And the story behind the picture, taken by our own Steve Richardson:
Went today for some kayak fishing.
As always, before launching with my yak done some meteo-research. All looked more or less well. Strong winds from west, but went out in much stronger that the ones predicted, so thought that it is not the issue.
As I was launching in the harbour, noticed that waves are not large, wind is inshore, so - it all looked perfect.
Paddle for some time, dropped an anchor tied it to the stern of my yak and started clearing tackle to start fishing.
I didn't notice, that the rather heavy anchor that I use - a brake disc from SUV car, did not lock on the bottom and is just sliding through sand. Did not thought about the strength of the tidal current, and today was one of the biggest tides this year
I was preparing my tackle, when suddenly anchor locked itself on rocks, strong pull on the line and it broke from the mounting on stern, placing me side to the current. Kayak started twisting, I reached for the knife to cut the rope but - wave came and suddenly I was in the water. Just on my way to the water I managed to grasp some air, reach for a fly rod and paddle. And - there I was, in cold water rushing around me with the force of mountain river, current was just pushing me under the yak.
Instantly I realised, that this time I'm propably fighting for life, that it is the serious thing, beyond my (or propably anybody except of proffessional life boat crew man) abilities to handle.
Managged to reverse my yak, which was floating bottom up and then the anchor rope just snapped and as I noticed - I was just drifting away.
Droped a drift anchor, as the wind changed direction and was pushing me with the current to the open ocean.
Noticed guys on the golf field shouting to me, just managged to shout back "HELP".
I was able to place myself alongside of my yak, in propper, energy and heat saving posision. I got my phone, luckily waterproof and dial 112. When I reached the operator I was instantly switched to closest Irish Life Boats unit - just on the oposite shore of the bay. When I reached them I was told that help was on it's way, boat was and a helicopter would be heading in my direction and they can see me, so just to hold on.
The same were the guys on the shore shauting - "hold on, help is on its way!"
Long minutes passed and I started feeling very weak, I guess the stress, adrenaline, a gallon of swallowed sea water and cold were finally kicking in.
Than I've heard the sweetest sound that could be - a closing buzz of powerful outboard motor.
Very soon a RNLI RIB pulled aside. Guys asked me if I'm injured, how long am I in the water and if I'm able to move. No, 20 mins and yes were the answers. First thing I handled them my fly rod.
"Jaysus, you must really love this rod" one of them said and they pulled me to their boat, then my yak followed.
Instantly I was under a very proffesional care, guys were asking me series of questions to establish if I'm allright as I claimed and if I'm in need of any medical help. Luckily - the worst thing was the cold and a finger, that I squeezed a bit with paddle when trying to re-enter my yak.
Then I was transported back to the lauching point, two crew members jumped to the water, got me on my yak and walked me slowly to the shore. They were so nice that they even put and strapped my yak to the roof. It is surprising, how in a cold water muscles stop to respond - I will not be able to do it by myself.
To cut the story short - I owe them my life. Three brave volounteers that dropped everything that they were doing to help a human that they never seen before. The same goes to three golfers that saw what happened and react instantly.
It really feels good to be alive.