You Must Respect the Ocean…And One-Piece Bathing Suits

One of the blogs that I enjoy reading these days is The Farmer Files, which you can link to from my blogroll.  The blogger and her family live on Oahu, and she’s forever posting the most beautiful pictures in addition to teaching her readers a lot about life in Hawaii.  She and her husband, who are planning an eventual move back to the mainland, are exposing their sons to all the wonders and beauty that Hawaii has to offer, and I love to see pictures of them enjoying their time there.

(I have no idea why this next section is in bold, but I’m thankful that it’s no longer underlined and purple.  Just wanted you to know that I know something is askew.  If one post ever turns out “right,” you’ll know someone has hijacked the blog.)

Tater Daddy and I have been to Oahu twice; once 14 years ago for our honeymoon and again about eight years ago for a business trip.  The latter was far more luxurious, as pretty much everything was paid for (except my air fare) and we stayed at a gorgeous resort hotel on Waikiki.  I think we left the resort twice as a couple.  We went to another hotel one night for a dinner date, and then one afternoon we took our rental car and decided to explore the island, just as we’d done six years earlier on our honeymoon.

Only THIS time, there would be no stopping at random beaches with high surf for a little swim.  Or near-death experience.  And then all the unintentional nakedness, of course. 

Y’all have a great day, okay?

What’s that?  Oh, right.  I left out a few things.

Well, one day while we were avoiding our low-budget-but-who-cares-’cause-we’re-in-Hawaii condo (which was next door to one of the Outrigger Hotels, so, um, hello, we made ourselves right at home there, eating at their restaurants and such) we decided to drive all over the island.  We got up early and headed out with our beach towels, a map of the island, and some snacks.  Fun times ahead, right?

Somewhere along the way we came upon a beach that had no lifeguards and LOTS of signs warning that the surf was ROUGH and currents were STRONG.  But we were hot and wanted to dip our toes in the water, and there were people body-surfing all over the place, so, really, could it be all that dangerous?  We decided to stop and check it out, because we had taken oodles of trips to the Florida gulf coast in our lives, so we knew all about big surf, right?  Ahem.

Here we were, on our honeymoon.  My new husband was oh, so handsome in his red trunks, sporting his Hawaiian Tropic tan on his very attractive legs.  It was the only time in my life, before or since, that I was comfortable skipping along the beach in a bikini, and bikinis were all I packed.  I really should have packed a one-piece, especially for this particular day, but I was young.  And skinny.  And, as you’re about to find out, completely stupid.  Well, let’s call it overly-trusting.  Or stupid.  You decide.  I usually lean toward stupid.

Hubby and I walked into the water, and we were about ankle-deep when we both commented on being able to feel the undertow.  Red flashing light!  Red flashing light!  We ignored the red flashing light and went in a little deeper. Then the first wave, which came out of nowhere, crashed down like thunder — I never liked thunder — and we both howled and commented again about how STRONG the surf was.  Hmmm…they oughta put that on a sign!  Red flashing light! Red flashing light!  Again, the red flashing light was ignored.  Then my husband, my big, strong, protector, said, “We just need to get past the waves a little bit and then we can ride one of the smaller ones in.”  Okay. That’s what everyone else seemed to be doing, so it made sense to follow their lead.

And then he jinxed it.  As he grabbed a-hold of my arm or hand or some appendage, because the waves, current, and undertow were getting stronger, he said, “I’ve got you, but remember to just hold on to me really tight and don’t let go.”  Right.  Because our grip would be stronger than about 9 gazillion pounds of water pressure coming at you, but whatever.  Without any doubts of his ability to save me from the big blue ocean, I said, “Okay.”

And then WHAM!  A wave came right down on us, and I’ll go ahead and tell you that we didn’t touch each other again until we both hit dry land, which occurred at separate times.  When that wave hit, it knocked the wind right out of me and I rolled underwater for what seemed like an eternity, the whole time knowing that I’d had the breath knocked right out of me.  It’s kind of hard not to panic in that situation.  I finally found the surface and came up, saw my husband trying to get to me, and WHAM!  Another wave.  I’m pretty sure I still have ocean water and Hawaiian sand in my system from that one.  I thought I would never find my way up, mainly because I kept being pounded against the sandy floor.  At one point the thought crossed my mind that dying on your honeymoon would be a real bummer.  And it would totally ruin the wedding write-up in the local paper.

Luckily I surfaced, and when I did I found that I’d been pushed pretty far up toward the beach.  I could hear my husband calling my name, but let’s face it.  I was completely out of it.  I was coughing and sputtering and spitting and hacking and crying and by this time I was probably cursing, but I doubt anyone (A) could understand it, and (B) could blame me if they did understand what I was saying.

I stood up and started making my way fully out of the ocean.  And when I say fully, I mean it as in my bikini top was still on, but it was around my waist and the straps were down around my elbows.  Of course I didn’t realize this, you know, from all the shock and such, until I heard applause and laughter from two sleazy old men sitting in lawn chairs with a cooler between them.  

Horrified, I straightened my top and tucked the girls back in, the whole time crying like a fool.  By this time, my frantic husband found me, exchanged not-so-nice words with the two old curmudgeons, and walked me back to our car.  Ah, my hero.  

Y’all.  I.  Could.  Have.  Died.  (Literally and figuratively, I suppose.)

The hubby was so apologetic and sweet about the whole incident.  Apparently he saw the second wave coming just in time to get under water before it slammed him, and that’s when we really got separated. Since he wasn’t gasping for breath and therefore wasn’t in a panic, he was in much better shape than I was when he emerged from the watery deathtrap also known as the ocean.

Plus, he’d managed to remain fully clothed, which always helps one keep one’s calm in situations like this.

We laugh about the whole thing now and he teases me about “the time I tried to turn one of the beaches on Oahu into a nudie,” but I have to say that the whole thing was pretty frightening.  Mostly, though, it was embarrassing.

You’d think that this would qualify as my most embarrassing moment, but, sadly, it isn’t.  I don’t know if I could pick the top one since my life is one string of embarrassing moments after another.

I’ll say this, though.  Thanks to that first trip to Hawaii, I have a very deep respect for the ocean.

The same can be said for my feelings toward one-piece bathing suits.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thefarmerfiles
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 04:14:52

    Ohhh you had me laughing out loud! I am a tankini girl, myself! Where were you? Sandy’s Beach? Before we were local a nice old local man took one look at us at that beach and told us it was not the beach for us! They have fatalities there every year but it is a super popular beach for local body surfing, surfing, and boarding. During surf season (now) our first winter here, the lifeguards were yelling at parents at Waimea telling them that having their kids play on the beach was worse than having their kids play in the middle of the highway! The surf here is serious!! That’s why it is the most dangerous and most popular place for surf competitions!!! If we get some good surf and we are here I will post pictures for you!!! Ohhhh this was too funny and a great late night laugh for me!!!


  2. Lora Lynn
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 08:57:40

    Hee. That’s pretty funny seeing how I’m not the one who was naked and nearly died. 🙂


  3. Calista
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 23:00:09

    Sounds like something that would happen to me. I’m glad it wasn’t….LOL


  4. HisLifeformine
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 16:33:02

    Oh my land, so descriptive! And did I say funny? Not the scary part mind you, just the nekkid part. Well and the …


  5. Kim H.
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 16:39:15

    Oh my gosh… hysterical, terrifying, and romantic all at the same time… HA! 🙂


  6. Trackback: Embarrassing Moment #893 « Tater Tales
  7. Katherine @ Grass Stains
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 15:34:27

    How terrible! We went to Hawaii (Kauai) for our 10-year anniversary a few years ago, and we got caught up in a bad riptide while we were snorkeling. Again, plenty of people around us, but there was one tourist (female) who was TOTALLY FREAKING OUT and actually grabbed onto me as I was trying to swim away from the Very Dangerous Lava Rock that I was practically getting pounded into. My husband was yelling at her to let go of me, but she was in pure survival mode. It was terrible! We finally made it in, and the woman just walked away from me as if nothing had happened. It was ODD and scary! I’m glad you came away from your experience OK!


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