We had a meeting yesterday afternoon to firm up a few details and address concerns.
The wind has been howling at nearly 20 knots. It is slowing down, and the forecast is still good for Thursday with 10 -12 knot winds from the north and wave heights less than 2 meters.
Support will be divided in shifts. Clare and I will meet up with Ron and Rachel at the Island School boathouse at 5 AM. We will motor some 24 miles to Lighthouse Beach for a 6:30 splash. Sunrise is at 7:10, so we will start the swim with a few of the standard green flashing lights on my person and along the kayak deck lines. Rachel will be paddling. Ron will be setting the course.
At approximately 10:30, Charlie will motor out to meet us with Scott. Scott will take over kayaking, Charlie at the helm, Ron and Rachel will head back to the Island School. The third and final shift change will take place around 2:30, with Ron back, and Jai kayaking. Scott might stay on and join me in the water.
There is currently a lot of bullshark activity in the marina at Powell Point. Clare and I went over there yesterday afternoon to check 'em out, and there were a few swimming around. The final mile of the swim will pass through a couple of their hangout spots, so, Clare and I thought it might be a good idea to create a larger presence for the home stretch. There will be an additional kayak at Sunrise Beach for someone to paddle out and meet us.
The Cape Eleuthera Institute is planning to tag a few of the bulls in the marina this afternoon, so hopefully we will be able to watch the process. I'm excited about that.... The only other thing I have to do today is rest and stretch and keep hydrated!
The seed was planted sometime in 2006 during the first Total Immersion Open Water Swim Camp. We were the guests of the Island School www.islandschool.org at an ideal location... Cape Eleuthera; surrounded be water. Every one of the staff has a strong relationship with the ocean, and it was Justin Dimmell who first proposed the swim as "wouldn't it be awesome to...."
I've had the opportunity to explore a bunch of spots along the route during several OW camps and extended visits... the last in 2009, and though it has always been in the back of my mind, this swim has taken a back seat for a few years. The planets have finally aligned, and Clare and I are back at the Island School ready to give it the old college try.
I think it is best if a Marathon Swim is defined by certain geographical features, and this one easily complies. The southern coast line of Eleuthera terminates at Powell Point on the west and East End on the east. The swim will begin and end on land beyond these two points. 22 miles. The start will be just north of the eastern most contiguous point of south Eleuthera. There are a few detached rocks beyond, and it will likely be necessary for the boat and kayak to take the long way around, but I plan to thread the needle. The coastline runs parallel to the Exuma Valley where ocean depths exceed 5000', and in one area, affectionately referred to as "shark alley", the Valley closes in to less than a quarter mile of the shoreline. From here, it will be another 3 miles west to round Powell Point and land on Sunrise Beach.
Though this is still a work in progress, I think we have most of the details sorted out. The winds have been from the south for the past few days, which has created a good amount of chop along the coast...not great, but the good news is that the forecast is for a 180 degree shift for the next few days, and it looks like Thursday, march 27 will be ideal with some overcast and air temperatures in the 70's. Daylight is good, so the plan is to splash just pre-dawn and , hopefully finish before sunset. We will meet up at the boathouse at 5 AM. Clare will be handling my feeds and keeping stats. The remainder of the crew will be working shifts... Scott, Rachel, Jai on kayak, Ron and ? Driving the boat. Personnel will be transferred to location from the Island School dock by another of their fleet.