Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Molokai Channel Swim
My next marathon swim will be in May 2017 between Molokai and Oahu islands in Hawaii. This will be my sixth swim of the Ocean's Seven challenge. Molokai channel located in the Pacific Ocean is known for its abundant marine life, strong currents, mighty wind, and steep waves. Because of the degree of difficulty of this 28 mile marathon swim, I have hired experts from Hawaii. Steve Haumschild of Kaiwi Channel Swim Association will coordinate many of the logistics. He has hired two experienced paddlers to take turns kayaking near me. The 32 foot lead boat will be piloted by Mike Twigg-Smith. Due to aggressive marine life in the area, Mike has required (mandatory) two Shark Shields (purchased by swimmer) for the swim to take place. The Shark Shield emits a harmless electronic impulse to deter sharks. The Shark Shield will be applied to the kayak and I will swim near the kayak to stay in the electronic field. My biggest concern is surprisingly not the sharks, but the potential of getting motion sickness due to sea conditions. I will be wearing a scopolamine patch and take a prescription anti-nausea medication. Ever since childhood, it doesn't take much for me to experience motion sickness. Hopefully the medications will significantly help. Another concern is the possibility of getting stung by box jellyfish. These invertebrates are known for giving very painful stings worse than Portuguese man-of-war. Their tentacles can produce toxins that can be darn right painful and cause severe reactions. They are known to come to the surface of the water at night to spawn. I've been stung by several other types of jellyfish but never by box jellyfish. I can tolerate a lot of pain but a toxic reaction is a potential risk. Crew will be well prepared and trained in the treatment of box jellyfish stings.
My crew will consist of David and Jeannie Gallant and Bill and Jean Gallant. Jeannie will be on land during my swim to help relay messages from crew to family and friends back home. On the day of my swim, my crew and I will fly to Molokai Island from Oahu. Once we land at the airport, we will take a taxi to the beach. During that time my boat pilot will be navigating his way from Oahu to Molokai a three hour boat trip. The reason my boat crew and I will not travel by boat to the start of my swim is that historically many swimmers and crew became seasick before the swim started. When my boat pilot arrives in Molokai, there are no boat docks. My crew will need to swim a short distance out to his boat. My swim will commence at that time. The boat pilot prefers that all swimmers start their swim late in the day, swim into the night at the beginning of the swim and hopefully land at Sand Beach in Oahu during daylight hours the following day. (All swim and crew supplies will be give to boat pilot twenty-four hours prior to the start of swim.). He recommends landing on Oahu in daylight due to rough terrain. If currents push me beyond Sand Beach, it will be easier for pilot to find a safe finish line during daytime hours. My training is going well and I am looking forward to my next swim adventure. Aloha!