Blog – July 2014

It was a year ago today that someone wrote, “Yesterday the Irish channel saw Penny Palfrey from Australia fail on her 2nd attempt to swim from Ireland to Scotland which is her last swim on the oceans 7 list”.

One year on I still have the same questions in my head that I did during the first few days following my second attempt to swim the difficult stretch of water between Ireland and Scotland known as the North, or Irish Channel.

How many times should I try? How much money do I invest in fulfilling my dreams and goals? How much pressure should I put my relationships under? And how much more should I push my body?

Swimming a channel isn’t just a matter of showing up, jumping in and going for a swim. There’s a lot of planning, training and financial commitment that goes into every attempt. Pilots and boats must be booked, sometimes years in advance. Flights, crew, training, acclimatizing all have to be factored into everyday lives and the costs are substantial, especially coming from Australia which always seems to be on the other side of the world!

I read quotes such as; “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
(Sir Winston Churchill)

Yet another question, where does “convictions of honor and good sense” begin and end?

And another quote; “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: ……it is the courage to continue that counts”. (Winston Churchill)

I hear my concerned family and friends words of love and support, “You have nothing to prove”. And my husband Chris’ cries of “NO MORE”. Yet my heart and my mind are still divided.

Recently we’ve sold our business and home in the North Queensland city of Townsville after living there for almost three decades, Chris and I relocated to a small coastal community in central Queensland 1,000 kilometers south of Townsville. The climate here is a little milder, especially during the summer months and the water temperature in the sea dipped to 17C earlier this month. Not particularly cold but unheard of in Townsville. Chris has semi-retired but still doing some accounting work. We are both happy in our new lives and settled into the small community well. We’ve even fulfilled one of my dreams to start a small open water swim group in the estuary close to our home.

After returning home from Ireland last August I had resigned myself that there would be no overseas swimming trips in 2014, I was ok with that since Chris and I were both excited about settling into our new lives. Then one morning I opened my email to find a nice invitation to participate in a swim on the east coast of the USA, it was doable without the huge miles of training I’d been putting in over the past few years and best of all a swim Chris and I could both participate. After a few days of consideration we’d decided that we would like to sign up…..and since it’s a long way to the USA we should probably make the trip even more worthwhile and look at a swim we could do on the west coast on our way through…..this is how things go between us.

It was decided that we’d keep the “do things together” theme for our west coast swim and settled on a “side by side swim” from Anacapa Island to the mainland a distance of around 20k’s. Anacapa is one of the Santa Barbara Channel Island group, Chris and I have both completed channel swims there in the past, and love visiting this beautiful area. We are also looking forward to catching up with old friends in the area, including two crew members of my Cuba to Florida swim in 2012, Barbara Held and Jesse Gros will both be supporting us during our swim from Anacapa later this season!

…And so we find ourselves back in the water swimming around 45k’s per week. This week the water temperature has been 18-20C, absolutely flat calm and crystal clear. So calm and clear in fact that I can do technique work with my own shadow on the sand beneath me :)

Well that’s my catch up, thanks for reading, I hope you like the new snazzy website, I’ve been working on it.

See you in the water!

The Santa Barbara Island swimming association link http://www.santabarbarachannelswim.org/

Penny

Open water swimming crossings and races in Australia and around the world. Stories and reports of our adventures in and out of the water.