My iPhone 5s should NOT be working right now. It should have stopped working about 3:43 p.m. PST on 12.31.13.
There I was. Out on the rocks along Yosemite’s beautiful Merced River. I had my Canon 60D in one hand. My iPhone 5 S was in my shirt pocket. I’d moved out along the edge of the slow flowing river in search of a shot. There really wasn’t one and so I turned to go back to the car. We’d stopped later in the day. We were the only car at this point.
And the former Ms. Julie Nelson, who was with me, hadn’t gotten out with me. She was “napping” in the car. Tired from recent hikes and a busy week in the area. And so as I was making my way back, stepping atop this rock, quickly balancing and moving to the next I had gone about 15 feet and then … my balance turned back on the top of a rock and I knew immediately it was not going to go well.
Backwards I went.
Now having ridden mountain/dirt bikes and skated for years in Northern Michigan and then just dirt bikes in Atwater, CA as a kid, I’d taught myself some of the finer aspects of falling. You know, dropping, rolling, not landing on any one point so as to disperse the blow…. That sort of thing.
Thankfully, I was able to roll back into a sitting/laying position. And more thankfully, there were no pointed rocks. Just rounded ones and where I wound up sitting/laying in the river was more of a flattened rock. But when I hit, well, it wasn’t good. Part of my left side rolled into a small tributary of the river. I managed to keep the Canon in my right hand and above water level. But then I heard KERPLUNK. And I knew what that was. Still I checked my jeans pockets. Surely, I had just left my phone in my pants. My hand went into a part of the water where I thought I’d heard the sound. I was still on my back. I was already sore and already kinda worried I’d broken something. I was also very glad to know that I’d not banged my head, rendering me unconscious and causing me to roll into the water…. That very easily could have happened.
I called out for Julie at the top of my lungs. Still laying there on the rocks and partially in the water. I was able to look up enough to see the driver’s side window was partially opened. I yelled again. And again.
Finally, I decided it was okay to try to get up. But I had to ensure the Canon stayed dry. And I checked my pants again. Nothing.
I looked up, and Julie was now out of the car and I’d been able to get up onto my knees. My hands when into the same pool as before. Mud. Freezing cold water. No iPhone.
And then I saw it, as pretty as you please.
My iPhone 5 S was about 10 inches deep in crystal mountain clear freezing cold water. It actually was a pretty sight framed around the rocks and the crystal-clear water, and terrifying at the same time. iPhone 5Ss are not cheap to replace and there’s nothing Apple cares to do about wet phones except charge out the you know what for a new one.
In my hand went into the water, grabbing the phone.
About 10 steps closer to the shoreline, I’d rubbed it on what dry areas my pants had. And then I hit the top power button and to my surprise … the screen still worked.
A minute later I was trying to call Julie to see if a call would go thru. She could hear me. I couldn’t hear her through the built-in speaker. I put my headphones in and called my daughter. By that time Julie’d called to get dry rice ordered from Oakhurst.
When we got back to where we were staying, the phone went into the rice for a couple of hours. It’s been five days now and it shows no signs of anything wrong.
Now, I do keep my iPhone 5s in a plastic case. It’s not an OtterBox. It is not supposed to make the phone water proof, though in this case, it seems to have kept the SIM card area of the phone dry. I’ve not opened it to see if the inside dot is still white or red. If it’s working, why jinx it, you know?
I’ve spent the past few days reading forums and message boards about iPhones and there’s no other story like mine. I don’t mean to rub it in. I’m just saying that part of the answer might be having a case like this that clamps tightly around the SIM card area. The speakers all work right. The headphone jack and charger jacks are working like nothing even happened.
I don’t know the brand of this iPhone 5s cover, but it was about $30 and it fits snuggly on the phone and thankfully, kept it in part from getting ruined.
And yes, I know I’m quite lucky. In many, many ways.