I grew up on the Isle of Wight. I wasn’t born there, but I moved there when I was about ten years old. I remember I went on an “adventure” with two of my friends. We had walked to a beach that was miles from our home town. It was starting to get late in the afternoon and they wanted to walk back home along the base of a huge chalk cliff but I strongly advised against it. I pointed out that it was getting late and that the tide would be coming in and we would get stranded out there. It was a good mile or two of ragged rocks with nowhere to go but forward. They didn’t listen to me. I didn’t listen to me. Stupidly I followed.
It got dark and as I had foretold the tide did come in. We did get stranded. It was pitch black. My friend, the one who came up with the idea, he said we had to go into the water, that it was the only way. We couldn’t turn back as the tide had blocked that way as well and we would be further from civilisation if we turned back and went the way we came. I started to panic because I thought I was going to drown. No one knew we were there. I kept imagining the news headlines: “Three teenage boys go missing on Island”, “Witnesses say they may be lost at sea”, “Body washes up on so an so beach, weeks after boys go missing”. I remember thinking we could have been dragged out to sea and never seen again.
My friend, he had to slap me around the face for me to calm down, I was hyperventilating.
We had to wade into the freezing, black sea water up to our necks, all three of us clinging to the side of the cliff. I remember being able to see the lights of the hotel that was on the other side of the bay. I remember thinking that I was so close to safety to die, that it felt like some sick joke if I did.
We did eventually reach dry land, clamoring our way up the smooth pebbled beach of Freshwater Bay. I told my friend I thought he was a dick, that this was the last time I was going on any of his stupid “adventures”.
I was soaked to the bone, the water in my shoes was squelching as I stormed off home. I was shaking and hugging myself, rubbing my arms to warm myself up.
Looking back, I actually rate it as a pretty exciting experience. I wouldn’t want to do it again though.