Engrossed in my music. I drifted out a lot farther than I intended. I was in deep water. It was
obvious that there was no way I could paddle around the point. I decided to call it a day. It was slightly past
noon. If 1 made good time, I gathered that I could get back for lunch at the floating restaurant, a popular
gathering place near the beach, about 90 meters off-shore. Turning the canoe around I headed back. My
mouth began watering at the tantalizing thought of a long, cold drink. My stomach reminded me how
hungry I was. I had skipped breakfast, and pictures of my favorite food filled my mind. By this time, the
novelty of my adventure was wearing off. All I wanted now was to get back and have a good lunch. I just
could not imagine how I came this far without even taking along some water for a dry throat. It was sheer
complacency or over-confidence.
I wondered if I should return the boat and walk up the beach, but rejected the idea because it meant
I would have to swim to the restaurant and I would arrive looking like a drowned rat. No, I would
paddle all the way and tie the canoe up to the restaurant. That way, I could have my cold drink and then a
hearty lunch without much delay. With that in mind, I paddled with renewed energy. I knew I was making
headway when I was opposite my bungalow. Opposite my bungalow ? Goodness gracious me! I must be
going the wrong way. It slowly dawned on me that although I was making a concerted effort to paddle to
shore , I was even farther away. What was happening ? Why was I not getting closer ?
My heart began to beat faster. Warning signs flashed in my mind. I wanted someone to know I was
having difficulty, but I was well out of earshot and the shore was receding at an alarming rate. I was
in trouble, big trouble. 1 ripped off my earphones and tossed them into my bag. I began padding furiously. The once enchanting sea was now very frightening. The surface was choppy. The wind whipped
up a series of hostile little waves that I had to fight against. I began to think of my loved ones. Dad and
mum would be shocked to find me in this part of the world. I had come to the holiday retreat without
informing anyone. No one would know where to look for me, least of all the coast of the Philippines. I
prayed desperately for God's help.
In spite of myself, I was momentarily mesmerized by the underwater sea life.
I saw a giant manta ray,
his huge wings oscillating. An electric blue starfish clung to the reef. A school of shimmering neon fish
darted nervously in and out of a cluster of sea anemones. Suddenly an enormous rainbow-speckled fish
appeared. With lightning speed, jaws open, it moved in for the kill and disappeared between the seaweed
with a gullet full of neon fish. I trembled at the sight of the incident. I prayed that a wave would not toss
me into the sea with these fearsome creature. The mere thought of them petrified me, I felt like crying,
something that I had never done a long time, even at the death of my grandmother a year ago.
After some terrifying twenty minutes, I threw down my paddle in exasperation. How was I going to
get out this mess ? I was moving at an alarming speed straight out to sea. All the distance I had just covered
had been in vain, I picked up the paddle and stroked furiously again, spurred on by my rising fear. Every
stroke now was in direct opposition to the current. The friction of the splintered wood paddle against my
soft hands had shredded my palms raw. I was in agony. The sun turned from primrose to flaming orange.
I had only one and a half hours before darkness. The thought of spending the night in the sea terrified me
more than ever, Death flashed past my mind.