Thank you for taking the time to find this page. Below is a summary of my progress and some of the events and people I have met during this adventure.
I'm not sure how this journey will end. I can not guarantee success with such great challenges but I can guarantee my commitment and determination to do whatever is within my ability to help such great causes. I hope you will join me in supporting my work.
Swim report to follow
Having completed part 1 and 2 of the 3 SWIMS of Europe (Swimming the Gibraltar Straits and the English Channel) in the summer of 2016 I completed the trilogy of Europe’s most iconic swims July 2017. The final swim was between Europe and Asia by swimming the Bosphous , Istanbul ,Turkey on 23rd July 2017.
I managed to film from within the water during the event.
These are summary overviews of my English Channel Two-way swim as part of the 3 SWIMS of Europe Challenge. I swam for 41 hours and 44 minutes travelling a distance of 92.3 miles. I passed out with fatigue with 1200 yards (less than a mile) left to swim back to the UK.
How do you condense 42 hours of swimming into something short and not too tedious? I couldn’t find the answer but have taken the excellent footage taken by the team and tried all I can to make it hopefully something you’ll want to watch.
There is also a light hearted spoof of the crew debriefing.
I hope they gives a flavour for the 2 days (but don’t cover everything)
To be continued...........
Gibraltar Straits is where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet and is the historic point between Europe and Africa.
The geographical distance is about 8 miles.
The swim started in Tarifa Island and landed in the vicinity of Punta Cires having to swim 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres)
This swim had been on my dream list for decades and proved elusive to get organised and the windy conditions when we were over there made the wait even longer . We eventually got to swim the Strait and it was a great feeling achieveing one of the worlds great swims.
We woke early on the Saturday morning about 6am. I had slept well and have always enjoyed the pre match pressure as I am realistic that no one is forcing me to do these events and this really is the adage of “Living the dream”. Mark Pollard ,swim buddy, however had a rotten night’s sleep not helped by the Friday night post pub Spanish singing outside the hotel in the street. I could understand his apprehension. Swimming between continents is a big deal so he was justified in his concerns but equally I was confident he could do it because I had seen as much in training, and also I knew he would feel better once we set off. Both ultimately turned out to be true.
Mark, Tony and I set out to the harbour and met the pilot, Antonio, at 7am as agreed. He was expressing his concern that the weather was due to turn at midday and that he thinks we should go Sunday because the weather was perfect all day. We had half expected this and Mark and I had agreed that as long as it was swimmable on the Saturday we would take our chance.
I did however think it will be a close call for when we would finish for when the weather would close in and it was more about how much and how quick it would close in.
We gave Antonio our assurances that were keen to go today and that we felt strong enough to take on the challenge. We set off at 7.30 with Rafael having come down to the harbour to see us off. His final words as we left the jetty were brilliant and very much my sense of humour. He said with a smile “Don’t let me down!”
We jumped from the boat and swam back towards to Spanish lighthouse on the island by Tarifa. We had seen this lighthouse from the other side for a whole week and now we were seeing it from the waterside. We touched the rock, the hooter went and we started the swim.
The first hour was comfortable as I set my tempo to the same as Mark’s as we had throughout training. In fact apart from the salty water, the sunshine breaking through, the waves and a boat alongside us it was just like swimming in the lido. OK I know it was nothing like the lido – apart from the cold which was similar and not an issue.
The second hour the water became a bit more turbulent with the water circulating off the mainland exactly as Rafael had explained a week early when we first met him. The effect is that the sea is trying to push us back in land and we had to pull our way through this for about half an hour before we hit the long relatively smooth section.
When we reached the smoother water I tried to lengthen my stroke again and felt good while concentrating on technique. I however started to notice Mark had started to drop back and I assumed it was the choppy bit we had just been through that had taken a bit of energy from him and maybe the next feed would help that.
We were now on 45 minute feeds (we were on the hour for the first two hours). Mark looked strong after the next feed but I decided to combine swimming alongside Mark with swimming ahead and then waiting for a bit and really taking in the events, the coastline and how good it felt to be swimming in the straits. The coast line was really clear now and it was nice to see the hill side, and houses.
After the fourth feed we could feel ourselves being pushed away from the coast so made the next feed extra quick. I told Mark we needed to move on quickly which Mark did because he knew the importance of getting to Morocco before midday but later told me he regrets not getting his Haribos at that feed. I dislike Haribos so was more than comfortable to live with the fact I didn’t be the chance to have an annoying jelly sweet washed down with cold salt water.
We forgo any further feeds due to the currents starting to intensify and the weather conditions were starting to show the signs of getting worse as the pilot had predicted. This was a shame because could have done with a kick of energy for the final section which had now become quite turbulent. I could see we were almost there so swam slightly ahead to find out from the support dingy what needed to happen for the final swim in and where to go. I then shouted to Mark to swim over to where I am which he was finding it hard to see me due to the rolling height of the waves they were now up to about a metre and making communication challenging. When mark got over to me I for the first time realised Mark was tired. He had looked so strong for the whole of the swim but this last section was taking its toll.
I shouted to Mark “Only 20 strokes to go!” which he didn’t believe so but we swam towards the rocks in front of us and by the time we’d done about 18 strokes we had more to worry about than whether it was 20 or 25 strokes because we were now getting pushed against the rocks by an aggressive set waves. We timed it and caught the next wave and then grabbed
The rock as we were lifted and as the wave dropped down I could hear the hooter go off on the boat to signal the end of the swim. We had reached Morocco in 4 hour and 22 minutes.
The sun was high in the sky as we got back onto the main boat and was greeted by both tony and the Pilot. The journey home got very choppy as the weather front warned of had already started to move in and for the first time I started to feel nauseous but thankfully not enough to be sick.
When we got back into town we were greeted at the Hotel and the Restaurant with congratulations from those who had seen our frustrations build during the week as each swim day came and went.