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This is the start, of many weekends down in Dover. I first came down on Friday evening, left quite late as to miss the traffic on the M25 during the Friday’s rush hour, or more like Friday rush evening.
Found out that Paula would be down this weekend, so arranged to meet in the Bar at about 10pm, met up with her and a friend (Sara), both taking part in the BLDSA Champion of Champions, a 5 mile, 2 mile and 1 mile race. They took up the west side of the harbour, which today would have been more favourable as the wind was coming from the west, and a very strong wind too. As the harbour walls protected the BLDSA competition it was very different for us doing our long swims towards the eastern side of the harbour.
There must have been some twenty people registered at 9am for the solo channel swimmers, they all wear red hats, whereas the relay swimmers get to wear a yellow hat and they start at around 10am.
Today I had a house viewing at 9:15, as I’m looking at an apartment for the summer, this should make the whole process of staying in Dover much easier. The apartment was nice, in fact there were four available so I could pick the best of the best, I’m going to try for a four month rental as this would make more sense as my swim is in September.
My start time today would be 10am, getting in the same time as the relay swimmers. I’d planned to do a three hour swim, the other solo swimmers were in for a four hour swim, so that made sense. Feeding would be on the hour, so I should get two feeds in today, feels like being at the zoo, feeding time for the mad ones with the red hats.
10am, off I set, the tide was low, I think at it’s lowest, so low that when I got in to the water I was walking on the sandy bottom for a little while. Off I went, 3 hours to go until I get out.
First thing I noticed was that the water felt a little funny, as if small balls the size of squash balls were in the water, I looked but I could see nothing. Hum, confused, so I carried on, it happened again and again, each time these small slimy balls would pass straight through my hands, then after about five minutes swimming I felt a tingle on my left forearm, I didn’t feel anything touch me, but I could sure feel the tingle of a jelly baby (fish) sting, ouch, the first one is always the worst, well that’s what I thought. Due to the water temperature being around 13 degree celsius (55 degrees fahrenheit) the stings did not last very long, but 5 minutes later another sting, then another. After about a hour swimming I had worked out that the jelly fish seemed to be closer to the shore so from that point onwards I stayed some 200 meters off shore, much easier.
The swim east was okay, I could feel the wind driving me forwards as I swam, then it was time to turn around I was hit by a wall of waves, very punchy waves, hard hitting. It took twice as long to get back to the starting point, the waves pushed and pushed, so head down and I battled my way through the windy waves.
I met up with Tellervo and Mike, both who I met in Majorca a few months ago, and they asked me to join them, as we are all about the same standard and speed.
First feed, Steve Batts was waiting for me, a pleasure to see an old friend (from Life Saving) quick warm drink and jelly baby (not the stinging type this time!), then off again.
Another hour went by, battling the waves, the wind was not dropping, more jelly baby stings, and then before I knew it the next feed, two hours down, quick warm drink and half a banana.
Back in again, this time I hit a jelly baby head on I felt it’s tentacles brush my face, over my shoulders and down my left arm, and then it hit me, OUCH, this one stung like no other had stung me before, so much so I stopped and yelped. Buggers do I go in, what was I thinking. I put my head down and swam flat out hitting and crashing in to the waves, this soon calmed down the stinging effect and after about five minutes I was back to normal again.
Finally finished at 3 hours, just after 1pm, got out and put my Cloggys on and helped Kathy and Tellervo out of the water. Good swim by all of us. Tomorrow I plan to do the full four hours.
I went back to my room, hot bath run, and relaxed.
Bed and slept for an hour.
So for the stats for today, remember that the Garmin Watch is 75% below what I normal do