Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friday, Sept. 18, 11:00 p.m. BST - 5:00 p.m. CDT

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.

Peace!

16 comments:

Graeme said...

I didn't even finish reading the entire post before responding!! Assuming all goes well weather-wise and you DO stick your toe -- and the rest of your body -- into the Channel on Friday night -- best of luck from the four of us here!!

Graeme, Karla, Megan and Ian

Mike Solberg said...

Thanks all you McGuffickes!

Graeme said...

And I have been posting updates about your swim to two U of I swim groups on Facebook. Hopefully some of them will find their way to the "Donate" button...

Lauren said...

So happy for you! Hope it all works out, will check on your status Saturday morning from Cape Town. :)

solly said...

Those winds will be at your back. And there will be a guiding light all the way. God's speed. Dad

Bob said...

Aaaack!! It's finally here! Best of luck, Mike. We're rooting for you.

Bob
Rockford Y Masters.

mondoug said...

Mike - another McGufficke (from Sunshine Coast, Ozzie) wishing for you that all tidal movements are completely and utterly with you!! We await your news Friday evening.

Lisa said...

I think I'm gonna cry...Lewie wishes he was there! Good luck! We're proud of you and Henry!!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for a safe swim. What an adventure and wonderful cause!Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Jan & John Bowman

Anonymous said...

I know that all that hard training is going to pay off. Good luck and swim strong!

Wester Wuori

Anne Kaufman said...

It is unbelieveable that you are taking on this quest. I pray for your safe passage to France. Leave the jelly fish alone and swim Mike swim.

Love and prayers to you and Henry.

Anne

Doug McConnell said...

On behalf of 100 years of Illini swimmers, we will are confident, thrilled, concerned, eager and anxious about your quest. Most of all, we and proud of you and for you. Keep your elbows high and your spirits higher. Swim, Trooper, swim.

Doug McConnell

Mike said...

Thanks everybody! Your good wishes are a nice boost.

Doug, it's especially good to be called a "trooper" again after all these years!

Mike said...

And Bob, love the quote on your profile!

Anonymous said...

God speed and enjoy the algae lights as you churn you way through the water.

"It is when we doubt ourselves the most that true character becomes evident"


Don M.
Friend of a friend (Doug McConnell)

Everett said...

Nice of you to swim the channel on my birthday! Good luck! Janet and I are pulling for you. I know you will do well.