Thursday, May 24, 2012

Santa Clara Beach, Panama

After driving for about an hour and half and questioning whether Scott really knew where he was taking us we arrived at a beach called Santa Clara.  The water was clear and warm, the sand was like sugar, the weather was perfect and besides a half dozen or so natives the beach was deserted.

What at first was disappointment that we were not completely alone, turned into gratitude very quickly when the natives had to save Atley's life.  Yes, very few days go by without serious risk of a life ending accident in our family.  We had just arrived. Scott was still unpacking the car. Atley and I had wadded into the water.  He was about 5 feet in front of me, the water lapping around his knees.  The next thing I knew he had vanished.  I looked behind me to see if he had gone back to our hut but he was no where in sight.  Then I heard something, a scream, and looked at the expanse of blue in front of me.  About 25 yards out to sea was a little blond head fighting to stay above water.  I froze in panic. I knew I was not a good enough swimmer to save him.  He seemed to disappear for minutes at a time before bobbing back up again. Each time he would resurface he was further away from me. I did the only thing I am really good at, I started screaming.  The natives who were collecting shells along the water's edge heard me and then noticed Atley who was now at least 50 yards away from the shore.  Two teenage boys dove into the water and started swimming toward him. About this time Scott noticed what was happening and came running.  The other's stopped him warning him that the rip current was too dangerous. They assured us that the boys lived on the beach and could bring him back safely. Somehow I knew that they were right.   We watched for what seemed like an eternity for them to reach him as he struggled to stay on top of the waves.  It took an even longer time for them to find a safe place to bring him back to shore while avoiding the rip current that had sneakily sucked him out to sea.
 The arrows are pointing at my two favorite people in the whole wide world, the boys who saved Atley from drowning.
Atley stayed pretty close to his dad for the rest of the day. Once in a while he would reprimand me for just standing there screaming while he was washed away. The truth is my reaction bothered me too. As soon as the natives realized that the gringos had learned their lesson, we had the beach all to ourselves.  Atley collected hundreds of seashells, and that is not an exaggeration, and since we all survived we feel it was a very successful outing.


Jen said...

Phil makes fun of me for being scared of the ocean, but that is exactly why. Well, that and sharks. Glad everyone is ok!

Hannah Neville McMillan said...

oh my gosh! sounds terrifying!!