Yesterday we met Reg at 9:30 at the harbour. Getting on the boat was an amazing feeling. All this hard work completed, and now it was reality, I was going to swim the English Channel. The ride over to Shakespeare Beach was as smooth as glass. The observer commented how it was like a mill pond. Nearing Shakespeare Beach I saw two other boats with swimmers starting off. That excited me. I wasn't going to be the only one out there trying to swim. Ray (the first mate/Reg's brother) showed me where I was to jump off the boat. I swam to the beach. I tried my best to jump up the beach as quickly as possible in hopes that the pebbles wouldn't hurt my feet as much. Reg sounded a horn on the boat and I dove back into the water. It took a few strokes before it really sunk in. I was REALLY doing it, I was really swimming the English Channel. I began to get into the groove, putting one arm in front of another moving myself forwards towards France. The millpond status definitely didn't stick for very long. The wind had picked up and there were waves, probably about 2-3 feet high. According to the observer the water was 62 degrees when I started. So that felt like a bath tub to me. The water was really clear and I could see about 5-10 feet down. I swam by some patches of seaweed and then saw jellyfish around me. That of course freaked me out. After four hours the wind had not subsided so the waves kept shoving me around. Leore got in to pace. It was kind of scary because they kept wanting me to move closer to the boat, but the boat was pitching around like it was a little toy. At around 7 hours I puked because I had ingested so much salt water. Whilst I was puking I saw the French shoreline. That made me perk up and keep moving forward. By that time pretty much everyone had been sick except for Leore, Shanni, my Dad, Reg and Ray. Even the observer who claimed to never get sea sick got sick. The waves were seriously huge and made it difficult to swim. Sometimes the boat would tip so far it seemed as if it was going to capsize. Leore had been getting in pretty consistently since the 4 hour mark, hour in, hour out. But after awhile I realized she hadn't been in again. I figured she was taking some extra time out, which of course was fine. But apparently when she had wanted to get back in, the pilot said no. I decided not to worry about it. It started to get dark and I switched on my lights. The waves were growing larger by the minute with no sign of slowing down. At ten and half hours my dad told me that the pilot wanted to pull me. Of course, I was like "WHAT?!!" and when he asked me if I wanted to keep going for a bit I said yes. The last half an hour was horrible. I was crying in my goggles and trying to swim as fast as possible despite the waves. At this point it was completely dark, yet I still was not cold. I kept hoping that if I swam faster and kept going I would be able to make it. At my 11 hour feeding they pulled me out. They wouldn't let me keep going. I got onto the boat reluctantly. The ride back was horrible. Since I hadn't taken any seasickness pills, I didn't get seasick whilst in the water,but when on the boat I threw up. I fell asleep inside the cabin in a VERY uncomfortable position. Finally we reached the harbour. Greeted by the stench of fish, I dry heaved onto the loading dock. We all were happy to be on land, except for the fact that it still felt as if we were moving. I went to bed, exhausted and upset.
I was disappointed that I didn't completely finish. But at least I made an attempt. After I mull things over a bit, I'll decide where I want to go next. I may swim it again, and I'll definitely know what to do differently. I may try to swim across Lake Tahoe. But whatever I do I know that I will have my family and friends to support me, which I greatly appreciate. Thank you to everyone for your comments of support, it means a lot to me.