Hey’all! Well I’m in Dover with Ben, Michael and James. We hunted out a suitable swimming venue this morning, finally deciding on Samphire Hoe. As it was low tide there was a lot of clambering over rocks and seaweed to get to water deep enough in which to swim: stumbling and falling over partially submerged slimy rocks equals much hilarity! We knocked out 1h 45m swimming, alternating between swimming with and into some pretty heavy tidal currents.
Samphire Hoe (pictured) is the starting spot for many channel swims and is an engineering feat. Finding themselves with a phenomenal amount of rocky waste from digging the English side of the Channel Tunnel, the constructors created a 1.7km long concrete wall then dumped all of the waste materials behind it: swimming along this wall in windy slop was exhilarating! While we were there, James engaged in a bit of frosty chalky graffiti (photo), to stake a claim for our 2014 venture into insanity! A helluva a lot nicer than other graffiti there (which includes an anatomically unlikely, foul and potentially libellous statement about a “Ben Rix”). I wonder how long James’ message will be there and how many others who see it (and will know what a Frosty Nut is); certainly if our swims start there is will put a smile on our faces, as it will of those other Sydney swimmers coming after this year.
This week I was featured in Manly Daily, talking about my channel swim and fundraising (link here): unfortunately despite my request, they did not provide a link to my blog or my Everyday hero page, but my quick witted and generous neighbours (Mike and Mandy) did a bit of detective work to find where to donate (yay!). Please don’t point out the untruths in the article… liberties have been taken with some facts and a few different bits of our interview have been squished together for the sake of flow. Donation to Alzheimer’s Australia? Now there’s a thought…
So, how do I feel? Increasingly nervous; no particular reason other than being at the pointy end of the journey and having nothing but time to ponder what the 12-16 hours in the water will hold for me. Looking out over the English Channel reminds me of looking out over Rottnest Channel from Cottesloe, One major difference: Rottnest Island is readily visible from Cottesloe and therefore feels more achievable; from Dover you can see ships moving in one direction, beyond them ships moving in another… and beyond that? Is the bumpiness on the horizon France or just the uneven water surface? What is the distance of the horizon on open water? My calculations suggest that if you wanted to see the French shore (not the land behind it) you’d need to be 62m above sea level in Dover… but what use is that? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing! Best not to think about it; just enjoy being here and take it as it comes… doesn’t make it any easier. I know I’ve done the training, I know the water isn’t soul crushingly cold, and I know no matter how slowly I’ll worry I’m swimming when I’m out there I will be moving in the right direction!
Remember you can track me when it happens on this link.