SINK OR SWIM

I would like to tell you about something important, something our family has been involved in, and something that is pivotal in the story of Paul Clarke and his family.

If you have read  my previous posts you will know I live in New Zealand.  To be precise Auckland City, which is located in the boringly named North Island.  My country consists of two main islands, and numerous smaller islands which all sit smugly in large bodies of water separating  us from our neighbours .   Chances are, if you were to walk in any given direction, you would eventually find  yourself either on the shores of  the Pacific Ocean or the Tasman Sea.

Therein lies the problem.  We love the water. We compete in numerous water related sports, fish in it, ski on it, surf in it and swim in it.  But often we are complacent when it comes to our preparation and safety.  Our populations is comprised of many intelligent, sensible individuals, and, well, quite frankly some that are not so sensible or intelligent!

Take the day the nameless member of our family found a group of ill prepared, drunk  fishermen hanging on to a buoy. In front of them  the hull of their tiny boat disappeared to its watery grave.   The circumstances were not that unusual.  What made this particular rescue stand out?  The individuals were hugging their fuel can and sucking nervously on cigarettes, while they clutched  the slippery surface of their plastic island.

Another rescue that comes to mind involved  tourists.  They were visiting our shores and armed with a high powered launch. They had   “beached” on an isolated island  as the sun sunk over the horizon.  Coastguard were greeted by raucous laughter, and a broken English request for a map and directions to enable them to walk home.   To the best of my knowledge only one human has succeeded in walking on water.

Many of the incidents the nameless member of my family experienced in Coastguard were neither  amusing, nor had positive outcomes.  Coastguard New Zealand is  a volunteer organization, and their crews are located throughout New Zealand.  In no way does that mean they are unprofessional.  Their training is long and extensive, and the  rescue boats are equipped with an impressive amount of medical, and safety gear to cope with most on water emergencies.

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Maraetai 1. This crew works close to Waiheke Island, home of The Quilt, Unravelled.

The Quilt, Unravelled by Rochelle Carlton.  Available on Kindle and paperback.

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