Not that I think it was the Loch Ness or anything like that. I mean I was under water, and swimming in salt water, so it could have been clouding my vision. The salt water is hard on my eyes and it always takes a while to adjust and for the initial sting to go away. Yet, it wasn’t the usual life in the water, like a seal or an otter. It certainly wasn’t a whale. And it was absolutely not a jelly fish or an octopus. It was….well, I don’t know what the heck it was! That’s the problem.
I’ve never felt uncomfortable swimming in Puget Sound. I love the salt water, the cold invigorating temperature that snaps a person right to attention, just in case one was tempted to fall asleep as if in a nice warm bath. That will never happen in the waters surrounding the Puget Sound. Yet, in the same vein, one will never encounter a strange, large, unidentifiable…what should I call it?…a sea creature. Right?
There I was with the only other people on the beach being the neighbors who were out wake boarding. I new if I panicked I would most likely drown so I swam strong and steady, straight to shore. At one point I know it touched my leg. It was that leathery feeling of a dolphin, but I knew that wasn’t what it was.
I’d swam out to our boat buoy simply for someplace to swim to. It’s quit a ways but that’s the point. I’m always trying to challenge myself and get a little exercise. On that particular day, I decided to wear swim fins, something I don’t normally do, but am so grateful I did. It’s amazing how fast a person can swim wearing those fins.
Anyway, I got to the buoy, noticing how covered the line was with mussels, when something black and very long swam past me. It gave me the creeps. I didn’t normally see anything but possibly a seal in the distance. Nothing ever came close. I almost screamed but decided to save my breath and get to shore, telling myself it was probably nothing more than an otter or a seal. No more than thirty seconds later I felt it behind me. I spun around in the water and came face to face with…I don’t know what. It’s head was at least the size of mine but the neck was very long. It was towering over me and had solid black eyes that scared me to death. This time I did scream.
The creature flipped it’s head backward and it’s whole body followed. It had short arms as an alligator has and as it rolled backwards it exposed a bright red underside. The tail alone was at least as long as me and it was thick, slapping the water hard when it came down.
It was all I could do to aim for shore, close my eyes, and swim with everything I had. I knew if I saw it again, I’d be paralyzed. Somehow, I made it. I stumbled out of the swim fins and ran up the beach, scrambled over the pile of logs and threw myself over the bulk head onto our little patch of lawn. Then I collapsed onto the grass and tried to calm my heart by breathing steadily and slowly. I turned my eyes to the water watching for the creature to show it’s head again, but it never did.
When I pulled myself together and thought I could talk, I went to the neighbors to wait for their boat to return. Soon they came back, swinging a wake boarder close to the swim platform. I waved and they came close to shore. I’d stopped crying and felt somewhat composed so I asked if they’d noticed something odd swimming around out there. They hadn’t. I said I’d maybe seen something weird, like, I didn’t know what, but not anything normal. They smiled and then laughed like I’d told a good joke and went back out to wake board. I didn’t try to stop them.
After all, who knows what it was that I saw? One things for sure; I’m not going back out there any time soon.