Walk the Plank

Danger - credit to Pixabay.com
The clear blue sky had no hint of the blackness I would discover later as I clambered down the rocky path from the cliff-top to Pirate’s Bay in Dunedin. Behind me, my brother and sister had struggled to keep up and my parents who carried a picnic basket. On the beach and behind tussock covered sand-dunes were bunches of other families already enjoying the waves and sun drenched sand.
We unpacked our basket, spread out the rug and Mum and Dad started getting lunch ready. My brother and I grabbed our new inflatable beach-ball and eagerly ran over the last of the dunes onto the beach.
We started our epic brother battle with a game of force-back. We each tried to throw over the top of the other so they were forced back until they either stepped back too far or we were able to throw the ball past a certain point. As always I had the upper hand, maybe something to do with being older!
Suddenly, as I threw the light multicoloured ball, the wind picked it up and the next second on inflatable ball was floating in the gentle shore waves.
“Go and get it.” Graeme yelled at me.
I replied with a casual, “No. I threw, you fetch.”
“It wasn’t fair,” he moaned, referring to the wind.
“Just ‘cause I’m winning, you have to get it.” I countered.
Meanwhile the ball, delighted at its new found freedom and assisted by its friends the waves and wind, took an escape route to the sea.
“Get it,” I yelled at him, “before it gets out too far.” I was getting nervous as I was supposed to be the responsible older brother. He just refused and so I decided I better get our new ball back.
I shot down to the sea edge, splashed over the shallow waves and up to my knees. I pushed through the growing waves towards the ball. I remember thinking that I wasn’t too far from it when I found out a nasty surprise. The sand was no longer under my feet. The bottom was gone. The beach suddenly shelved into deeper water and down I plummeted.
I can still feel the panic that gripped me, the bands of pressure that started to burn in my lungs as I tried to claw my way back to the surface. Maybe the lady had seen me go under or saw my hand briefly break the surface but she stopped what she was doing and plunged in without hesitating to save me. She too discovered to her cost that the beach shelved and that this is not very good when you can’t swim, just like me.
I remember looking up through the sun beams in the water and thinking the top was too far away. Bubbles from my lungs were flowing up. It was a weird peaceful yet panicking feeling, a sweet and sour nightmare.
Unexpectedly, a strong hand seized my arm and I was first pulled from the water and then into the safe arms of a man. I don’t really remember him carrying me back to the beach, I do remember retching and throwing up seawater onto the beach as concerned people stood around. I can’t even say if I thanked them for helping me but I do have a vague memory of the lady, they pulled out with me, lying nearby.
My brother helped me on my wobbly legs back towards the dunes where Mum and Dad were and we were not at the beach much longer that day.
Someone must have told them what happened because not long after we had a whole series of swimming lessons. The bigger mystery is what happened to the ball. I like to imagine that it washed up on a beach in Japan somewhere or got pierced by a narwhale but then I have been told I am a bit of a dreamer. Certainly, I had some dreams about water surrounding and bullying me for quite a while.

Success Criteria for this recount: Follow recount form, use five senses, improve words with thesaurus and use similes.


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