Today the English Channel Swims have started for the 2013 Season, and 2 weeks today our tide (9-14th July) officially opens for our 2-way Relay Crosóige Mara. It’s all getting very close now!
For those of you not totally sure how the set up works for a ‘tide’, I’ll try to explain it simply. I think I have the grasp of all this Channel swimming malarkey now, having stalked many a swimmer for the past few summers.
Our Relay is booked on a Spring Tide (Spring tides result in high waters that are higher than average, low waters that are lower than average, ‘slack water’ time that is shorter than average and stronger tidal currents than average. Neaps result in less extreme tidal conditions. There is about a seven-day interval between springs and neaps.)
The window we have to swim is 9th-14th July, that means we will hopefully get to go sometime within those dates, it is totally weather dependent. We will wait in Dover from Sunday 7th July, and wait for our Boat Pilot to call us and tell us when we can depart. We need 24hours of good weather ahead of us as we are a 2way relay (England to France and back).
Our Pilot is Mike Oram on Gallivant Boat. We are first Preference with him, which means, on any given day (9-14th) when the weather is good, we are the first people to be called. If we don’t take up the offer to go that day, then the 2nd person on the list is called and Mike will go with them for their attempt to cross. Once he is back in Dover and the weather is good, we are still his first call for the next crossing within the ‘window’ (9-14th).
Once Mike gives us the word that we are go, then we head off to Dover Harbour, load up the boat with ALL our gear!, and set off to the point of Departure nearby. I am first off for the relay, so I must swim ashore to where the pilot directs me too (normally Shakespere’s Beach or Samphire Hoe), I must totally clear the water, and wait for the siren to go and then I’m off!. There are 6 of us on our team and we keep rotating one hour each (staying in same order all the time). Owen takes over from me, he will enter the water at about 59min, swim behind me, and when signaled at the hour will then overtake me and swim on, I then climb back onto the boat!. Our order is Carol-Owen-Caitlin-Lynne-Maeve-Eoin and repeat until we are back in England! Whoever is on ‘their hour’ approaching France, must totally clear their body out of water when they land (on beach or rocks!), and then turnaround and start swimming back to England, all the time the clock is ticking! We will have an official observer appointed by CS&PF to oversee all the rules, and of course we have our own super crew person Lisa making sure we are all ready for next swim and resting in-between!
Amusing ourselves, sleeping, eating, swimming… it’s going to be a long 24hours! BRING IT ON 🙂
I will post a link to the tracker closer to the time, once we know we are going. We will have the Sandycove SPOT tracker on us, as well as the Boat tracker (Hopefully) so you will be able to check our progress. Lisa will be our Social Media queen, keeping Facebook and Twitter up to date, so all messages of support (or just news) will be much appreciated as we are bobbing away at sea for 24hours! you will find us on twitter @crosoigemara and on Facebook too! There will be times of ‘no service’, so please bear with us until we come out of the black holes! We will try to swim fast through these bits!
Finally, we are doing this for our Chosen Charity Down Syndrome Ireland. If you would like to donate here is the link: http://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/1083_crosoige-mara-s-fundraising-page.html
Life’s greatest adventure is in doing one’s very best.