Sometime in the summer of 1975, in an effort to help someone else I overestimated my fitness and almost died. Point Roadnight is a beautiful beach a couple of kilometres past Anglesea, there is a carpark with a short path down to the right side of the beach. I assume it is still much the same though it is many years since I last stopped there. At that time I had a beautiful girlfriend, she was 19, big brown eyes, long dark hair, large breasts, long legs.... well I could go on but I am sure you get the idea. Being a typical self absorbed 19 year old male I took life as it came and never quite realised how fortunate I was.
Well it was one of those great summer days not too hot, not too windy, just right for the beach and a bit of bodysurfing. We had settled ourselves about a 100 metres down the beach and were lolling around, when a group of what in those days were called 'New Australians'came down from the carpark and set up in front of the carpark, there were maybe two or three families with a number of children. Where they laid their towels seemed to most people nearby an unusual choice, there is a shallow reef running almost straight out from the beach there, it is exposed at low tide. There was also a large sign saying not to swim in this location as there are dangerous rips. It was around this sign that they had laid their towels and picnic gear around.
I wasn't the only one who noticed this and several people were watching the group. What could we do? If someone had gone over and advised them to move down the beach, they probably would have been abused or even physically threatened us, the people had a southern meditteranean appearance and probably would not have recieved advice well. So nothing was said.
Tthe children in the group were eager to swim, however they had to eat first. After the group had sat down and eaten, the parents stood the children up and sent them into the water, sure enough there was a strong rip that day and within a few seconds it was obvious that the children were being dragged out from the shore. There were I think five children, as the rip ran along the edge of the reef two children managed to swim to it and get out of the water, which left three in trouble. A man aged somewhere in his twenties ran in the water and started to swim out to the other children, without thinking I did the same. We got to two children who weren't far out and helped them onto the reef, where by this time other people had started to gather. We then swam out to the last child who by this stage was about a 100 metres offshore. We got to the child - funny I can't remember if it was a girl or a boy, and taking it in turns started to bring the girl (I think it was a girl) back to shore.
We had to head for the shore as the current had taken us someway from the reef. After about five minutes we were about 5 metres from the shore when I suddenly realised that I could go no further, I had no strength left at all, my arms and legs were useless and I was having difficulty keeping my head above water. The other man took the child to shore and I tried to get there. It was a terrible feeling I could feel the sand beneath my feet, yet I had not the strength to stand up and the undertow was starting to pull me back out. My girlfriend was standing on the shore about five metres away looking at me in the water. I waved at her for help, she smiled and waved back!. Fortunately she realised that something was wrong, she waded out to me and took some of my weight, the water was only up to her waist, but I was too weak to stand on my own. She helped me to the shore where after I rested for ten minutes I felt fine again.
As for the kids who were dragged out, well their parents took them back to the picnic spot yelled at them and continued the picnic. They pointedly ignored everone who helped and ate their food and drank their drinks. Not a skerrick of concern for the kids or anyone else, I hope I have never been as uncaring or as selfish as those people that day.
As for the beautiful girlfriend, well perhaps when I look at the way I acted towards her I was a selfish uncaring person without realising it at the time. She found better things to do without me.