L’editor: Lessons learned in the lagoon

By Apple Parry

I wish I could tell you this story is being overdramatized, or that some of it was made up, but, this actually happened to me. It’s been pretty hard to talk about, but I’m finally ready to share it.
On March 9, 2019, my friend Maggie and I decided to go and enjoy the sun, not the warmth though, the weather in Bellingham is kind of bad.
We headed out to Clarke’s Point—if you ever need directions just have Clarke point it out. After admiring the view, we made our way down to the train tracks.
On one side of the train tracks, is a whole lotta bay. On the other side is a small lagoon connected to the land by large rocks, as most of the coastline is.
Maggie and I started climbing rocks to get further into the lagoon, avoiding mud, trying not to fall into the water, and constantly re-adjusting my backpack.
Once we found a suitable rock to relax on, we decide to sit and wait for the sun to set. While I’m sitting, I feel my back pack start to slip off of my shoulder.
When something like this happens, my brain defies the rules of time. I’m seeing everything in slow motion, already solving the problem, I know what to do.
It’s go time, baby.
My backpack flings itself off my arm at an ungodly speed, taking its rocky descent down. Leaving a trail of fire in its wake, my pack bounces off the ledge into the lagoon, hissing and steaming.
After exchanging shocked expressions with Maggie, I set down my phone (the only waterproof thing I own—thank god that didn’t fall in), took off my right shoe and sock, rolled my right pant leg up, and lowered myself to the base of the rock, mindful of the scorch marks.
My backpack is having a good swim, spinning around, you know, going crazy, filling up with water and whatnot.
My plan was to step this very convenient rock, and grab my backpack, no games, no distractions, I’m not here to mess around. I discovered said rock was about a foot deeper than I thought it was, by putting my entire leg in the water before I could stand on it.
With my plan out the window, and milliseconds wasting away, my backpack had drifted out of reach.
While distracted, my left knee decided to dip its toes in the water, get a little taste for itself. As soon as I realized I wasn’t going to get out of this dry, full send dude, I dove straight into that churlish lagoon.
As soon as I had a solid grip on my backpack, time started moving normally and so did the feeling of being in the bay in March.
In my cold induced shock, I strained to kick myself back to shore. After a few seconds of that, I wondered how deep I actually was… and stood up and walked out, buoyant pack in tow.
Then I had to walk all the way back up to my car, one soggy shoe, completely soaked.
Everything in my backpack survived the fall, my pride however, took temporary a hit.
All my change is still covered in salt, and my pennies are blue. Anyone who sees my coins will know.
I had two checks I needed to cash, all soaked. When I went to the bank and asked the teller if I could still cash them, she said, “yes, of course it’s just water damage, but you should really cash your checks as soon as you get them.”
That day I learned to wear both backpack straps, especially if I have the thought “I hope my backpack doesn’t fall off,” because sometimes it does.
Another thing to keep in mind is that depth perception is different through water. Not too different, but enough to throw off your whole rescue plan.
I also learned that Maggie is an incredibly patient and supportive friend, who helped me back onto the boulder, and started drying out my checks immediately.
The angel even gave me her sweat shirt to wear, and only laughed at me when I had already started. I couldn’t have gotten through this without my rock.
I haven’t been in salt water since, but this summer, bodies of water would be right to fear me. Justice will be served.

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