andy’s english channel swim: august 2007


March 30, 2006

2006 03 30 13h00

Filed under: Uncategorized — andy @ 6:13 pm

We didn’t get very far this morning.

After a 03h30 phone call confirming that the swim was on, we met at the Harbour Island slipway in Gordon’s Bay, launched the boats at 05h15 and after a 30 minute ride in darkness, arrived at the starting point at Rooi Els.

After coating ourselves with layers of sunscreen & vaseline (for chafing), Ryan Stamrood & I were ferried from our boat to the beach by Pine, our paddler who would accompany us on a kayak and carry the shark shield, an electronic device which "discourages"  sharks from coming too close - see http://www.sharkshield.com/faq.php

We set off in relatively warm water of about 18% at a comfortable pace - it felt too slow for me, being accustomed to squad training sessions in the pool, but I was confident that Hugh - a very experienced open water swimmer - was setting a pace that he intended to maintain for the next 14 hours or 35 km.

 

Pic 1: leaving Rooi ELs at in darkness 06h30

Pic 2: swimming in formation next to the cage - a "sharkproof" metal cage attached to the yellow inflatable pontoons. Captain John at the helm. The nose of the red kayak carrying the sharkshield is visible at left. We stayed in close proximity to both of these - note Hugh closest to the cage. 

All went well until the first "feed" after half an hour - "sixty seconds only" as per the stern Mr Tucker - after which the conditions deteriorated progressively. The chop picked up and the jellyfish seemed to be going in the opposite direction to us at high speed - "with their air brakes on" one of the crew quipped. At the 2nd break after another half hour, Hugh & the navigators on the boat called the swim off. We had been swimming into a strong current, and had been making no headway - in factwe had been going backwards. We climbed back into the boats further from our destination than we had started!

Nothing left to do, but back to the harbour and a cup of coffee, before heading back to work for the rest of the day.