I learned to swim at age 17. Despite the late start, I got to be a pretty good swimmer. On two occasions my swimming ability almost got me in serious trouble.
One of the occasions was, I was on a cruise of the Channel Islands which included local residents, Tom Irwin and his father Harvey Irwin.
The cruise boat was anchored off one of the islands, not too far from shore and close to the end of the island. It was hanging on the anchor line parallel to the shore. That should have told me something, but it didn’t.
The shore boat was being loaded with people who were going ashore. They asked me if I wanted to board, and with a macho attitude, said, “No thanks, I have my own transportation.”
I was wearing swimming trunks and, because the water was pretty cold, I was wearing a wet jacket. After the boat left, I dove in and started swimming. Fortunately it wasn’t very far because as I was swimming I noticed that the island was moving past me. I was swimming in a pretty strong current, and it was carrying me toward the end of the island. I made it to the shore alright before I ran out of island but not with much margin.
If I had not made shore, I would have been carried out to sea and might never have been seen again.
The moral? When you see the boat hanging a certain direction on the anchor line, realize that indicates a current in that direction.
Further moral: Let the other people know want you are going to do, so they will go look for you if you don’t show.