Quick-Thinking Strangers Form Human Chain, Save 3 Struggling Swimmers

Beachgoers rallied together and formed a human chain to save three people who were caught in rough waters off Kauapea Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai last week.

According to local newspaper The Garden Island, trouble started when a 42-year old Austrian man appeared to be in trouble 30 yards off shore.

A nearby hiker, Adrian Nicholas, wrote on his Facebook page that he heard a “faint cry of help" before jumping into the water to assist the struggling man. "Next thing I know," Nicholas wrote, "we are both being pummeled by huge surf."

According to a statement from the county of Kauai, a 50-year old Kauai woman who tried to help was also swept out.

“With all of us exhausted it was a very scary situation,” Nicholas wrote in a comment on the county of Kauai’s Facebook page.

That’s when onlookers banded together in an effort to rescue all three.

By the time Kauai firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw that about a dozen people had locked arms together, forming a human chain from the water to the shore.

The group was able to rescue the two men, and two firefighters saved the woman, according to the county’s statement.

Kauapea Beach is known for its rough water, strong currents and harsh shore breaks, especially in the winter when surf is big on the north shore. A high surf advisory was in effect for north- and west-facing shores at the time.

“Rip currents are extremely dangerous and difficult to detect,” Fire Chief Robert Westerman said in a statement. “The quick-thinking and cooperation of this group of strangers likely saved three people from drowning on Tuesday.”

The two Kauai residents were treated on the scene and, although the Austrian man was transported to Wilcox Hospital with signs of exhaustion, everyone is expected to recover completely.

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Lifeguards can only move so fast in water. And tossing a struggling swimmer a life preserver may mean the difference between life and death, but few if any lifeguards are Olympic-champion discus tossers, so it helps to have an alternate way to get that preserver there. via Pocket
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Life Outside the Tank

This morning, I read a story about a man who set about to clean his fish tank. He filled the bathtub with water, transferred the fish, and went to work on the green slime that had grown on the glass walls of the tank. When the job was done and he returned to the tub to fetch the fish, he found them huddled in one corner of the tub in an area roughly the size of their tank. An eerie thought came to him. Had these fish grown so accustomed to life in the tank that the freedom of a larger space was no longer of any interest to them? Then another thought: in what ways was he living his life like this? In what tank was he living?

I began recovery from codependence and addiction over a year ago now. In-patient treatment, 12-step programs, and therapy combined helped me to build a tank of my own where I, like a struggling swimmer rescued from the open ocean, could be removed from the busy blue waters of the sea. There, in the translucence of my glass walls, I found my own reflection and, over time, have developed a relationship with that person where previously I had none. One key tenant of 12-step is that, for one to enjoy the freedom and serenity which one finds in working the program, one must continue to work it every day from then on out, one must stay in the tank. Imagine the confusion and hesitancy I felt when, as 2014 drew to a close, I began to grow more and more aware of the confines of the tank I’d called home.

If I had been writing this a year ago, there would be no talk of god. I had faith in little outside my own willfulness, to say nothing of god, and the idea itself was heavy with anger and fear. From a very young age ‘He’ (as was the article employed by the Christian church of which my family was a part) was one thing, detailed in the Good Book, and seemingly without room for interpretation. I did not have the experience of coming to a personal understanding of the divine, that is, until this year. I won’t wax poetic in describing my own beliefs. This is, after all, about the questions of Life; this one in particular need not be answered here. Suffice it to say that, having entered into a personal conversation with the numinous and eternal energy that I began to perceive, I was surprised when I felt compelled to move away from the tank of 12-step and group therapy.

Many suggested that I was finally feeling the benefits of working the program and that this was no time to stop, for the feelings would surly atrophy. Others questioned whether fear was leading me away from the group and I heard their own fears shaping their words. As an INFP, I have a particularly deep sense of self-awareness and recovery has opened me to the practice of fierce self-honesty. I could sense neither fear nor temporary bliss drawing me on; I could tell that, with each passing day, the walls of the tank grew more present around me. Eventually, I did something I hadn’t done in a very long time; I followed my heart. Even though no one understood, even though I could offer them no logical explanation as to why, I have followed the small, still voice within that said, “Go and be with yourself.”

There is a poem by Derek Wolcott, which holds particular significance to me now, called “Love After Love”. It follows.

The time will come 
when, with elation, 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.