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Helped Ashore by an Angel

A struggling snorkeler is pulled ashore by a mysterious stranger.

A mysterious snorkeler

Look at these fish! A fat one with a yellow back and white spots, so close I could touch it. A school of skinny silver minnows, glinting in the sunlight that penetrated the clear water. I couldn’t believe I’d never snorkeled before. What fun!

My husband and I were stationed overseas in Naples, Italy. A couple we’d met, Sonnie and Al, invited us to a secluded Mediterranean beach. “Joyce, you have to snorkel,” Sonnie urged.

“I’m not much of a swimmer,” I said.

“We’ll stay together, close to shore,” Sonnie said. “We’ll be there to help.”


Now I was glad she’d convinced me. Peering underwater at the strange fish and aquatic plants, I felt like an explorer in some alien world.

Then I looked up. Uh, oh. I could barely see my husband and Sonnie. I couldn’t see Al at all. I’d been so enchanted, I didn’t notice that the tide was coming in—fast, and I panicked.

A wave filled my breathing tube with water. My mask dislodged and fogged up. The fins on my feet seemed to pull me down. I flailed and gulped for air as another wave rolled in.

I was going down for the fourth or fifth time when a strong arm wrapped around me. “Don’t worry, I’m here to help,” a male American voice said. It must be Al, I thought.

In a moment, I was lying safely on the beach. My husband and Sonnie came running. “How’d you get to shore?” Sonnie asked.

“Your husband saved me,” I said.

“Al? He didn’t go in.” Al ran up, completely dry. I looked around. The others on the beach were all Italians who seemed not to notice anything had happened. Who had been my rescuer?

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