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I landed at Palma and all the planes here are package holiday planes. Thomas cook, Thompson’s etc etc. this place is package holiday hell, every person, every bus, everything is package holiday. Families, OAPs and kids everywhere.
No baggage to collect so straight to the bus which I have booked in advanced. Small mini bus, again filled with package holiday makers. Can’t wait until I’m swimming in the sea later this afternoon.
Okay so a lot has happened since I landed at the airport, and writing my blog a few days later. 6 hour swim completed, well 6 hours and 16 minutes but I’ll come on to that a little bit later. Covered a distance of 20km, epic swim and I found it all quite easy, long yes but I kept focused and had a good stroke throughout.
So on day one I had a quick swim around the bay by myself, very clear waters, some 20m deep in places and you could see the bottom. Felt like I was flying at times.
Of course they speak Spanish here but for some reason I want to speak French, doh! I’m picking up the language and understanding what people are saying too, so all good for South America.
Met up with the swim trek crew, Kevin, Kathy and Mike – Kevin having swam the English Channel 34 times, Kathy about to in July and Mike just the once (but once more than me!!).
Ed (Edward) my room mate from Ireland is also planning to swim the channel in August, he is not a strong swimmer and needs a lot of encouragement to push through so I am trying to help him whilst I am here too.
Telli, from Finland is also swimming the channel in July, she’ll be the first Finnish lady to cross the channel. Go Telli!
Paula, just loves long swims
John from America who is planning to swim from Morocco to Gibraltar in October, is a slow swimmer but finds it hard with the cold water temperatures.
Ofer, Israeli guy, not quite sure what he is doing or enjoys.
Italian guy, wears a gimp suit in the sea and again is a weaker swimmer.
Michelle, strong club swimmer, who is just here for the long swims.
Then there is Fionnuala from Ireland, my hero, two times channel swimmer. We are the same pace and same speed so stroke for stroke we can swim for hours together.
So first evening a quick swim in the harbour to see what level we are all at. I got a yellow hat, only because they were short of pink hats. The colour of your hat identifies the speed, orange, yellow then pink.
Few beers and some food then off to bed. Phew!
Next morning one hour swim before lunch followed by a two hour swim which allowed us to swim through the arch at Es Pontàs, both lovely swims. Covered a total of 5km today.
Day two, three hour swim, much bigger route and allowed us to practice feeding, every half hour.
About 2 hours in to the swim my pace dropped, no reason. My mind was saying pick up the pace. I had the energy, it was due to the fact that I knew I only had an hour to go. That hour took quite some time I can tell you.
We stopped for lunch. It was supposed to be an hour but it got changed to 45 minutes. Why I don’t know, but eating lunch quickly was not a good idea. The lunch consisted of pasta tubes with sausage meat, salad (green salad), cheese, processed meat and buns for after. Poor Paula she was a vegetarian and she had nothing to replenish her energy levels.
So 45 minutes later back in the sea, this time a two hour swim, after about 70 minutes I found a cave we could swim through, oh what a find, I got the camera from the support boat (Kathy’s) and I and the three girls spent some time in the tunnel, fantastic. It is great to be with swimmers of the same ability and enjoying it as much as I was with out me needing to support or worry about them.
Next circuit around we swam straight through the tunnel and Kathy was on the other side making sure we were okay, I needed a wee, but I had the three girls behind me so I slowed up, Kathy asked was I okay I said I needed a wee, so the conversation went on. I was waiting for the girls to pass before reliving myself. Kathy asked if I could do it while swimming, yes I said, then she went on to taking about number twos while in the water and at that point all the girls I was swimming with, heard Kathy say number twos, and they thought I was in the process of. Oh dear half a conversation and from that point onwards they all teased me. How embarrassing!
Next we found a big cave and asked Kathy the next time around if we could take the camera and take some photos in the cave.
Day three day for the big six hour swim, everyone was nervous, but I was a little apprehensive perhaps but okay, I had no aches or pains for the previous long swims and was quite used to the cold water. Others has sore shoulders, backs, hips, you name it someone had it. So the thought of the six hour swim was quite daunting.
We set off at 10:15, the morning was overcast and water temperature was 15.7, perfect.
The first hour flew by and first feed stop, got my drink quickly from the boat crew, the boat crew was a new guy, and he was doing a sterling job. But I did find the feed took sometime due to the crew not being ready for us, on two of the feeds the drinks had to be made up and as such the powder had not mixed in leaving huge clumps of powder in the water, I had to pour it away.
I tried bananas instead, they were okay, may be a little too hard so need some soft ones in future.
Tried peaches, easy to eat but too many left my stomach feeling a little sore.
So I kept swimming more and more, Fionnuala was an angel, we swam stroke for stroke for the full six hours, this was amazing as not only did we have the same speed we also had the same stamina over six hours or 20km. We did slow down a few times and chat but not for long and when we did I continued to swim.
It took some time to reach 5 hours, I was still strong in the water, yes my arms felt like I’d been swimming for 5 hours but no pains just fatigued. In fact quite often I would pick up the pace to race speed to a spurt and change of stroke to wake my arms up.
The last hour I caught sight of Ed, he was still swimming, how fantastic, he was going to make it.
25 minutes to go, Kathy called us over and gave us both jelly babies for good behaviour and doing as we were told!
We swam in to the cove for the last and final time to take one last look at the beautiful cliffs and crystal clear waters. Then headed to the arch for one last time before swimming back. We met up with Mike in his boat, said hello he took our photo and we went in our way and started swimming back to the main boat with just 15 minutes to go.
The bell rung marking the six hours were over. Kathy called Fionnuala and I over, and said we had to swim for a further 10 minutes. I had no problem in swimming more and was quite happy to swim further and longer than anyone else. So I headed for the cove once again. Making sure it took well over ten minutes to ensure that everyone was happy.