John's Adventures

Hello! I'm John Grayson and I hope you enjoy reading of my adventures as much as I enjoy participating in them. I am one of those technology professionals whose interests lie outside of technology. Instead of checking out techie stuff, I check out history, nature, sports, and alcohol. Have Fun!

Monday, September 20, 2004


A Boozehound Rescue

Here are the details on my adventure of Wednesday, September 15th.

I had already been in the ocean twice that afternoon. The water was fairly rough the first time out with waves about 4ft high and they were fairly strong for waves of that size. There is a nice sandbar out maybe 10 yards from the beach and it's a tough swim to get to because of the rough water. I spent about an hour on the sandbar body surfing the waves. I was tired and came back to the beach to rest.

A while later I went back in and the water was much rougher. The waves didn't grow in size but they grew in strength and intensity. I was worn out after catching one wave and decided it wasn't worth the fight to catch a second wave so I swam back to the beach.

After resting for a while 2 of the women on the trip decided to go in for a swim. These were Rebecca L. and Rebecca M. I was watching a thunderstorm rage to the north. It wasn't raining where I was and I couldn't hear the thunder, but I could see lightning and rain.

I started getting myself organized to walk up to the house (I thought I was done swimming for the day). I was going about my packing up slowly and that's when I heard someone scream my name. At the time I didn't know who it was, but it wasn't a friendly scream and it was behind me (I was faced north watching the storm). I turned to the south and looked into the water.

Rebecca M. was in the water between the beach and the sandbar, but Rebecca L. was way out on the sandbar. Both had ridden south on a longshore current between the beach and sandbar. What they didn't realize though was that at some point they would meet a northbound longshore current and at that point a strong rip current would drag them east (towards open
water and Africa).

Immediately I threw off my shirt, hat and sunglasses and ran down the beach to where they were. Ben was running along beside me, and I assumed the other guys were following along behind. I dove into the water first and reached Rebecca M. She wasn't happy with her situation, but I knew going in that Rebecca L. was not going home with us if I stopped to save Rebecca M. The other three guys on the trip (Ben, Mike, and John C.) struggled with her, but eventually were successful.

I used the rip current to my advantage and reached Rebecca L quickly. Everyone on the beach was amazed at how quickly I got out that far. Part of it is my swimming ability, but most of it was the strength of the current. I now have to fight against this current for survival.

Surprisingly, Rebecca L. was not panicked. She was scared, and relieved that I had been able to get out so quickly. Upon reaching her I realized just how bad things were though. The waves had grown to about 6 feet tall, and were coming in on us in a set of 3. I fought the current until I was able to stand again. Now the sandbar would be my ally. I walked the two of us up the landward edge of the sandbar and attempted to swim back to the beach. No luck, I was too worn out to swim for both of us and at this point she wasn't much help. Back to the sandbar.

The sandbar wasn't all that friendly either. Each time the set of waves came in the water would knock us down and then sweep us back out to sea where I would have to fight the current to regain the sandbar. After several of these episodes I began to wonder how I would ever get back to the beach.

On the beach a crowd was beginning to form. I saw several people jump in the water attempting to reach us with boards of different sorts but so far nobody was able to cross to the sandbar. Part of me hoped one would make it, but at the same time I wasn't sure what I would do with a third person to keep above water.

Through all of this Rebecca never left my side. From the time I reached her I kept a tight grip on her hand and several times held her close to me to help her stay above water. One time after the set knocked us about she used me to stay above water, but the downward pressure she used to stay up kept me under for quite a while.

We'd been there for a while (I have no sense of how much time elapsed from scream to safe arrival on the beach). I knew the sandbar to the north extended for a while, but I had no idea how far the sandbar stretched to the south. Also, because I didn't have time to think about the rescue attempt before jumping into the water, I didn't know how wide the rip current was. The general rule for getting out of a rip current is to go to the side and you will get out of it. In this case I didn't know which side I was closest to, but I did know that I had a level sandbar to the north.

Rebecca was willing to give it a try so we started walking north. We never made it out because the set of waves came through and knocked us about again. We tried again, and again met with the same result. Now I was really beginning to wonder how this adventure would end. I knew I
could not get both of us off the sandbar, but I was sure I could get myself off. At the same time though how do you abandon someone you just gave so much hope to?

Again the set destroyed us and I had to fight the current to get back to my previous position on the sandbar.

At some point Mike decided he had watched long enough and made another attempt at swimming out to us. He took a bogie board from a family that was on vacation and started out with conviction. He says he just felt like he'd seen enough and wanted to get something that would float even better then me out there. I saw him in the water, and he wasn't far away.

He made it out to the sandbar and now I transferred Rebecca to the bogie board. I held onto the side. Stupidly I didn't keep standing and right away we were swept back out to sea. With Mikes help this time we got back to the sandbar, and this time I planted my feet. When the set came through we fought our way back to the sandbar. Sometimes I lost my grip and had to swim back to the board, but it was more or less restful.

Again, I have no idea how much time passed, but after a while we heard sirens approaching. Sure enough a rescue team had been called. They drove up the beach and launched a power boat in the surf. They had trouble seeing us in the rough water, but after several passes they pulled up along side and Rebecca was loaded. They came by again and I climbed in. Now it was only Mike in the water, but he was attached to the bogie board.

The boat went straight for the beach and a rescue swimmer swam out to Mike to help him get back to the beach.

That's about it. We drank a large amount of the Atlantic Ocean. She was bruised a bit. All made it out safely.


Outter Banks, NC

The Baltimore Boozehounds went on vacation to Rodanthe on the Outter Banks. We rented the Sea Peck (or Sea Pecker) for a week of playing on the beach and drinking a lot of whatever we could get our hands on.

It's a decent drive from Maryland without the added fun of a bridge being closed. Somehow, a boat captain had crashed his boat into the last bridge I need to cross to get to Rodanthe. Word was passed from car to car down the line that it would be at least an hour before it could be determined if the road was safe to drive on.

Ok, what do you do now? Well, if you're me you wander around aimlessly for a few minutes, then you stretch out in the road for a nap. After all, it was dark and if cars started to drive past me I figured the noise would wake me up.

Someone had other plans for me though. I was awakened by an older man looking for a cell phone to borrow. He just wanted to warn people waiting for him that it might be a while before he made it to the house. Oh well, I had been asleep for more then half and hour and a few minutes after the gentleman left the bridge was opened to traffic.

We spent the week doing exactly as planned. During the day we played on the beach and in the surf. There were several games of football, volleyball, and horseshoes. At night we had bonfires and fireworks on the beach with an assortment of beverages. Our last night we went to bed at about 2 AM and that was the earliest any of us saw our eyelids for the whole week.

I had an adventure on Wednesday. There were several other players involved and the details of this adventure will be given in my next post.


America's Stonehenge

On the last day of the trip to New Hampshire we stopped for a quick visit of America's Stonehenge. We had about an hour to kill before going to the airport and Ben found this place on the map near the town of Salem, NH. It turns out this is where the oldest known man made structures in the country are found. Some of the artifacts date to about 4,000 years ago.

We enjoyed the hike up the the site, and the self guided tour through the ancient village was interesting too. We completed the short hike and tour in about an hour and enjoyed it. We skipped the introductory film so I can't comment on it.


White Mountains Hike

In the first week of September I went up to New Hampshire to hike for 3 days in the Presidentail Range. My friend Ben came with me on this trip. We both flew from Baltimore to Manchester, NH and then drove up to North Conway. Parts of this trip were paid for using my loyalty programs. I travel a lot for work so the hotel room on the first and last nights were free curtesy of Holiday Inn, and the rental car was reduced by $200 curtesy of American Express.

We hiked up the Crawford Path and then over to the Mitzpah Springs Hut on the first day. We had reservations at the hut so we dropped the heavy packs and then hiked over to Mt. Jackson. The next day we hiked north along the ridge visiting Mt. Pierce, Eisenhower, Franklin, and Monroe before arriving at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut.

The weather was deteriorating throughout the day and it was supposed to be worse the next day so we left the heavy packs at the hut and hiked to the summit of Mt. Washington. The summit was completely surrounded by clouds and the wind gusts were in 50 mile per hour range. Nasty up there, but at least it wasn't raining.

The next morning we woke up to worse weather at the hut. We already had plans to hike down to Mt. Eisenhower and then down to the car we had parked at the end of the Edmands Path. We started off hiking through rain, fog, and high winds. We were making good time though.

Ben took a picture of me that day. I usaully wear my shorts 360 days a year. In this picture, I'm wearing full length long pants with a rain/wind proof shell, a rain/wind proof jacket, and a wool hat. I considered wearing gloves too, but talked myself out of it. Anyway, it got a lot warmer when we reached the tree line and not much later I was removing the outer layers.

The rest of the hike was uneventful, and we made it down to the Muddy Moose in North Conway for cheeseburgers!


Getting Started

This is my first post, and hopefully will serve as a quick introduction.

I'm John and I'm 34 years old. For work I am a Project Manager for a large technology company. I worked my way up from Computer Technician to Network Administrator to Senior Consultant, and now I lead technical projects. For the most part, this my employment.

The rest of my life is much better (and hopefully yours is too!). I leave work and mostly enjoy the outdoors. I go hiking frequently. I am a Revolutionary War re-enactor. I'm involved with team sports and play for the Baltimore Boozehounds of the Baltimore Sports and Social Club.

Anyway, that's me. Work hard and play hard.

Have Fun,


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