Okay, here we go. IF the wind does what it is supposed to (well, at least what it is forecasted to do), right about 11:00 p.m. local time this Friday, September 18 (5:00 p.m. CDT), I will be standing on the beach of Samphire Hoe about to wade into the 63.5 degree water of the English Channel and swim to Cap Gris Nez, or Wissant, France. Wahoo. Finally.
When the time comes you can track me across the Channel by clicking on this link and then clicking on SATELLITE TRACKER - ANASTASIA. See the entry below from September 5 for a full description of what to expect from this GPS tracker. The tracker should be active by about 5:00 p.m. CDT, if we are on schedule.
Also, if my cell phone service works as it should, then Henry will be sending out "Twitter" messages during my swim, which (I think) you can read at www.twitter.com/swimmikeswim. You can also arrange to receive those Twitter updates (I refuse to call them "tweets") on your cell phone as a text message if your prefer, but you'll have to figure out how to set that up yourself. Just ask someone under 30.
Okay, now for some information about the swim. First, yes, I will be doing the first seven hours of my swim in the dark. I always knew swimming at night was a possibility, although I guess everybody hopes to avoid it, if possible. This time, avoiding it wasn't possible. Because of the timing of the tides, it was either seven hours of dark, followed by six or seven (hopefully) hours of daylight - or seven hours of daylight, followed by six or seven hours of night. The later would not be fun, so an 11:00 p.m. start it is. This way at least I get to arrive on a lovely French beach in the daytime. I have trained at night, and it is a little "spooky" at first, but really I don't mind it at all, so it shouldn't be a problem. Oh, I should add that this will be the night of a new moon, so it will be really, really dark out in the middle of the Channel. Just me, the water, the black sky, and the boat - how relaxing, no distractions.
Second, as I mentioned a few days ago, this will be a very strong spring tide. Because we are just a few days off the autumnal equinox, that invisible moon is aligned to pull a lot of water up the Channel. That will make the last mile or so of the swim very hard, but it could actually give me a little help if I time it right, that is, if I finish in twelve hours or less (possible with calm water, but unlikely really).
Third, don't get too confident of my success just because I am getting close to France. That last mile or two is the toughest, and lots of people can't make it to shore, even though they have come so far. You'll know I've made it when that little GPS dot is right along the French coast, or you get a message by Twitter, or email, or whatever.
That's all I can think to write right now. Any questions?
I feel great. Not nervous at all right now, but we'll see how well I sleep the next couple of nights.
Oh, and I have some fabulous news on the fund raising front, but this post is already long enough. Soon.
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