"I'll hae nae hauf-way hoose but aye be whaur extremes meet..." Hugh McDiarmid

Thursday, 17 May 2012

al-Fahal island swim

this morning was the fahal island swim. it was down to be the first fundraiser of my clipper adventure. unfortunately I didn't confirm my kayak/kayakers until the weekend, so I couldn't really publicise it that well :(

I did it anyway cos, you know, I'm that kind of girl :)

last night after work, I had an arabic class. I didn't get home til about 9.15pm after getting diesel and cash out etc, and still hadn't had my tea. I like to carb load before an event early in the morning cos I either a) can't get up in time for breakfast, or b) can't eat breakfast... so about 9.45pm last night I sat down to a massive plate of macaroni cheese (my all-time favourite) followed by a chocolate custard (don't judge me). eventually got to bed just after 11pm. woke up before my alarm about 4.45am and had breakfast - it was a register at 6am and swim at 7.30am so I figured it made sense.

the fahal swim is really well run. everything is very tightly timetabled and there isn't any time to get dead nervous :)

met up with my sea support and got them set off about 6.30am - they had to kayak out to the island before the race meaning they travelled about 9km total. thankfully they both had big wide-brimmed hats on so were easy to spot! we numbered off, got our photo taken on the beach and then ferried out to the island in a small fleet of motor boats. our guy let us stay on the boat til the last minute so we didn't waste any energy treading water...

the orange rib arrived, and we numbered off again to make sure everyone was there. then it was the start. first thing to do? find my kayak! considering there were around 90 swimmers, all with support, it was a bit of a melee for the first five minutes... there was 1.5knots of current this morning so we all had to head to the right hand side of the bay to avoid being swept round the corner into the oil refinery. jamie and mark (my kayakers) did a perfect job of aiming me so I didn't get stuck. all I was looking at was the hull underwater! it meant I didn't have to sight, which was good otherwise I'd probably still be out there, or in Iran...

there were loads of fish and stuff that I was trying not think about as well, but I did really well at not thinking about them :) the water was so clear I spent most of the swim being completely transfixed by my hands and the bubbles they left in the water... annoyingly my sea goggles leaked a bit, probably not tight enough. I ended up having to stop every 400m to empty them. mark reckoned I would have been under 1h30m if that hadn't happened :( someone at the end said we should take 8 minutes off our times to compensate for the current though, so it's not too bad :)

I would strongly recommend anybody doing an open water swim NOT to google 'sea snakes' the night before - it is just not going to end well. they are pretty big. even though I had read that they don't attack humans, my friend Lea told me this morning that if they do attack you, they kill you in ten minutes. thanks Lea...

I also never thought I would say to someone (and mean it) 'please don't tell me if you see anything in the water, unless you think it might eat me'.

it was a great event though and hopefully I'll do it next year - with a faster time :D

photos as soon as I find anyone who got any of me!!

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