The staff at the Island School/ Cape Eleuthera Institute all wear a lot of hats and have to be flexible. Clare and I headed to the boathouse for our 5 am rendezvous with Ron, and learned that Scott would be taking the first shift on kayak. Rachel (who was supposed to take the first kayak shift) was up very late taking care of a student needing medical attention.
Our boat was loaded with kayak and supplies for the day... We only needed to board with our personal items and head for Lighthouse Beach. Ron held a course about 1/2 mile off shore. Traveling around 20 knots was smooth, and the ambient light of the full moon somehow made the air feel warmer. When we arrived at Lighthouse, Ron dropped anchor about 100 yards from the beach. There are some shallow coral formations that were hard to differentiate from the dark areas of turtle grass from topside, but once I goggled up, I could see quite clearly as I swam to the beach accompanied by Scott. It was now about 6:45... A few minutes later than the 6:30 start goal, but with my back to the low cliff, I was facing a full moon; bright white, beams shooting through the scattered clouds and striking the ocean in the distance. Behind me, and out of sight, I could sense the orange-red glow of the soon to be rising sun. What a production. The lighting crew here is top notch!
I stood atop a plastic milk crate that just happened to be lying on the beach, raised my hand, lowered my arm as Scott blew a whistle to signal the boat that we were off. The low level of atmospheric light appeared to be magnified under the waters surface, and the features were quite clear as Scott and I pass through the narrow channel which (see figure 1) is very shallow, and separates the first detached rock from the island proper. Turn right.... Continue.
We hold a steady course at what feels to me like a quarter mile from shore on my right; Scott kayaking steadily along at my ten 'clock; Clare and Ron in the boat... A 22 foot center console inboard-outboard with a t- top canopy. The bottom remains clearly visible in water that I guess ranges from 15 to 30 feet deep. The features alternate between clean sandy bottom, sea grasses, and coral heads. I see turtles, lobsters, tube sponges, sea fans, sting rays, friendly little colorful reef fish, etc. It's a moving picture show I've become familiar with, so... Nothing really distracting, and no strong urges to interrupt the swim for a free dive to the bottom for a closer inspection. Onward. Before my 3 hour feed I notice the sea grassed bent acutely towards us. The ebb has begun a bit earlier than I guessed it would... But it was purely a guess, as the tide data locations are each more than thirty miles away, one on the east of the island, and one on the west of the island. From east to west there is about a 2 hour difference, so the theory is to calculate the distance from one of those points and take your best guess. Example.... Midway between the two: add an hour from the east or subtract an hour from the west. Yes, it's crude, but since we are heading in a westerly direction, I expect the ebb to be longer than 6 hours. Still gives us plenty of time to finish with a flood.
Hour 4, and like clockwork, the transfer boat arrives with Charlie and Rachel. For a couple of minutes I swim ahead while Scott and Rachel switch out on kayak, but soon, Rachel paddles up to my left, Charlie and Clare keeping watch from "Dave and Di", and Ron and Scott are heading back to the dock where I'm sure other duties await them.
I'm only marginally familiar with the distances and landmarks along the course on this stretch and I ask Rachel if we are approaching Bannerman Town. She lets me know that we are coming up on Davis Marina... Bannerman Town was way back. Davis Marina is 10.8 miles from where we started... half way at 6hrs 40mins. Two miles beyond Davis is Plum Creek. I vaguely remember swimming to a small wreck during a previous Total Immersion Swim Camp visit to Plum Creek, and Rachel confirms... We will be going right over it. Plum Creek is at about 13 miles from Lighthouse... Another mile and a half and we are passing Deep Creek. This is the last settlement we pass from Rock Sound until we arrive at the Island School. A few faculty members live here, and there are a couple of favorite establishments at the crossroad... Friendly Bob's bar and liqueur store and Sharil's Restaurant...No Swearing: No Hustling. http://www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com/sharils.html
I'm not sure where we were when the next team change occurred, but I do remember that Jai was kayaking and Rob had taken over at the wheel while the ebb was still going strong. I recognized Diel Point by the monument standing tall. Things were starting to look familiar now as we were approaching the stretch favored for our early morning " coach's swims" from camps past. From Diel Point it was easy to see the Chub Point rock pile memorial. Up to this point, we have been moving through shallow water... Less than 40 feet, but now, Jai and I were at the edge of the canyon. To my left was the abyss and we traveled the knife edge for a bit before going deep. The sun was now pretty low in the sky, and the synchronized change in atmospheric light and my view to black was intense. Three silver trigger fish bumbled by... From a distance, i thought they were sunfish. I stopped to watch them pass. Large groups of pink moon jelly fish were bubbling up from the deep. Occasionally bumping into me and then tumbling away.
We passed Chub Point wide, and it felt like things were flooding now, but without a visual lock on the seagrass, I really had no point of reference. The shoreline here is very familiar and soon we would pass High Rock and Fourth Hole Beach. That iconic photo; fisheye lens of Terry Laughlin and me was taken right at High Rock. This one is at Fourth Hole: http://www.totalimmersion.net/open-water-camps
Scott and Rachel were heading out from Fourth Hole to join us for the home stretch... Scott swimming, and Rachel kayaking. I didn't see Scott until he was right next to me, but I was able to anticipate their arrival as Jai was waving and raising his paddle as they approached. The green lights that I attached to the deck lines of the kayak were again visible to me, and I assumed that the green strobe on my goggle strap was equally visible. Night had fallen, but the bottom was again visible. It was hard to differentiate between the streetlights, marina lights and headlights. A large welcoming crew was waiting for our landing, and two of the school vans had driven close to the beach with their headlights lighting the finish. The flood was ripping around the point. We shot past the intended finish by about a hundred yards.
13 hours 41 minutes 55 seconds... A beautiful journey!
My exit through the rocky strip was surprisingly graceful... I had warned everyone not to be alarmed by what would almost certainly be a spastic-stumble-crawl to the beach. Better to prepare for the worst.
Rather than swim back to the boat, I opt for a van ride thinking I could probably be showered, dried off ,and dressed before the boat docks and unloads. Ron gives me the shirt off his back and the hat off his head for the ride. Karen delivers food… some delicious wahoo and pasta. I’m too tired to eat, but wake up early the next day and devour it all.
I got a bit burned. Perhaps the sunscreen was a bit past its best by date. Clare wants to go for a swim, and a little cool down swim sounds like a good idea. We do a few laps around the reef balls outside of the dining area and then swim north toward the CEI dorms. We swim into a group of 12 spotted eagle rays in four feet of water. They divide and swim around us… one bumps Clare and they swim onward. It’s a lazy day for us that goes by quickly, and a celebratory dinner at Sharil’s was the perfect way to gather all those who made the swim possible and talk about future plans to introduce this amazing place to more swimmers.
So many thanks to an amazing crew!
Team coordinator: Karen Knight
Pilots: Ron Knight, Charlie Sandor, Rob Lloyd
Kayakers: Scott Aland, Rachel Shapiro, Jai Leal
Mixologist, observer, better half: Clare
…and to those responsible for introducing me to the amazing swimming world of South Eleuthera: Terry Laughlin, Justin Dimmell, Andrew Farrell, and Chris Maxey
Updated April 14th, 2013 at 06:51 PM by chaos
I was dead today from deep tissue + yesterday's all day gardening session. So I just hopped in and went 1650 EZ.
We definitely had crazy buyers. When they found out we hired our own engineer, in a huff, they signed releases to the K based on their guy's report. Then they submitted an email detailing repairs they wanted and were in another huff when they found we had put the house back on the market. I'm not sure they even read our engineer's report or his rebuttal of their engineer Their engineer (who we guess may not be one since the report wasn't stamped) thought we should do things like rip up 1920s floors to make the joists closer and rip out walls to put in copper piping for one drain that was in perfect working order. The report was basically a wish list of structural upgrades. And they attempted to outright lie and say their inspection company didn't do repairs, which was patently false (do they think we can't use google?). Today, they said they would hire a third engineer if we would agree, in advance, to pay whatever repairs that engineer suggested. ?!?!?! Really whacko buyers to think any sane person would agree to that. I'm not sure if they're just idiots or they think it's a buyers market here or what ... Even their home inspector said it was a unique property in wonderful shape for an old house with numerous upgrades already (new garage, new guest house, new pool, new windows, new roof, new wiring, new kitchen). I'm glad we washed our hands of them. Now I have to vacate the house because another prospective buyer is coming over. And it looks like we may have to have another open house during Zones next weekend. Not the best timing, oh well. Jimby and Stud, who are staying here, will have to be super neat. :-)
I'm just so very glad they precipitously signed a release so that we could put it back on the market right away. I hope the next prospective buyers are not insane. Please.
Updated April 14th, 2013 at 07:09 PM by The Fortress
Just when things were going really well and I felt like momentum was headed in the right direction... bang... caught my foot just right on the tiles during a flip turn and sliced it open pretty good; nice and deep.
I was in the middle of a nice hard workout too... in the second set of what was supposed to be 3 x 4 x 100 on 3:00 at about 95%. I was coming in at 1:12-1:15, my fastest times ever in freestyle, the lactic acid was building up nicely, I was at about 2600 for the workout... hoping to get in about 4000, when I cut my foot. I got it out of the water and over the drain on the deck before it started bleeding too badly, but I could tell it was deep. The lifeguard helped me to stop the bleeding and bandage it; but there would be no cool-down, which really sucked. I pushed the skin backed together, hoping it would heal up on its own and not require stitches, and it stopped bleeding pretty quickly. Neosporin and clean dressing for the rest of the day and it seemed to be coming along nicely. I did some yoga yesterday morning before work and didn't have any problems, and left the bandage off... maybe the air would help it heal. But last night when I got home I noticed it had been oozing and left a stain in my sock, so I decided to take the night off from swimming.
Today I used the skin-crack sealer and took it to the pool for a good 3500; I kept an eye on the foot and the wound never re-opened, so I think I'm in the clear. Tomorrow I'll be back on track. Today's workout was dreamed up by Scotty. My freestyle was a lot slower than Thursday's workout, but I think maybe I was still sore from that effort and from not helping my recovery along with a good cool-down. A lot of IM work today:
400 EZ free
4 x 100 on 2:00 (1:30-1:33)
4 x 50 on 1:00 (:40-:41)
5 x 200 IM on 5:00 (3:28-3:34)
5 x 100 IM on 2:15 (1:40-1:45)
400 IM (mid 7:20s)
500 EZ free
About 70 minutes in total. My endurance on fly feels a lot better. And my kick on breast is coming along, but it was not a super fast day by any means.
Afterward I got in 30 minutes with the core and weights; 5 minutes of core work (bird dog, front plank, flutter kicks), then:
3 x 10 lunges
3 x 10 military press
3 x 10 squats
3 x 10 incline press
3 x 10 sumo squats
3 x 10 upright rows
3 x 10 bench press
3 x 10 seated row*
3 x 10 decline press
3 x 10 lat pull downs*
*70 lbs; everything else was with 20 lb dumbbells and alternated exercises w/ each set (lunges w/ military press for ex.), without any rest between sets or exercises. I'm surprised at how I can work up a pretty good sweat after about 15 minutes of this.