Sunday, 4 November 2007

Dover Re-visited

As planned, Friday 2nd November saw Kelly and I drive the 340 miles to Dover.... no sooner had we arrived and checked in to the travel inn (with a perfect view of Dover Harbour) that we were off to the Marina escorted by Loraine, where we met with my skipper. He had been out working at sea all day with a fishing party yet was ready to whizz us around to Shakespeare beach for a piloted swim. We boarded the boat and motored around to the famous point where many swims start. I was really excited but also nervous, the Channel was flat as a pancake and Andy stated the conditions were the same well out to sea. Andy steadied the boat, I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts and jumped over the side into the green water. I was closely followed by Loraine, we initially swam together for a short period then the skipper asked her to exit the water so that he could concentrate on me and my position beside the boat. It was so good, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to practice alongside the actual boat that would support me in 2008 together with my support swimmer and Kelly on board, it was perfect practice... I had taken the prototype feed pole that had been made ready the previous day by George Vickers at Caletrim Fabrications Ltd, so we took the chance to test the feeding procedure too. I should take this opportunity to thank George for his support, generosity and good wishes...thanks to you George and Carl, the pole was more or less perfect.

After my swim we returned to the marina where Andy went through a typical swim route/scenario and explained many things to me with the aid of a Dover Straits chart. Then it was off to the Chinese Buffet for a nice meal. After a long day at work Andy headed off home, we continued our debrief and had far too much to drink at one or two Dover watering holes including The White Horse, where I looked in awe at the many signings on the wall from literally scores of Channel Swimmers. I understand that Loraine got to bed about 3am!! but we were long since tucked up I hasten to add!.

The next morning feeling slightly delicate, we had breakfast and took a brief trip to Dover Castle before again meeting up with Loraine for a nice hour in the Harbour, the sea was more or less flat and was, by our wrist watches around 14 degrees. We swam a nice anti clockwise squarish lap before heading in for more Chinese food.
Following a brief power nap it was time to prepare for the CSA Annual dinner at the Town Hall, we again had a great laugh with Loraine and Nicole and also bumped into Becky Lewis, after the many presentations and speeches we headed back to the hotel, for insufficient sleep before another long drive home.

(Above the terrible twins)
Overall it was an excellent trip... jumping over the side of the boat was simply fantastic, it was Awesome (that's a Loraine ism) to swim next to the boat and great to get back into the harbour for another dip. Big thankyou to Loraine for braving the waters again with me, not forgetting Kelly for your continued encouragement and support. Thank you all. I had a blast.


Anonymous said...

I have now decided I know why I enjoy my times swimming with you ..It is your relentless enthusiasm from within your soul that I recognise in me as well and it is truly an enjoyable moment each and every time we take a plunge into the cold waters step closer to your dream i would say !
Keep the fight up .........It WILL get you across and dont let anything or anyone get in the way of you completing your goal and also enjoying the journey to acheive it .
Life is too short so all I can say emphatically "KEEP THE PASSION AND CONCENTRATE ON THE AWESOME EVENT AHEAD OF YOU "...You will never forget it ..........!

I look forward as your support swimmer with so much enthusiasm at having a chance to be there at your swim should you ever need me as a support ........!!!
2008 is yours !!!MARK so get out there and make your dream all of ours too by that I mean Kel(Awesome to get to know her ,she is cool and NO WE ARE NOT EVIL TWINS ha ha !! ) ,Andy and of course me.

Anonymous said...

..I second you in your thanks to both Andy and Loraine; (not being the swimmer)I too was made to feel welcome and included within the group. Also, thank you too Mark, I had a great weekend which I wouldn't have missed for anything; I very proud of both your hard work and determination. I hope I can make the task easier for you to achive, I will continue to assist where possible though I can't promise my terrible twin won't stray me at times, I think you'll just have to put up with that...thanks for a good laugh Loraine!


Anonymous said...

Dearest Kel ,
What better a place than to have a full fledged conversation...........H aha
My dear evil twin is you and your other half that have ensured my iron levels have done well so far !!!! I have had such a laugh with you it made the weekend a fun few days full of laughter and funny moments .I would not let out a peep about our fun stories xxx Loraine

P.s Tell Mark he will also have all of my support as mentioned before

Maggie said...

Hi Mark

Sounds like you had a great time in Dover it must have been great to have a training swim with your pilot although i do think the evil twins led you astray afterwards lol Would be great to meet up with you all sometime for training, keep up the good work !


Chris said...

Hey Mark

I just saw the DVD of Lorraine's swim last year and it looks like you have got yourself a fantastic team there! Lorraine's swim was very impressive, you probably couldn't ask for a better support swimmer. And Andy a very good and encouraging pilot. I think your gonna be just fine!