My goal this morning to swim 8,000 yards was quickly washed away into a goal for survival.
We started our swim like any other dark early morning swim with our lights and, for some reason, we had all decided to wear a little extra neoprene...
The initial analysis.
As we swam from La Jolla shores towards the cove, we noticed that the water was strong, and the swells were large, but nothing I had not swam in before. The closer we got to the cove, the more apparent it became that it was too dangerous to enter. One of us decided to continue, and made it safely into the beach, but as we followed a wall of water crashed over us.
Realizing what was happening, I quickly put my hand to my head and took I deep breath. Nearly losing my goggles and cap, I yelled to my pod to turn around. While trying to get my gear back on, and waiting for our other swimmer to return safely from the cove, we barely made it over another wall of water that crashed down on him. Fortunately, he dove down just in time to avoid the crash. My biggest fear was that one of us was going to get caught up in a crashing wave and hit the rocks below.
A rapid marine layer.
Then suddenly, I hear my other swim buddy yelling at us to swim quickly. Within minutes, a thick fog had rolled in over us and we had lost all reference points to guide us back. As we started swimming to where we thought the shore might be, we realized that we were not going anywhere — we were swimming in circles and zigzags.
Strategically following the elements.
At that point we decided to stop every hundred yards to regroup. Sometimes we could see a light and it would remind us we were going in the wrong direction. What helped guide us back was being able to hear the waves crashing on our right, and being able to see an ever so slight aura — the rising sun in the east.