Learn to Swim

Lena had always wanted to see the sea. She had grown up in a landlocked country, surrounded by mountains and forests, but never by waves and sand. So when her aunts invited her to join them on a vacation to Croatia, she was overjoyed. She packed her bags, grabbed her passport, and boarded the plane with a smile on her face.

They arrived in Zagreb, a capital of Croatia, where they rented a car and drove to the coast. Along the way, they saw beautiful landscapes, historic towns, and cultural monuments. Lena was fascinated by everything, but she was most eager to reach the sea. They booked a hotel in a small seaside village, where they planned to stay for a week.

The next day, they decided to go on a boat tour that would take them to some nearby islands. Lena was excited to see the clear blue water, the white sandy beaches, and the colorful fish. She had brought her camera, her sunscreen, and her swimsuit. The boat tour was advertised as a fun and relaxing experience for swimmers only. Lena ignored this warning, thinking that it wouldn't matter. She was not a swimmer, but she was not afraid of water either. She had taken some lessons when she was younger, but she never practiced much. She figured she could just stay on the boat, or maybe dip her toes in the shallow water. She was wrong.

The skipper was a friendly man who spoke English fluently. He explained the itinerary, the safety rules, and the history of the islands. He also warned everyone to be careful when jumping into the water, as it could be deeper than it looked. Lena nodded along, but she didn't pay much attention. She was too busy taking pictures of the scenery, the wildlife, and the other passengers. She was having a great time, until they reached the first stop. The skipper anchored the boat at the small bay, where the water was calm and clear. He invited everyone to jump in and enjoy the swim. Lena looked at the water, and saw that it was indeed very clear. She could see the sand, the rocks, and the fish. She thought it looked shallow and safe. She felt a surge of confidence, and decided to jump in. She didn't realize that the water always magnifies things, and that the depth was actually more than two meters. She jumped in, expecting to touch the bottom with her feet. She didn't. She kept sinking, deeper and deeper, until she panicked. She tried to swim back to the surface, but she didn't know how. She thought she was going to die.

The skipper, who had been watching the passengers, noticed that Lena had jumped in without a life jacket. He also noticed that she didn't come back up. He quickly took off his shirt and jump into the water. He pulled her up within seconds. He asked her if she was OK, and she nodded weakly. He told her that she was very lucky, but very foolish also, and that she should never jump into the water without a life jacket, especially if she didn't know how to swim. He said that the water was not shallow, but deep, and that the sand was an optical illusion. He said that she could have drowned, and that he was glad that she didn't.

Lena felt a mix of emotions. She was grateful, but also ashamed. She thanked him, but also apologized. She realized that she had made a terrible mistake, and that she had put herself and others in danger. The skipper was kind, but firm. He said that he understood her curiosity, but that she had to be more careful. He said that the sea was beautiful, but also dangerous. He said that he loved the sea, but also respected it. He said that he wanted to share his passion with her, but that she had to learn some basic skills first. He said that he would teach her how to swim, if she was willing. Lena was surprised, but also intrigued. She looked at him, and saw that he was sincere. He was not angry, but concerned. He was not scolding, but encouraging. He was not a stranger, but a friend. She felt a spark of interest, and decided to accept his offer. She said yes, she would like to learn how to swim.

He smiled, and said that he was happy to hear that. He said that he would start with some simple exercises, and that he would be by her side the whole time. He said that he would make her feel comfortable, and that he would make her enjoy the water. Lena made it, not perfectly, but good enough.

After this experience, skippers always ask guests one by one are they swimmers or not regardless of the signs. If not, safety jacket must be wear all the time without exception.