beach. But I still feel a pit of terror deep in my stomach when I think about what could have happened. It has certainly made me more cautious. And I know not to go alone when I go back. But if I do, I know I won't venture out quite as far from the shore.