August 24, 2011
I sent this email to a number of members of A Long Swim team from the pilot boat heading from Wissant Bay, France, to Dover, England at 3:30 a.m. Monday. The longer writeup appears in the journal.
Today was a good day for A Long Swim Team. We managed to swim across the English Channel in a mediocre 14 hours and 18 minutes. But, we made it, and that was the goal. The conditions were mixed, with very confused seas (five foot waves) for the first 10 or 12 miles, which was pretty rigorous. The wind clocked around to follow the tide, which smoothed out the water a bit. We dodged a few freighters and ferry boats in the two five mile-wide shipping lanes (you’ve got to appreciate an experienced boat pilot) and as we approached France, the water was actually quite calm. The water temp was 62 F throughout, and I only got a little chilled well after midnight. And, NO jellyfish! Well, there was a little one that bounced off my chest, but at least it wasn’t one of those stingers with the long legs. Susan managed the crew of Billy, Gordy, Ashley, and our very close Meghan and her daughter Eileen. With the exception of everyone’s chronic motion sickness, they were predictably loving, outstanding and perfect.
The A Long Swim team is a good team to be on, especially if your job on that team is to the guy in the water. So we made it to the French beach at a place called Wissant Bay, and I managed to stagger up to dry land to stop the clock. The captain of the Sea Satin graciously blew the air horn, and it sounded like the grand finale at the Barrington fireworks on Independence Day. Highly satisfying. I’m sure this experience will take a bit of time to sink in, perhaps after a good night’s sleep, and I will bore you with a more fulsome writeup. In the meantime, I was humbled, honored and grateful for all of the emails, good wishes and even promises of prayers for today. I am, indeed, the luckiest guy in the world. I will report back.
In the meantime, here are a few videos that Susan took: