Today was an exceptionally bright and clear day with sunny skies and the so-called Foehn wind wheather phenomenon, which made for temperatures around 7° Celsius (44F). As announced in my previous post, I went back to Woerthsee to go skating some more. Of course, I was going to be careful and stayed clear of the area, where I had dipped my toe the day before. As a result of the Foehn condition, there were high winds across the lake, so some skate-sailers had come out and enjoyed sunny skies and high speeds from the wind blowing across the lake. It was awesome!
I headed into the direction of the far end, as I came across a little gathering of people. I turned to look and assumed them to be drinking hot wine together or having a chat or something, when I suddenly noticed something odd about this scene: A sail from one of the skaters was to be seen between them and overlooking them at an awkward angle. I skated a little closer in order to check out, what was going on, when one person broke away from the small crowd and starting running towards the bank. I turned my head the other way and now noticed, what I had been overlooking in the blazing sunlight: A firetruck, a police-car and an ambulance were parked at the bank, with the signal going. The lady started yelling at them and pointing towards the crowd in the middle of the lake. "He's there, he's been in there for a while - are you listening?!"
Shoot - the guy had broken into the ice with his skateboard, sail and all. Since help was there, I continued on to make my lapse, trying to get out of their way. Like yesterday, I stayed close to the bank, in the shallower areas, which - with one exception - had proven to be safe. I made it about two thirds of the way to the far end, when I notice two skaters in the middle of the lake, between two large areas of open water. They were too far out to be warning them by shouting and while I was thinking, what I could do, I noticed a police helicopter approaching very fast. They came very close to those two skaters and only about 8 feet above the surface. "Attention! This is the police. Please evacuate the ice surface immediately, as several individuals were reported breaking into the ice. Please adhere to our instructions immediately". This continued in several areas of the lake, including where I was skating. I was not quite sure right away, whether I should do as they said, because night temperatures had been very low and I gathered the surface being solid in those areas that hadn't been in broad sunlight all day. But the experience yesterday along with actually people falling into the water had sort of busted my confidence, so I decided to turn around to get off the lake.
On the way back, I came past that spot with the skate-sailer again, and apparently water-rescue had taken over. But they still seemed to be busy with rescuing the guy or getting his equipment out of the water or something. This had been going on for well over 30 minutes and I have no idea, how long the guy had been in there when I first came to this spot. However, as I came past them again, they seemed to have finished "fishing" for equipment and the guy had apparently already been taken care of earlier, as there wasn't a person to be seen on a stretcher and in blankets or something like this. There was a small group just walking, two guys pushing the sleigh towards the bank and three of them sitting on the sleigh. As I wanted to do something to help, I approached them and offered to be pushing the sleigh, figuring that being on skates myself that should go faster. They had swimsuits on and although it was still sunny and warm, I figured them to be quite cold, having gotten into the water repeatedly.
The two guys, who had been pushing seated themselves on the thing, and two more of the guys walking joined them. We were about half a mile away from the bank.
I started out with powerful strides, but had to realize after about 100 meters that I wouldn't be able to keep that pace, as that thing carrying the six to seven people including the equipment must have weighed at least around 700 pounds - while my weight is somewhere around 150.
By the time we reached the bank, I had to realize to my greatest disappointment that my shape needs some serious "refurbishing" - I was panting, tasting blood in my mouth, lungs burning - ugh! But anyway, the important thing is that they had rescued everybody (I asked, of course) and that noone seemed to be in a serious condition (except me ;-)) And I take this experience of getting exhausted so quickly as a wake-up call to be focussing more on getting myself back into shape and building some stamina again - damn, that sucks...
What a day!