Friday, 24 August 2007

Don't Panic !

Its been a funny old week...On Tuesday the 21st we had an early start with the best of intentions, I dropped Charlie at his mums and together with the ever watchful Kelly, headed for Redcar on the North East coast about 20 miles from home.The plan being to arrive around about the same time as high water and swim for at least an hour in the lovely North Sea. It was a little breezy when we left home, however on arrival at the beach the wind was blowing a gale and the sea was in a foul mood, as bad as we had ever seen it. It looked more like December / January weather as oppose to the height of the British Summer! In addition the red flags were flying so there was no way I could get into the water without endangering myself and others. With great disappointment we headed off to the gym and swam in the pool. This emphasised my awareness of the frustrations being felt by several Channel Swimmers who were at that moment held up in Dover due to poor conditions. We are in touch with Loraine Verghese who is due to swim any day, though at this stage it looks likely to be Sunday, Loraine is swimming for the Jack Brown appeal please click to help.

Weather wise the next few days were about the same, so I have been hitting the pool and have done some quality sessions against the clock...Then came Thursday (23 August)..... I was working a day shift, so it was possible to visit the beach at Seaton, where I could liaise with the lifeguards and make an assesment of the sea state. There were plenty of breakers and a big swell, though we agreed that it should be swimmable beyond the white water later in the day. Following work we therefore packed (again) and drove the ten miles or so to Seaton. As always I checked in with the lifeguards both on the beach and at their control station, I outlined my intentions, to which the reply came .."Rather you than me"
Off I went wading into what was obviously the most poor conditions to date, the sun was shining a little, but the waves were incredible, relentless and the swell made it feel like a roller coaster ride. The breakers them selves seemed to go on forever. I gave Kelly a wave and pointed in the direction I was heading, after acknowledgement I was on my way.The water felt good, refreshing yet comfortable enough at 15.5 degrees. I swam south parallel to the shore towards my normal turn around point, however the further I swam the worse it seemed to become. I was unable to see the shore, with only glimpses of buildings in the far distance as I rose to the top of the immense swells.

Without my knowing, the lifeguards and Kelly had all lost sight of me and were becoming increasingly anxious, I could not be located with binoculars from the roof of the vehicle on the shore line, it was therefore decided to launch their jet ski in order to find me and check if I was OK. Oblivious to this I was stroking away fighting the waves and getting battered in the process. A couple of times I was tossed completely over and for a moment or two was lost beneath the surface due to the surprise breakers. My goggles were ripped from my face and I was finding it difficult to get into a rhythm.
For everyones sake, I decided to head in and wait for a better day. On exiting the water I was about a kilometre away from my friends on the beach, as far as they were concerned I was nowhere to be seen. I rushed along the sand, eventually Kelly noticed me and managed to notify the remaining lifeguard who in turn informed the crew of the jet ski.
It wasn't over yet though...the jet ski was then unable to negotiate its way back to the beach with the crew falling off a number of times fully clothed into the water, I felt really bad and embarrassed that this was happening because of their concern for me. They did manage to land later at the headland having lost communications with their colleagues. As for me, well, I thanked them for their help and headed off to the pool to finish the training for that day having left the sea early. Other than that its been a good weeks training so far. Will check back Sunday with my figures. Good Luck Loraine dont be too scared of the dark!!


Mad Max said...

I always knew you would be good for something just did not what. Keep it up and as always " Be careful out there"

Mark said...

hahaha thanks Mike, I wondered who the visitor from Belgium could be...kinda hoped it would be you, tell the blue half to get on the blog and leave a clean comment if she can. I will keep you posted and will pass on your other comments to Kelly!
mmm jupiler...happy days

Anonymous said...

...Don't worry, I will save you next time, that red swim suit and the new bouyancy aids will come in handy !