Paracas, Peru Beach Weekend
On friday, we discovered the diverse and dazzling shorelines hidden within the Paracas National Reserve. What appears as a vast desert eco system quite suddenly melts into the most spectacular Peru beach we have seen yet.
Red, white, yellow, and black beaches hugging clear, turquoise waters that reflect breathtaking cliffs and dunes. These are local’s secrets if we have ever seen them. We had no idea our arrival would ultimately result in an ocean rescue.
It didn’t take us long to claim our spot near the center of Yumaque Beach. A quiet, remote playa uncluttered of crowds. The beach pulled us in and held us tight, as if we belonged there.
We hadn’t planned to stay in this reserve, it wasn’t even on our radar. But, the world had bigger plans. And as we always say, listen to the universe when it takes you by the hand and leads you in specific way.
We basked in the sun for three delightful days. And the evening of our third night, we sat by the bonfire debating a longer stay. The serenity of the sunset glow was quite suddenly shattered by screams and panic at the other end of the beach.
From Paradise to Panic
My husband, Carlos quickly made sense of the chaos and leapt from his seat in the sand. The kids and I grabbed hands and ran behind him as he explained the scenario. There was a drowning in progress. A few people trapped out at sea, caught in swirling currents near the cliffs. They were quickly losing strength and soon the ability to stay afloat.
The kids and I stood stunned and motionless, as Carlos dove into the sea. A small crowd of onlookers gathered at the shore, perhaps even family and friends. Half were silent in their terror, and half adamantly calling out for help.
Nico started to shake and babble, asking if Daddy was going to drown, too. Mabelle was pretty quiet, wishing whispers of hope for both Daddy and the kids struggling in the sea. I promised them that Daddy wouldn’t drown. Convincing them and myself, and the atmosphere…that it was the truth.
I told them that I knew he wouldn’t be out there if he believed he wasn’t capable.
An Ocean Rescue
We watched his silhouette approach the three bobbing heads in the ocean. It was hard to see what was happening, but we knew he had someone in his arms. Finally, he parted from the group, tugging one person with him. As they started the fight against the current, a wave runner came up from the other side.
As the driver was pulling the other two people out of the water, the machine flipped over in the currents. Everyone on the beach gasped in horror. But, the wave runner quickly recovered and sped off with those two who were rescued.
I didn’t see where they went or what happened next, my eyes were glued to Carlos and the girl he was pulling in. Someone had sent them a donut shaped floatie and he was pushing the girl in past the waves and towards the beach.
Finally, they emerged. The girl collapsed in sobs into the arms of a woman on the shore.
I grabbed my husband by the hand and we left the others to their private moments. All three people had been saved and thankfully no lives were lost to the ocean this time.
Reflections on Life and a Hero
To me, my husband was a hero that day. I am sure to the others, he was, too. What would have happened if we had not been there, if HE had not been there? The thoughts are too painful to imagine. But, we know that we were there on that day for a very special purpose. For my husband to help a family, as he hopes another would help ours.
In the end, this is what matters. To remain united, to always help others, and to forever love a stranger as much as you would a neighbor. And for you my love, my Carlos. I am so, so proud of you in expanses far greater than any words can hold. Thank you for who you are, and for all things you do, great and small. This one was a biggie and it shows what a kind, brave soul you are.