My crew and I will be heading to Ireland in two weeks to attempt my fifth swim of the Oceans Seven Challenge. I've already completed four of the solo swims: English Channel (England to France), Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Africa), Catalina Channel (California) and the Tsugaru Strait (Japan). For the North Channel swim, I will have a one week slot with my boat pilot Quinton Nelson. I will start my swim from Donaghadee, Ireland and swim 21 miles to Portpatrick, Scotland. My slot is from August 27 to September 2, 2013. The North Channel will be my most difficult swim so far. The Irish Sea is known for their heavy seas, very cold water temperatures, and marine life. My biggest concern is the growing problem of jellyfish in the North Channel. Lion's mane jellyfish is the largest known species of jellyfish. Their body can be up to eight feet in diameter with tentacles over 120 feet long. These jelly fish are known to travel in large numbers. Their stings are extremely painful but usually not fatal. My crew (brother David and his wife Jeannie) are both in the medical field and they are well trained to deal with any crisis that may arise. During this swim there will be a unique set of challenges----- possible hypothermia and severe jellyfish stings. We have carefully planned a detailed response to each potential problem. At the age of 62, I feel strong and healthy. I continue to work 32 hours a week as a nurse and help care for my young grandchildren 40+ hours per week (ages 5, 2, and 1). I am very fortunate to have a great husband who supports my dream of completing the Ocean's Seven Challenge. Also, my children, Sarah and Tom, continue with their ongoing love and support. I want to thank my swim training partner, Yoko Aoshima, for her dedication to the sport of open water swimming. She has inspired me with her determination and great love of open water swimming. Yoko did not know how to swim five years ago. Now, she's a fast and talented open water swimmer. She's an amazing athlete!
If mother nature is on my side, I feel very confident that I have the ability to reach Scotland in approximately 18 hours. It is possible that I may set a record for the oldest swimmer. Crew member Jeannie will send text messages from the boat to my daughter Sarah who will place updated postings on my blog "Pat's Channel Swim". This swim will be an adventure of a lifetime...I'm greatly looking forward to it.