Everybody has a story about when the SHTF for them and I thought it would be interesting to share. Maybe we can learn something from other people’s adventures. On Monday I posted about my mini-adventure in the woods of Canada. No real danger there, but still a pretty stupid thing to do.
Now let me tell you a story about a time when Darwin almost caught up with me…
Imagine if you will a young Marine on deployment down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back in the early ’80’s. Or GITMO as we used to call it in the Corps. We always set up on a place called Cable Beach and it was actually a pretty cool place for a young Jarhead to be. We’d get up at 0600 in the morning and PT (exercise), then off to some kind of adventure training such as shooting M2’s, M-60’s, LAAW Rockets, running fun combat courses, or whatever. There was plenty of stuff to do. Then at 1630 the beer wagon would roll in, we’d have final formation, and it was party time the rest of the night. Oh, there were a few night missions, but for the most part it was a pretty good gig. Two weeks to a month of that then back to the states.
Well, a friend and I decided to make our way around the point leading off cable beach by following the base of the cliff. We wanted to get to the next bay, which meant either climbing a mountain or walking around the point. Having made our decision we grabbed enough beers to sustain us and headed off. (Check out this video I found of some military guys hanging out at Cable Beach. The area I’m talking about is near where they are in the first few minutes of the vid. Right at 1:50 is sort of what we ran into, but rougher. Side note: around this time they spot a helicopter and when you see the bird look down and to the right and you’ll see more cliffs there. We used to jump off those for fun!)
It was pretty rough going and as we got around the point (maybe 3/4 of a mile or so from camp and well out of sight of it) we noticed the tide was coming in. Fast. We talked for a minute and decided to keep going as fast as we could. We rounded the point and soon came to a spot where the “trail” ran out. We’d been following a kind of hollowed-out path at the base of the cliff that was probably created by the tide and suddenly we came to a spot where the bottom rock that made up the trail just disappeared for at least 30 feet.
We looked at each other for a second and I was just getting ready to ask if he could swim when a large wave came in and swept us off the rocks and pulled us out into the bay. We came up gasping and sputtering, totally devoid of beer, and I looked at him and yelled, “Swim for it!” The shore was probably 200 yards away and the water was as rough as anything I’ve ever swam in.
Luckily we could both swim. I finally managed to get close enough to a big rock for the waves to push me up onto it. The first time I got dragged off, but the second I managed to hold on. I picked up some cuts on my arm and the scars stayed with me for years, but at least I was alive and out of the water. My friend came aboard on the next wave and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was exhausted. He started to get pulled back out to sea, so I reached down and grabbed him by the hair (that’s all that was available.) He reached up and grabbed my arm and we both managed to hold on until the wave receded and I could pull him the rest of the way up on to the rock.
We stood there for a minute getting our breath back. At that point we were pretty close to shore and it was the matter of a fifteen second swim before we were both safe and on shore. Exhausted, but alive. We still had to climb the damned mountain to get back to camp, but we were young and – for some reason – still alive.
We were fortunate in that we survived, but as you can read here that’s not always the case.
I’ll let you draw the obvious conclusions about what we could have done different, but basically we got lucky.
To be honest I’ve got about fifty stories like this and I’m not exactly sure why I’m still here, but I am!
So how about it? Any of you have some SHTF stories you’d like to share?
Sound off below!