My official swim window here in Dover is over, but this challenge is not! Unfortunately the gale force winds have not abated and I have had no opportunity to swim. They call it "being blown out". (And that's not the forced weight gain!)
After Lochie Hinds' successful swim two weeks ago, ten days followed with no success. Gale force winds ensured that no boats even ventured out for eight days straight! The twenty boats that pilot Channel swims all stayed put in their marinas, and the 40+ swimmers awaiting their opportunity to take on the Channel, anxiously watched for a break in the weather.
During this time, there was a great deal of tension building in Dover. Many swimmers were on restricted timetables, unprepared for such a long period of poor weather in July. Thankfully my parents and sister are over here in Europe for a few more weeks, planning stops in Italy and France post the swim. We might be sacrificing the holiday for another week in Dover, but at least I can stay and have my shot at the Channel.
|Mark and I on the White Cliffs of Dover
Unfortunately, my brother Mark, didn't have the luxury of time, and with the prediction from my pilot over the weekend that my tide would be completely blown out, we sent him home to Hong Kong. As I waved him goodbye, I finally cracked and had my first tears over the situation. It meant so much to me to have all my family here for this life achievement. My parents, brother and sister have been very involved in the whole two year campaign to get me here, they have all paddled, navigated and supported for me in at least one 20km swim during the last 12 months alone. Mark had been particularly attentive over the last three months with a daily text message of encouragement or just checking in on me from Hong Kong. He has also become an avid photographer over the last six months, and was meant to be documenting the journey over here. Losing Mark was a real blow and left me very disappointed, but I do realise my situation could be far worse. I am still able to swim the Channel, just not when I was meant to!
Staying at Varne Ridge Caravan Park has been awesome. I had met some wonderful swimmers, joining them on a dusk swim from Kingsdown to Deal (5km), hung out in the caravans chatting and have been reunited with my SwimTrek guide, Kathryn, from Malta 2009. It is one VERY small world! The Irish contingent were especially entertaining, and having chatted on Twitter with some of them, it was awesome to be hanging out in person. David and Evelyn proprietors of Varne Ridge are very positive supporters believing that the weather will eventually turn “Hang in there” they say daily!
|Craig and I post his Channel success!
|Force 8 winds at Brighton Beach
Our ‘home’ on top of the White Cliffs of Dover has the most spectacular views, especially as we watch the storms come through. Whilst the photos might look like it’s lovely, it changes so quickly - Melbourne's four season's in one day has nothing on this - it's like four season's in an hour! I have only been able to see the coast of France three times in the last week. On Bastille Day night however it was exceptionally clear and we could even see the fireworks on the coast of France. That was special.
The Olympic fever is is full swing in England. Tonight the torch relay came through the centre of Dover. I never thought we would still be here at this point! Dover has been spring cleaning itself to be ready for this big, spectacular night. We had perfect weather yesterday, while today torrential rain meant the concert had more security guards than attendees.
|Holding the Olympic Relay Torch in Dover!