Penny arrives in California; Chris will follow in a few days.
After another twelve weeks of head down and hard work Chris and I find ourselves looking forward to and gearing up for our next challenge, The Catalina Channel.
Chris swam “Catalina” last year while I did the unusual swim from the tiny island of Santa Barbara to mainland California finishing at the same spot that the Catalina Channel swimmers finish their swims, Palos Verdes.
We have trained hard and prepared ourselves the best we can, however unusually cold water on the Californian coast and the warmest winter in many years for us back home in Townsville, North Queensland find us a little apprehensive about our upcoming swims.
I arrived into Long Beach near Los Angeles, California on Monday and due to work commitments Chris will be flying over this coming Saturday. While here our plan is to swim twice a day to try to prepare and acclimatise ourselves as well as we can for the challenges ahead.
Below is a blog of some of my experiences since leaving home two days ago.
My flight plan was to go from Townsville to Brisbane, Sydney then through to LA.
When I arrived in Brisbane my flight to Sydney was cancelled. I was put onto the next flight but it left a very little time to make the transfers from domestic in international in Sydney, I made the flight to LA running.
When I arrived in LA the immigration didn’t like my new passport and I was taken for questioning, (my old one was due to expire and had taken a good dunking during my Gibraltar Strait crossing in June) it turned out ok apparently they’d having some trouble with the new ones.
Next I heard over the loud speaker that my luggage had been lost. The airline managed to track it down and told it would arrive some time tomorrow, which it did the following evening. I was very pleased to see it again. It contained all my swim kit, Shark Shield, sports drink powders etc, etc.
When I arrived at our very nice rental apartment on the beach at Beachside Retreat in Long Beach, Muriel the caretaker told me about how cold the weather had been, she said “today is supposed to be the hottest day and it’s so cold I’m wearing long pants for the first time this summer”. Oh great!
The past two mornings I’ve been treated by Beth Barnes http://www.ikayak4u.com/ to a lovely kayak escorted swim around Naples Island, I jumped off the jetty and swam next to Beth in her kayak, the island is similar to the Gold Coast in Australia with gazillion dollar mansions all with private jetty’s and million dollar yachts, I enjoyed some real estate and yacht browsing from a fish eyed perspective, it’s a three mile course which takes us about an hour, the water certainly felt quite brisk, especially yesterday when it was drizzling, very good for my acclimatization.
A little about our swims; Chris is booked to swim the Catalina Channel on the 15th & 16th September and I’m booked for the 13th & 14th. As usual I like to add a twist to my swim, however the conditions always influence any swim we open water swims attempt, so we’ll have to see how things pan out with the conditions and water temperatures.
We’ll be swimming with pilot John Pittman and The Outrider again; we found John and his crew to be excellent during our swims last year.
Chris and I both have experienced wonderful crew for our swims, my swim crew are;
Forest Nelson – Observer and swim crew – Forrest is an experienced swimmer and observer, a good friend and has helped me during my Santa Barbara Island to mainland swim last year and my Oahu to Kauai Channel attempt in Hawaii earlier this year.
John York – Observer, I’ve yet to meet John but I know he’s a renowned marathon swimmer and very experienced observer.
Lynn Kubesak – Observer, swim crew, paddler, friend, Lynn has swum the Catalina and is an experience observer.
Jesse Gros – Kayaker, Jesse was a paddler in my Santa Barbara Island swim last year.
Tony Chapman – Kayaker, Tony was also a kayaker for my in my SB swim last year and a professional kayak guide.
Beth Barnes – Kayaker, A new and enthusiastic member of the team.
Forrest, Lynn and Beth are all staying on board to assist Chris with his crossing, I’ll have to see how I’m feeling after my swim to determine whether to stay on board or return to our accommodation.
Below is a recent article talking about the large number of Blue Whales in the Catalina Channel, we may be lucky and come across some of these wonderful creatures during our swims. http://www.lbpost.com/life/ryan/10346
This article from The Daily News of Open Water Swimmer tells about our friend Ron Collins who organises the annual Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida and his attempt to swim the Catalina Channel recently, Ron’s a veteran of The Manhattan Island Marathon swim and the English Channel amongst others. http://www.dailynewsofopenwaterswimming.com/2010/09/danger-always-lurks-in-ocean.html
Weather forecast and ocean temperatures, this site must be wondering why it’s getting so much extra traffic with all the marathon swimmers checking in hourly, hoping to see if the water temperature has risen. http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=46222
http://www.ikayak4u.com/ Beth Barnes – Kayaker for open water swimmers. What can I say, in the two days since I’ve arrived Beth has been more than great. Beth’s very keen to assist open water swimmers achieve their Catalina Channel swimming dreams.
Hopefully I’ll bring you more news, pictures and updates during our stay in California.