Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catalina swim....dolphin escort.

During the very last mile of my Catalina swim, I was startled by an object 3 feet below me with a dorsal fin. Honestly, I thought it was a shark.  My fear quickly turned to joy when my crew yelled to me that I was being escorted by dolphins. It was an amazing experience I never expected.  Pods of dolphins came to us from all directions.  My crew said there were approximately 100 dolphins converging on us. I could see dolphins beneath me, in front of me, and on my right side. I felt an inner peace....beyond words to describe.  This video only captures a few of the dolphins in the beginning of their escort. My crew said it was a spectacular sight for them to see. The dolphins stayed with us for about 30 minutes. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catalina Swim...What a day!

As we arrived at Catalina Island at midnight in total darkness, my boat captain lowered the anchor to prevent our boat from drifting. One of my Catalina Swim Officials came up to me and said not to worry about the marine life.  She said it was common to see flying fish, sea lions, and maybe a visiting pelican in the area.   As I prepared to jump from the boat into the water, my crew (Bill and Jean) and I joined hands and made this swim a tribute to my brother Johnny who died in a tragic accident at the age of 17.  My brother Robbie's name was on my swim cap as at tribute to him..he died at the age of 34 from a sudden and unexpected heart attack.  As soon as I was ready to jump off the boat, my boat captain shined a light on the 50 foot water pathway to the beach. I had to start my swim from dry land.  I got a shock of a lifetime.  In front of us were thousands of small flying fish (and they were flying out of the water), two sea lions were 20 feet from us and they were very curious of what was happening.  Then suddenly two pelicans landed on the water in front of us.  I turned to my crew and said, "What a welcoming!"  Then all of a sudden six dolphins joined the group.  It was an exciting moment to jump from the boat.  I had to swim through the thickest seaweed I've ever seen in my life. I could barely feel the water. The horn from the boat signaled the beginning of my swim. I had to swim through that bed of seaweed again,  It was awful.  Best to describe it "as trying to swim on a bed". I could barely feel any water.  The next 6 and 1/2 hours I was exposed to diesel fumes due to wind direction. I had the dry heaves and vomiting between 50 to 75 times.  Once the wind changed, I felt fine.  As my swim progressed, it was very foggy.  I didn't feel like I was making any headway but my crew said I was.  I trusted their judgement. Finally after 13 hours of swimming, I could finally see the rocky coast of California.  But suddenly, I had a very frightening experience. I saw a very large object 3 feet below me and it had a dorsal fin.  I yelled to my boat crew, who were monitoring my swim very closely, that "something" was below me.  They all shouted and laughed, "They're dolphins, you are being escorted by over 100 dolphins to the finish line". I looked around and they were everywhere.  What an experience! My official time was 14 hours and 11 minutes.  My brother Bill and my sister-in-law Jean did a fantastic job. They were constantly monitoring my swim. I can't thank them enough. Also, the Outrider boat crew did a fantastic job. My kayaker Kim Miller paddled next to me throughout the night. And, my two Catalina swim officials Marta Gaughen and Anne Cleveland did a superb job..thank you. At the end of my swim I broke the World Record for the Oldest Woman to swim Catalina Channel (aka San Pedro's Channel). Also, after my swim I spoke to several swimmers about "Swim for Your Heart..Feb14" a global swim event to bring an awareness of heart disease and prevention. A few people I would like to thank from back home....My training partner Yoko and her husband Dick...we've had great training swims at Pine Point Beach..thank you. The "Y" for their great programs especially their pool, thank you.  My husband Jim for his unrelenting support of my swimming, thank you.  My daughter Sarah for updating my blog during my swim and for her being my "rock", thank you.  And lastly, to my son Tom who inspired me 14 years ago to swim as a tribute to my brother Robbie, I will never forget his words, "You could, if you tried." Thank you.   And a special thank you to the rest of my family, friends, and fellow swimmers for their words of encouragement and support.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Official time

Official swim time of 14 hours 11 minutes and 40 seconds!
Ended swim at 2:19pm California time (5:19pm eastern time)

She did it!

Mom is now an official world record holder as the world's oldest woman to cross the Catalina Channel. Swim time if just over 14 hours!
Job well done Mom!
We are so proud of you!

Almost there......

I just heard from the boat crew; Mom is less than 1 mile from shore.
Woohoo! Go Mom!

2 3/4 miles to go...

I heard from the crew about 20 minutes ago; Mom has 2 3/4 miles to go, she's notched up her swimming and looking great! Mom has opted to finish without a kayaker guide. Apparently the Kayaker helped guide mom through the night and took a planned break. Mom is doing well and felt that she did not need the kayaker guide. Weather and water conditions are good; diesel fumes continue to be a problem.

Less than 4 miles to go

I just heard from the boat crew; less than 4 miles to go!

She just picked up a nautical mile

Stroke count has increased to 60. She just picked up a nautical mile; awesome!
The crew is reporting foggy conditions along the shoreline as they approach.

Less than 10K left to swim

The crew is reporting that Mom is feeling better; the nausea has subsided. She has about 10K left to swim (aprox. 5.7 nautical miles). Currently she is doing the light carb mix and at times straight water with feedings.

WooHoo! 1/2 way :O)

I just heard from Mom's boat crew; Mom is 1/2 way done her swim and still going strong.

Close to half way!

At close to 6 1/2 hours into swim, Mom is within a mile of half way point. Nausea continues to be a problem. Stroke count has increased to 60; so she is trying to pick up the pace. The crew reports that she seems to be getting into her groove :O)

Nausea improves

The crew just informed me that that the fumes continue to be terrible; mom's nausea seems to be  improving some. Her latest feeding was 1/2 myoplex and 1/2 carb drink. They are hoping it will stay down and not feed the fish...LOL. The crew is estimating that with her current stroke count that the swim may take a total of 16 hours to complete; but we all know that stroke count can vary as well as the weather/water conditions.

Diesel fumes continue to be a problem

At the moment, the crew has informed me that diesel fumes from the boat that is guiding Mom across the channel continue to be a problem. She is taking in flat coke and eating ginger every 1/2 hour to control the nausea. Stroke count 57.

Catalina Channel swim has started...

Hi all! This is Sarah (Pat's daughter); I will be keeping up the blog during Mom's swim.
Mom started her swim at 12:07a.m. (California time) = 3:07a.m. Eastern time.
Just before she started swimming there were Pelicans, flying fish and a sea lion feeding on thousands of fish. Water temperature is 64 degrees and air temperature is 61 degrees. Conditions are good.

I will continue to keep up the blog as I receive text messages from the boat crew.
GO MOM! :o)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Countdown to Catalina swim

On Monday night October 17th, my brother Bill and sister-in-law Jean and I will be departing for Catalina Island on the Outrider charter boat with four of their crew. Two Catalina Channel Swim Federation officials will be on board to monitor my swim. I will have a kayaker at my side,too.  My swim will start at midnight Monday(Pacific Time) 3 a.m. Eastern Standard time on Tuesday.  My daughter Sarah will start posting on my blog about 7 a.m. (EST).  She will attempt to update every couple of hours. This swim is a tribute to my brother Johnny who died at the age of 17 in a tragic accident.  I will have his name written on my arm.  And, my swim cap will have the "Swim for Your Heart..Feb 14" logo in memory of Robbie who died of a heart attack at the age of 34. If Mother Nature is on my side and I reach Point Vicente (California), this will be the World Record for the Oldest Women to swim San Pedro Channel commonly known as Catalina Channel.