For most of my life, I spent a great amount of time in the Atlantic Ocean. From Cape Cod to the Jersey Shore, from Florida to...the other side of Florida. And I've been to the Caribbean, but I'm 90% sure that's not the Atlantic.
I've swam, used boogie boards, threw myself into waves without a care in the world. If I got knocked around a lil' bit, I always came up laughing hysterically, and jumped right back in.
The Pacific, though? Totally different story.
It's colder than the Atlantic, but it's still refreshing in the California sun. However, it's so, so, so much stronger and unforgiving. I went diving into one wave, and got chewed up and spit out. I didn't emerge happily, like in the past - nope. I was terrified.
For the past few days, there have been warnings on the waves in our area, due to hurricanes Lowell and Marie - off of Mexico. To my current knowledge, there have been two deaths in our county - one occurring the very same day we were at the beach. The US Coast Guard helicopters and boats were searching for two days - and tragically, did not find the missing 60 y/o male, who was body surfing. Oh - and while they were searching...people were still in the water - even small kids. That kind of struck me as weird.
Also, for the past few days, I've been out and about in our community, and heard people talking about the surf advisories. I've also heard multiple people talking like, "I've grown up here in this water, I know it well." And, each time, I've thought:
YOU ARE AN IDIOT.
The Pacific Ocean does not care who you are, how long you've lived here, what you do for a living, if you have a family, how awesome you are at surfing/swimming/bodyboarding or what you're doing this weekend. It has one job: kick the living sh** out of you. Because - I think humans like to think they're pretty powerful in the circle of life or whatnot, but when it comes to a huge, angry body of water...chances aren't good you'll win that battle.
And, it's not just oceans - please be careful, respectful and smart when it comes to lakes, rivers and pools. Especially this Labor Day weekend. And watch your kids - lifeguards aren't babysitters.
Happy Labor Day weekend y'all!