My crew and I departed from the North Island of New Zealand along with Philip Rush and his crew to travel to the South Island. We were informed that weather forecast for later that morning would have increase winds. With only 4 days left to our trip. We decided to go for it. Wind conditions on the South Island, was perfect. However , calm conditions can be deceiving. My crew and I held hands to pay tribute Matt Rairdon. His name was written on my upper arm. My brothers Robbie and Johnny had their names on my forearm. My crew and I wore our "Westbrook Strong" t-shirts on board . As I started my swim, I had a 3 hour delay due to swirling currents keeping me in place. Four hours into the swim, conditions worsened. (I will post a video when I return to Maine next week.). I started having issues with seasickness. However, I felt strong enough to continue. I actually enjoyed swimming in the very choppy conditions. I noticed the finish line was not getting any closer after nearly 10 hours of swimming. Swim legend Philip Rush, the organizer of my swim, said the current had changed (pulling me away from the finish)and it would be impossible to make the finish line. I knew my choices: continue to swim for another 10 hours and be further out in the Pacific Ocean or call it quits. I asked Philip to stop the swim. I felt strong enough to continue with my swim if Mother Nature was on my side. But, she was not.
I was disappointed that I did not finish the swim because this would have been a world record. However, I am not defeated. I will continue with my swim adventures. I discovered for myself that it's the journey that is more important in life than the destination. Swimming Cook Strait was a remarkable experience. I can't thank my crew enough for their support. Also, many thanks to my family and friends for their words of encouragement. And finally, I thought of Matt Rairdon and his family several times during my swim. My brother David who was in the smaller boat, held a sign "In memory of Matthew Rairdon". Domestic violence needs to stop. It is a growing global problem that needs more attention on prevention.