Thank you for saving my life

Nadine Moultrie and family, Hout Bay

Sunday January 9 was my 12-year wedding anniversary, and it was almost my last.

My husband, my children and I had just come back from a three-month tour around the South African coast. To celebrate our anniversary, we arranged to meet up with some family friends that we hadn’t seen in three months.

We were so excited to all see each other that we immediately dropped our things and played a game of family cricket on the beach, excited to have a swim afterward.

Although I noticed the lifesaving flags designating the safe swimming area, I didn’t register what they meant. I’m usually incredibly strict with my family about swimming between the flags. I’ve witnessed a man drown on Glencairn Beach before, and thinking about it still makes me ill.

But I was so completely besotted with the sight of our friends, our anniversary and the beauty of our city that I didn’t even register the flags when my friend and I went out for a swim.

The moment we went in, a set came in and after a few waves, I realised that this wasn’t a comfortable space for me. The pull-back felt too strong. I suddenly couldn’t feel the sand beneath my feet anymore.

I tried to catch a few waves in, but after a few of those and not moving an inch, I realised I was in trouble.

I panicked for a moment, and then it dawned on me that I was in a rip current.

Thankfully, we often talk to the kids about what to do in this situation, so I was able to calm my mind and think.

I signalled to my friend that I needed help and started swimming alongside the shoreline. She immediately called my husband and aimed for the lifesavers, but they were already on it. Within minutes, they were there. I was incredibly relieved to see them because by then I was too tired to swim and was just treading water.

They immediately got me onto a board and started paddling in. I knew a dunk with a wave was inevitable, but, thankfully, I wasn’t so tired that I couldn’t hold my breath.

When we did eventually get dunked and tumbled around under the water, I felt a hand grab my foot and hold on tightly. I mean wow! Even in that moment they still managed to hold onto me in case I wasn’t okay.

I’ve never been so happy to see my family and so thankful to two perfect strangers. A massive thank-you to the strapping lads who helped me.

Thank you for putting yourselves at risk to come and save me. I’m incredibly grateful and not even sure how to express it adequately. I don’t even know your names, but you know who you are. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to spend more years with my husband and my wonderful children.

Thank you, Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club.