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.