2019 – has been a Busy year! so Far!

So this year, i have successfully completed 3 swims –

All 3 have been totally different – but iconic in their own way!

  1. GIBRALTAR STRAITS – from Tarifa (in Spain) to Morocco -We had a great 10 day trip, staying in Bologna, Spain with Raju and Prabhat Koli (Mumbai), Ravi Sandesh from Southern India, Douglas Comstock form CT in USA, Deborah Vine from UK , plus Jenny Fitzgerald and I from Little Old Jersey! I had arranged the trip and had a lot of help and assistance from Nathan Payas and his Family (Gibraltar) who was also swimming with the ‘faster group’ and also ACNEG who organise the swims there. They were ACE! Jenny Deb and I arrived on Saturday 20th April, and the faster group were due to swim on Easter Sunday – the next day, on 21st!  The swim went perfectly and they completed it in 4hrs and 20 mins! Brilliant. Then the ‘Masters’ – Douglas, Deb and I had to wait around for the wind and weather to calm down – which blew ALL week and it was cold.. we even had to put the heating on in the apartment! Anyway – we were rewarded with a perfect day on 26th April – we started in a cracking sunrise  at about 07.30 am and 5hrs 40mins later we finished in Morocco! Awesome – despite poor Douglas being very sick!!! JOB DONE -we had a few more fun days n Gibraltar and eating very well – then  Jenny left a couple of days later and we stayed on until April 30th and then all went home TRIUMPHANT . A GOOD TRIP INDEED! Laughed a LOT!  (PHOTOS AVAILABLE ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE – UNTIL I CAN UPLOAD THEM!)

2. I SWAM ACROSS THE ARTIC CIRCLE!  this too was another Iconic Swim! 8 of us left Jersey on 11 July. After an overnight stay in LGW and the Premier Inn, we flew to Stockholm in Sweden on 12th had food at the airport – then on to Lulea – and then drove to Juoksengi where we were staying for the weekend. Collected our registration packs, and then on to our chalets. I was room sharing with Karen le Cornu and Nicki B. Hayley, Karen G, Ali Wood, Irene McGachy and Bianca  were all sharing the bigger Chalet. Went and got a few groceries and stuff and then chilled a bit before Bed. We had a fast down river 2k swim on the Saturday – Nicki did great = i vowed to swim with her and we were all looking forward to the 3K swim that night. Went to the pick up point (the finish) left the cars and got the bus at 8.30pm-ish – this took us over the boarder to Finland where we were due to start – just after midnight. We started at 12.10 am in Finland – it was daylight too! Swam down river – – all live streamed – and finished where we had finished earlier – at 11.50pm – so we went back in time! AWESOME!!! went into the hot tubs to warm up – and then home to eat and drink – still daylight all night! Very weird but also very cool! On the Sunday we went to find a Market in Finland – and then relaxed at home with home cooked dinner. Left Very early on Monday 15th  – and it took all day to get back to Jersey… Yawn – but we all did it – it was BRILLIANT! (PHOTOS AVAILABLE ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE UNTIL I CAN UPLOAD THEM!)


3. LAKE TAHOE SWIM 2019, California – at approx.2300m altitude. ..

So, last week, I was in Lake Tahoe , California. Initially I was asked to go and support Prabhat Koli in his bid for his “Californian Triple Crown”. He swam the Anacapa channel in early July.
This consists of Catalina and a Santa Barbara Channel swims plus Lake Tahoe… 21.3 mile route, the Length.
When I was asked to do this, I though as I was travelling that far.. why not do it as well? after I had supported him? So, I was fortunate to meet Sylvia Lacock and Bryan Temmermand of the Pacific Open Water Company and swim the 10k “Golden Gate Bridge to the bay Bridge ( via Alcatraz!) in November last year with them along with 8 other Swimming legends .. so I chatted with them about logistics and availability.. and booked it after that..
training ensued and come July 25, the time came to travel over..
I flew into San Francisco on Friday 26 July. Stayed with friends Steven Breiter and Carol Breiter.. they collected and hosted me.. and took me up to Tahoe on the Saturday.. this was in fact Prabhat Koli’s 20th birthday too and he was due to start swimming that evening.
We collected a car rental, and drove up, then, after lunch prepared for the swim..and rested.
The first impression I got when I saw California’s “Blue Jewel”(the Lake)..was just how vast and mahousive it is… ‘an ocean in a Lake’.. but I would be able to see it unfold on Prabhat’s swim…it is way bigger than Jersey where I live, to put it into perspective..

Drove to the start ( South Shore) for 7 pm..
Extensive Briefing on the dock, with Bryan and Sylvia . Sean would also be on board as our observer.
Set off just after 8 to get started…
Prabhat jumped in at about 8.15 to get started at 8.20
It was a beautiful evening and the sun was about to set..
they start the swim at night to finish in the mornings before the winds come up every afternoon..plus many pleasure boats are on the lake in the daytime.
PK started well, first feed good.. 2nd feed .. he asked for painkillers… not a good start… never seen this… his left shoulder had gone… so at just over 3hours..he decided to come out due to his shoulder” the correct decision..to save further injury.
The NIGHT SKIES WERE INCREDIBLE..MILKY WAY, NORTH STAR, BIG DIPPER, SHOOTING STARS…just amazing..so so clear with the black night backdrop..
So, got him out and dressed, and returned to the dock..
Now.. we had the worst drive back in the dark,, tired AND without my glasses……but WE MADE IT. And went straight to sleep.
Next morning we talked it all through..and now it was my turn to start preparing.
I was due to start Wednesday eve 31st….
Went and got all my good food supplies.lots of good proteins and veg, with potatoes etc etc..
Had a couple of little swims on the Monday and Tuesday, plus a good massage before I swam..
Had a sudden crew change on swim day, poor Amy Appelhans Gubser could not make it after all.. so Steve offered to step in along with Prabhat Koli – and Carol would also come up to help out with transport etc etc etc..
Ranie Pearce was coming up to be my observer.. nerves were kicking in big time but got to start resting at lunchtime on the Wednesday.
Got down to the start early.. briefing done and dusted early,.ran though all my feed plan with everyone..and we got going to the start early.. much breezier tonight.. but not unduly so..
Bryan started playing Eagles ‘Hotel California’ for me as we motored to the starting place,.
Splash time ended up being about 8.10pm.. and I was off.
I won’t go into all the full details, but will try and highlight how tough this swim turned into …

The water was circa 20c.. it was the warmest on record.. before I arrived my biggest worry with this amazing venue, was the night time temperatures..it is still a Ski resort!! There is snow still on the mountains.. but as it transpired.. they never bothered me AT ALL..
Night swimming has never bothered me either.. PK has said it was tricky focussing on the boat, so I had asked for a couple of extra glow sticks on the side of the boat..that really did help.
However, my new tried and tested goggles.. started fogging up immediately.. they did not help at all! Kept having to rinse them… I was due Hourly feeds until day break..so just got on with it.
THE NIGHT SKIES did not disappoint , yet again..
I know at some stage, I changed boat sides as the wind was from the west.. but that created more issues with fogging goggles and darkness.. few close calls with the boat on my part….it was tricky staying a safe distance..especially as I was getting tired into the swim.
So I think that when daybreak broke, and I changed my goggles which made a big difference.. and changed back to the port side as the wind had stopped..but then, I had a coffee.. as I requested..
but it didn’t stay down.. and from there onwards, the whole swim become a complete,y new one…I think it was from about 8hrs onwards..(TBC)
All my feeds did not stay down. I was being so sick. Uncontrollably so.. it was horrid. ..
I had not had a chance or opportunity to see where the finish was.. that was playing on my mind too.
Nobody could or would tell me how far I had to swim..and so it continued…for a further 8 hours plus when I could finally see the finish beach .Incline Beach.. Bryan moved me to the starboard side so he could talk to me and guide me to the finish spot.. I could now see Shilpa & Raju Koli and Carol waiting for me.
The sun was so hot too..I had no idea how long I’d been swimming for, It felt like 24hrs! At least..
anyway, here I was. Stood up very slowly.. wow, it was difficult.. rather like my 2 way finish when I’d lost all my balance!
Walked in slow,y but surely.. and made a very undignified exit and fell up onto the beach.. and immediately carried on throwing up.. for at least 30/40 mins in full sun.
I felt so rough. It was midday-ish.. swim time was 16hrs 17mins…I was pleasantly surprised with that especially how I felt right at that moment.. we got some group finish pics with everyone..and then finally, I was assisted to the bathroom..on my way to the car.
The throwing up continued… and continued..through the rest of that day..and night.. and the next day..when we travelled down from the altitude back to Sacramento where I could recover better..
Friday night was the last ‘throw up’ and I took myself to bed early to tray and sleep through to Saturday.. which I did.
Ate little and often that day and had a quiet day home
Sunday I was improved a bit more, and took the family out for dinner..
Monday morning I woke up hungry.. finally!
Left San Francisco Monday afternoon for home after taking Steve out for a good lunch before I left..
They were so good to me.i am forever indebted.. thank you Guys
Finally arrived home last night to my 2 Boys, who were also very pleased I was home safely at last.

Would I do it again? NO.. but happy to support!
There are 2 /3 shorter routes available.. who knows, maybe one day..

What did I learn..? SO MUCH about how the body can go through so much, and still achieve..
PMA.. in the words of Paul Hornyak who swam it 2 days before me..(he also has a brutal swim)
Delighted I finished ..thank you to EVERYONE involved in any way at all..

Apparently, I am only the 2nd British/European Lady to complete this swim.. Kathy Batts Ne Smith was the first last year.
Also, the 4th Briton . Kevin Murphy and Mark Sheridan have also swum this..but, surprise surprise.. I am the oldest Briton…so far! YAY!

Almost forgot to add the positives..
No salt mouth, no chafing, no jellyfish and I DID IT!!

Carol so kindly collected sand from the start and finish beaches for me; Steve bottled them for me as my swim souvenirs.. photos attached
here are just a few pics that I have of the stay, swim and afterwards

takin a well earned rest now in a build up to my 6th Decade English Channel Swim –