Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What a day!

This is my first opportunity to update everyone.  I would like to begin by thanking my family, friends, co-workers for their words of encouragement and support. A special thank you for my daughter Sarah for updating my blog from reports sent to her from my crew. Also, I want to thank my husband Jim for his unending support of my passion for open water swimming.  And a special thank you to my son Tom who encouraged me several years ago to try to swim the Peaks to Portland as a tribute to Robbie. I will never forget his words, "Ma, you could if you tried".  I never imagined that 14 years later that I would successfully swim the English Channel at the age of 60. Also, I want to thank everyone who sent me emails...I received over 2500 emails today congratulating me.  I am very overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness. It was very much appreciated    And now for my swim:   I found out moments before the swim started that my boat pilot had a problem with his tracking device....sorry about the inconvenience.  I want to thank my Channel crew for their great support during my swim.  My brother David took many photos and I will create a new slide show for my blog after I return home on Tuesday. My sister-in-law Jeannie text messaged Sarah with my progress.  My nephew Kyle took plenty of video clips and photos of my swim.  Then, my nephew Christopher (Robbie's son) stood on the boat deck for 15 hours and 57 minutes and watched me swim the English Channel. Since I had 4 crew members, I instructed them to rotate monitoring my swim every hour.  So they could have a break.  Chris never took a break.  He stood there and helped me in so many ways.  It was a very special moment for us.  He wrote his dad's name on my arm prior to the start of my swim. Moments before the start of my swim, all crew members joined hands and I said "This is for Robbie".  I started my swim from Shakespeare Beach near Dover. The tide was very weak and I came within half a mile of France.  I thought I was going to have an under 12 hour swim.  But then the current change and I was swept beyond Cape Grey Nez, France.  I knew at that point my swim would be an additional four to six hours.  The water was very turbulent.  It was very difficult..I was swimming in waves of four feet coming at me from every direction...it's best to describe it "like swimmming in a washing machine". When I reached the finish line, Christopher was going to be on the dinghy to greet me on the beach but it was to dangerous for him because of crashing waves. I finished at Cap Gris-Nez. It is beyond words to explain the feeling of completing my swim.  When I returned to the Viking Princess, Chris hugged me and I said "this was for your dad." It was a special moment for all my crew members.  I will be returning to Maine on Tuesday...and I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone..especially my grandchildren,  Thank you again for having an interest in my swim.  

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pat,
Carol and I think you are one dam tough lady. Congrats!

Carol and Greg Brook Phoenix AZ

Anonymous said...

My eyes are full of tears.
You are my Hero!!

BTW: I swam at Pine Point Beach today. When I walked across the beach, several people asked me to give congratulations to you!
And our beach friend, Charly, had tears in his eyes too. He is so proud of you :-)

Yoko

Brian Pettingill said...

Congratulations Pat! I've been watching your site and reading the updates- what a journey you had- way to be strong!! Congratulations- Tina Pettingill

quoddynative said...

Hi Patty!! I'm so glad you're back in Maine and now another swim record has been broken by the one and only "Flipper Charette". Congratulations over and over and over. I've had a lot of people tell me to tell you that was one heck of a swim. Rest up now and take a breather. If anyone deserves that, it's you.

Love and hugs,
Judi Hilton

Henley18 said...

Thanks for the update.
Enjoy the moment-maybe a week.
You will be typing email responses for ever.

You should be refreshed for Catalina
Chapter 2 -or is it 4 is about to begin.

Look forward to seeing you mid to late Sept
I swam for 40 minutes at Pine Point this AM no wetsuit and was still shivering 2 hours later-had to go out and sit in the sun for 15 minutes to stablize-I just do not know how you do it.
Geoff.

Anonymous said...

Pat,
You remind me of my old friend and classmate, Rosalyn Randall. She always said that age was just a number. She ran marathons as training for her ironman events. You're both crazy in a very special, wonderful way.

Thank you for giving your home town a person to be very proud of.

Pennie (Libby) McVicker

PS. Rosalyn is now a Veterinarian in Florida.

Charlotte said...

Congratulations, Pat!! Sarah's blog was great. I could "hear" the excitement just reading the post "she did it". Can't wait to see the pictures. I think the entire state of Maine is glowing in your accomplishemnt. I was teary, too, when telling Ted about Robbie, your nephew and your dedication.

Henley18 said...

As I sit here at lunch thinking about how ineffective my cold water aclimation has been, (damn near becoming hypothermic after 40 minutes at Pine Point yesterday despite working at it since spring) it makes me ponder on whether you have some rare combination of "man and fish" that lets you do what you do with such apparent ease and comfort.
It is a gift that puts you in a position to be an inspiration to many of us and at the same time presents you with the opportunity to not only enjoy your passion for the ocean, but to promote causes such as Swim4your heart.
A lot of other things have no doubt taken a back seat to this swim over the last 4 years, and priorities may change, but I do hope that you find the time in the future to write more chapters in the reocord book of ocean swims by Pat Gallant Charette.

Ranie said...

Congratulations Pat! I am so happy for us both, welcome to the CLUB!!! Ranie

Jane Hoover said...

So, So proud of you, Pat!
What spirit! What grit!
What inspiration! But, then, we already knew all that. What we didn't know was what the Channel gods would do. Sounds like they gave you some great challenges AND some more great stories to tell! Congratulations! Hope you're feeling well. Be in touch. Love, Jane

kimberlykadziolka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimberlykadziolka said...

HI and CONGRATULATIONS!! My sister and I met you a few years ago when we were vacationing at Pine Point when you were training. We followed your blog and were bummed for you when you were forced to quit due to the currents. We returned to Pine Point and wondered if you were ever able to try again. This morning I heard your interview on NPR - what a nice surprise!!! Congrats again!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patty, I am so proud of your accomplishments. I was reading your site and it made me cry. Robbie would be so proud of you. What a special time for his son to accompany you. Hope to see you in Maine up at the lake soon and celebrate your outstanding feat...you should be mighty proud. Hugs and prayers
Barbara (Babs)Hume

Sue said...

After struggling all my life to get an exercise program going, I've finally succeeded, but am always looking for motivation to keep myself going. I think about my mother, who started running in her 50s and kept it up into her 80s. You are an incredible inspiration! Thinking of the dedication and hard work it must take to be a record-breaking swimmer fills me with admiration for you. I'm 65 and I know that I, too, can accomplish something meaningful. You help me see that!

Sue Hubley
Portland

Liane Llewellyn said...

So pleased for you Pat, you are amazing!
Love from Liane and Chris