Off to Dover – and one helper dropped out

Vasanti and Jackie Cobell, record for longest Channel swim - Redkord für den längsten Ärmelkanalschwimm

with Jackie Cobell, one of the Channel heroes for the longest English Channel swim: it took her 28 hours 44 min. to reach France in 2010 – but she would not give up!

Arrived in Dover via Euroline bus and ferry for a few days of acclimatizing before my tide Sept. 5 – 11. Just in time for a nice Sat. morning training swim of 4 hours and again 3,5 hours on Sunday (due to Dover Regatta we were not allowed to stay in the water longer.)

Met Channel swimmers, aspirants and all kinds of heroes on the beach as usual, including legendary Jackie Cobell, who holds the record for the longest / slowest Channel swim ever, testimony to incredible stamina, determination and endurance!

Sananda, my helper from Vienna, is only arriving on the 5th, hopefully there will be a more stable weather period for a change, the last neap tides (Aug 21-27) were basically wiped out again. My second helper just dropped out for family reasons – I still hope there will be a replacement, ideally with good “sea-legs” (not getting seasick on a boat).

My boat is Anastasia English Channel boat again with great pilot Eddie Spelling and his crew.

You can follow the tracker (once you know it is us) here: http://cspf.co.uk/tracking. Just click the box behind “Anastasia” – the orange boat. Eddie usually updates his twitter account (it is open, you do not need to sign in): https://twitter.com/anastasiaswim

And here are links to the weather forcasts and tides:

—-

Update Aug. 31
Metoffice pressure chart shows a high pressure Zone slowly moving towards the Dover Strait. If it continues to move east there is a chance for some more stable calm weather (that is the zone between too bars/lines staying over the Channel for some time). Right now the forecast for 5th to 9th is too windy. This is what Sept. 3rd looks like today:

Pressure chart sept 3

Comments { 0 }

Congratulations to our team`s 1st Triple Crowner!

Abhejali swimming Catalina Channel

On August 18, 2015, after 9 hours 46 min. of swimming from Catalina Island to California mainland mostly through the night, Abhejali Bernadova (age 39) from Zlin became the first member of our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and the first Czech person overall to achieve the “Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming”, having swum Catalina Channel (2015), English Channel (2011) and Manhattan Island (2012). Having  crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 2013, she also has 3 of the “Oceans Seven” swims in her pocket now. (Oceans Seven Wikipedia)

A shark protection device was attached to the escort boat

dolfins

Dolphins ahead! Harita (EC relay swimmer) multi-tasking as boat butler and kajaker.

The swim was very nice, she said, with calm waters, lots of bioluminescence and even dolphins (and no shark encounters). More details to follow soon.

It may be interesting to note that Abhejali – like many of our team members – has been a vegetarian for over 20 years now and feels that her regular meditation practice not only helps in her training by increasing focus and aiding regeneration, but also keeps the “monkey mind” at bay during the swim, allowing her to experience the peace and beauty of open water swimming even more.

Finishing with the Czech flag

When she is not swimming or training for a long swim, you can see her running with the Peace Torch in various parts of the world or doing triathlons or multiday races like the 10 day race in New York.

Abhejali1

Abhejali Bernadova

PeaceRun2013

Carrying the Peace Torch in Australia 2013

Comments { 0 }

Dover Training July 2015

Dover sunrise when I arrived on the Euroline bus via ferry

Dover sunrise when I arrived on the Euroline bus via ferry

With the heat wave on the continent it was great to be in Dover for five days (11-15th) for some cold water training in the harbour – although I know from experience that within a few weeks part of the acclimatization will wear off again in the heat back home. So it will be good to come back quite a few days before my tide starts on Sept. 5th. But still it was reassuring to be able to swim 4, 6, 1.5, 3 and 2.5 hours in 16°C waters without problems, coming from 22-28°C

Dover-morning

Glorious morning

waters and just regular cold showers. It was the last opportunity for the 6 hour qualifying swim, a week later the water in Dover would already be above 16°C. (Zurich Lake obviously does not count any more as a qualifier, since it is too warm.)

Jana (helper), Abhejali and Vasanti, after our first swims on Saturday - 7 hrs Abhejali, 4 hrs myself

Jana (helper), Abhejali and Vasanti, after our first swims on Saturday – 7 hrs Abhejali, 4 hrs myself

From the ferry in the morning dawn both shores with their blinking lights looked so close – just like a little bit more than the Zurich lake. It felt quite reassuring. But of course I know the currents, the cold and the fickle weather can be real challenges.

Freda-Abhejali

Sunny Sunday: Freda had a finger operation – she is sporting the nice hat Bahula gaver her after the girls relay in 2014

Abhejali had come a day earlier to prepare for her Catalina Channel swim booked for August 18th, and was happy to meet up with her sister in Dover, who lives in London and came down to assist us.

"King Kevin", Hon. Sec. of the CS&PF, helping out at the beach on Sunday

Kevin Murphy (34 Channel crossings), Hon. Sec. of the CS&PF, helping out at the beach on Sunday

It was very nice to meet again and chat with inspiring Channel swimmers from around the world – like Chloe McCardel and Shelley
Taylor-Smith – and the amazing beach crew inlcuding Freda, Irene, Barry and “King Kevin” himself, who sweetly came down to bring me my

Varne-Ridge-Shelley

At Varne Ridge, with Shelley Taylor-Smith and David, sharing interesting stories

crocks when I was the last swimmer to get out of the water after 6 hours on Sunday.

Chloe-Doverb-2015

Meeting Chloe after her 3 solos in one week in preparation of her 3-way-attempt early August

Chloe McCardel was still in Dover after her she did her 3 solos in one week to prepare for her 3-way attempt beginning of August. We had met her and husband Paul first time back in 2009, when we were doing our 2nd Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team English Channel relay. Best of luck, Chloe!

Update: And she actually did her TRIPLE-SOLO on Aug 8-9th, 2015, in 36 hours 12 minutes: http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2015/08/chloe-mccardel-becomes-4-to-go-3.html HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!

Comments { 3 }

Swimming in Antarctica – for MPAs and Peace

Lewis Pugh, “human polar bear” and U.N. Patron of the Oceans, is giving a BBC interview about his recent quite terrifying swims in Antarctica in minus degree waters chased by sea lions, and about his goal to raise international awareness and encourage the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in and around the Ross Sea. He is also asking:

“As we seem to be sleepwalking into another cold war, can we use the (protection of the) waters around Antarctica and the Ross Sea as a bridge for building peace elsewhere in the world?”

lewis-pugh-antarktis_620x349During his Antarctic expedition in February/March he set a new record for the most southerly swim in history, near Cape Adare in -1.7°C waters (where salty sea water starts to freeze) and -37°C air temperature, wearing nothing than a speedo, swim cap and goggles.

Read more about his “speedo diplomacy” visiting the Kremlin, his vision of ocean conservation as a positive influence on international relations and details about his Antarctica campaign and other expeditions on → his blog and on lewispugh.com/lewis-pugh-sets-sights-on-russia/
(Fotos: Kelvin Trautman)

Comments { 0 }

Dover March 7th/8th – CS&PF Channel Dinner and Sunday Dip

After the Channel Dinner in Dover on March 7th, crowds of swimmers enjoyed the Sunday morning sun and, braving chilly air and water temps, invaded the sparkling Channel waters in the harbour – lead by CS&PF President Nick Adams and King of the Channel and CS&PF Hon. Secretary Kevin Murphy.

crowds Kevin1entering-the-water

sparkling Kevin-MurphyVasanti-dover-2015

 

Mayorbirthdayned-cliffEven the Mayor, Cllr Pamela Brivio and her husband watched and took photos. They were quite amazed at the wide smiles and glowing faces of the swimmers coming out of the freezing element, and the general joyful atmosphere of this quite international family gathering.

Enjoy some more of my pics on the CS&PF-Website: http://cspf.co.uk/article/92/swimmers-take-to-the-sea-to-clear-their-heads

I went to the CS&PF Dinner to represent our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and our 3 swims in 2014: two EC solos by Scottish Karteek Clarke (solo no 11) and Dover-Heidelberg English Channel-triathlete Angikar Djordjevik from Serbia (who was supposed to come but forgot to extend his visa!), plus the New Zealand-Czech “Sri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee” girls relay, who were all part of the annual honourees. Lucky Peter Hücker won the coveted guaranteed entry to the Zurich Lake Marathon Swim in 2016 in the raffle – congratulations!  On Monday we met with the Mayor again, together with two British and Welsh friends to discuss to an upcoming peace project.

Comments { 0 }

New Year’s Greetings from Croatia

Sea-peace-600As a child I loved swimming and snorkling in the Adriatic sea in Croatia when we used to go there on holidays with my grandparents. After so many years, it was a very nice experience to spend the New Year’s holidays of 2014/15 on the spectacular Croation coast together with Peace-Run-Dobrovnikour team, including friends and a number of English Channel girls and boys from literally all over the world – New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, Europe… Meditation, swimming (outside temps down to below freezing for a few days,  water around 14°C), running along the scenic coast, Ston-Walls-Iceland-New-Zealand-GermanyPeace Run activities in Dubrovnik (UNESCO world heritage) and at the Ston Walls as part of local races, a Song of the Souls concert and lots of fun activities like a swim-run, a treasure hunt and some sightseeing made this holiday quite memorable. Apart from a few rainy and quite stormy days we were blessed with lots of sunshine and calm seas. (We were actually unable to land in windy Dubrovnik even after couple of attempts by the pilot – left and right of me people were using their sickness bags, but I felt fine and protected, surprisingly, with a handful of other teammembers on board. So we had to be diverted to Split, which resulted in a special 3 hour bus trip around midnight down along the moonlit coast to our hotel in Orasac.)

The run-swim (it was too cold to start with the swim and run in wet clothes) at the end of our stay was such great fun – people were even allowed to walk in the water just to get as many as possible to participate. The more adventurous and hardened swimmers chose the long course out to the other beach and back. For quite a few it was pure self-transcendence to get into the chilly water – but they ended up loving it!

Here a few more impressions:

Sunset-700wild-sea-700Abhejali-Vasanti-600Temp-600swim1-600      swimrun-600 Dyutimati-600seascape-600seascape2-600Sunset-red-700Orangen-600Songs-600

Comments { 0 }

English Channel girls relay honouring 50 years of service

Video-English-Channel-Relay-2014

To honour our teacher Sri Chinmoy’s 50 years of peace service to the world, 4 female members of our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team chose another English Channel self-transcendence adventure. On Sept. 17th, at 12:42 p.m. they embarked on their 16 hour 34 min. long journey to France.  With lots of inner and outer support again from around the world,  Harita from New Zealand, Abhejali (several Zurich lakes, EC relay 2009, EC solo 2010, MIMS 2012, Gibraltar Straits 2013, ), Jayalata and Ritadyumna (EC relay 2009, breaststroker) from Czech Republic and their two  enthusiastic and experienced helpers (Bahula from New York and Haribala from Zlin) were lucky to have the weather gods on their side again and enjoy a great time – before, after and even at times during the swim.

Team2

Victory! The flags are flying at Varne Ridge Caravan Park!

While a solo swim is of course much more demanding, a relay has its own challenges – like being cold and seasick (in spite of pills and patches) on the boat and maybe unable to eat or drink in between 3-4 sets of 1 hour swims and having to dive back into black and choppy cold water at night etc. But the experience of teamwork is even more special in a relay – and it can be a nice stepping stone for the next sized challenge, the solo. FinishSri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee Team at Varne RidgeThe girls were in good hands with Mike Oram on Gallivant, one of the top EC swim pilots, who has led several of our team members across already, his co-pilot James Willi and crew.

I was very happy they were able to swim during the few days I was visiting Dover, so we could swim a little in the harbour, be excited and celebrate together. It would not be surprising to see another solo develop out of this relay in the near future!

Self-transcendence
Is my
Ever-blossoming goal.

Sri Chinmoy

Here the →  link to the slide show-video on vimeo again.

Comments { 0 }

Angikar finished in Heidelberg 9/11 around noon

First of all: HUGE CONGRATULATIONS – to Angikar and the whole team!

Just a few glimpses for now – more to come.

Sept. 6: swimming on the best swim day of the year in unbelievable conditions – looks like liquid silver (click for video):

Swim-Sept-6

 

 

Heidelberg Castle

A very happy Angikar with the Serbian flag – and Heidelberg Castle in the back

 

More photos  of the swim → here

 

 

 

 

Being busy with many other things, Angikar`s training had actually been quite limited – mainly to swimming. However, his absolute faith – and the inner and outer support from friends and teammates all over the world – carried him through.  One “mantra” or idea that inspired and helped Angikar right from the beginning tremendously, was a quote by his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy:

Peace Tree Heidelberg

Angikar with local and main helpers, finishing at the Ethnological Museum at the Gingko Peace Tree planted in 2001 with the current mayor of Heidelberg

Peace Tree Ethnological Museum Heidelberg

Two EC-Triathlons: Dover-Aachen 2010 (right), Dover-Heidelberg 2014 (left), and 4 EC solos and 3 EC relays in one photo

We are all truly unlimited,
If we only dare to try
And have faith.
Sri Chinmoy

Interestingly, to the day 29 years ago, back in 1985, after our first two team members successfully swam the English Channel, Sri Chinmoy commented:

“Yesterday`s impossibility has surrendered to today’s reality. But this reality also has to be transcended… Self-transcendence is a very special kind of perfection in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme.” – Sri Chinmoy, Sept. 11, 1985

 

Comments { 0 }

Angikar made it! And is on his way via Brussels and Aachen to Heidelberg

Map-FinishTeammate Angikar Sasa Djordjevic (43), first EC soloist from Serbia in 2010, just finished his 2nd English Channel swim in 18 h 41 min – faster than his 2010 solo. He is now being delivered to Calais for some well-deserved rest before he will get on his bike on Sunday morning. (See his swim route on the left.)

 

otto-thaning-oldest-person-swim-english-channel

Otto Thaning, new EC age record at 73 (photo credit twitter Lewis Pugh)

Map-to-CalaisJust a bit earlier today a new age record was established: 73 year old heart surgeon Dr. Otto Thaning from South Africa became the eldest English Channel swimmer – breaking the old record by about 3 years in 12 hours 52 min (Otto was scheduled to swim in 2012 at age 72 but the weather did not cooperate then. It is amazing and extremely inspiring to see him come back to fulfil his dream!). The breaststroke swimmer Tony Baley with Anastasia is also heading towards Calais – but still  swimming (after 20 hours!). He finally finished after 25 h 56 min!

Victory flags are flying at Varne Ridge

Flag-Varne-Ridge2– the Serbian flag for Angikar and the South African flag for age record breaker Otto Thaning, in front of one of the rows of successful Channel swim plaques.  Such a special service by Dave and Evelyn at such a special place for Channel swimmers and aspirants – thanks so much!

Update Monday, 8th: As of Monday, Angikar has passed Brussels and covered over 1/3 of his bike route. They had some logistical problems and he took some more rest. Expected to reach Aachen tonight.

Dover-Heidelberg triathlon route Angikar 2014 - on his bike leg right now

Angikar`s planned Dover-Heidelberg Channel Triathlon route – on his bike leg right now (Sunday, Sept. 7)

Update Wednesday, 10th: He finished biking in Bingen late last night and started running at 2:30 a.m. this morning. One Serbian helper had to leave, but now a local helper from Heidelberg ist also with him. At 10:30 p.m. he still has 50 km to go. But the weather is fine and there is a beautiful full moon. Slow and steady wins the race! He will finish on Sept. 11th – the anniversary day of my first EC-triathlon attempt in 2008, when I was pulled out of the water hypothermic. And his start on Sept. 6th was the finish day of my shorter EC triathon Dover-Aachen in 2010.  Things are evolving very nicely!

He told me he is carrying the Peace Torch (previously World Harmony Torch) with him and is dedicating every stroke, pedal and step of his “Self-Transcendence Challenge” to peace and the European Peace Run 2014, which will end in the capital of his country, Serbia/Belgrade, on Oct. 7/8th.

Also, he will be able to write a book just about the challenges leading up to the start, and another one about the various challenges en route – like locking up the bikes during van-dinner, misplacing the key and calling the police etc.

Angikar and Peace Torch in 2010

Angikar and Peace Torch in 2010 at the start of his 1st EC solo

 

What gives life its value,
If not its inner cry
For self-transcendence?
– Sri Chinmoy

Comments { 0 }

Angikar attempting to conquer the English Channel – again – and more…

Angikar-6-1-Sept-5b

Screenshot about 2 p.m. Dover time. Below you will find the link to the tracker – the green arrow is Gallivant. http://cspf.co.uk/tracking#

At 5 a.m. this morning (Sept. 6) Angikar, Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team member from Serbia, with pilot boat Gallivant/James Willi and helpers set off from famous Shakespeare Beach in Dover, together with an armada of other pilot boats and their solo or relay swimmers, in an attempt to conquer the English Channel a second time (his first solo was Aug. 8, 2010, in 19 h 24 min, followed by an EC relay Sept. 2010) – this time as part of a personal EC triathlon. It is the first day of the spring tides, with a bit more current, but the weather conditions are looking great.

Angikar and his helper Aryavan

Angikar and his helper Aryavan at Shakespeare beach in 2010

His goal will be Dover-Heidelberg – a long cherished dream, which might be manifested soon!  He will have a short rest in Calais, than get on his bike on Sunday and Monday for 560 km through Brussels and Aachen along the Rhine to Bingen, followed by a short rest again, and then running 3 marathons to Heidelberg. Good vibes and lots of inner support is very welcome! The whole project will take a few days. More updates to follow.

Here you can follow the tracker (the green arrow is his boat, Gallivant, if you click on the arrow and then on “latest track”, you can see the course due to the currents – the boats always try to go straight, but you get swept into a curve): http://cspf.co.uk/tracking#

Update 7:50 p.m. Heidelberg time:

Channel is pancake flat – here a breaststroker stroking away with Anastasia:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=357602904397132

And this is the current position of the boats in the Channel – Angikar green arrow:

Position around 7 p.m. Dover time

Comments { 0 }