Tag Archives | Dover

Abhejali is swimming!

Seafarer 11 off with Abhejali from Shakespeare Beach

Seafarer 11 off with Abhejali from Shakespeare Beach

Exactly at 6:22 Dover time (7:22 MET) on Monday,  July 11th, Abhejali started her swim with Chris Osmond on Seafarer 11 – along with quite a number of other swimmers.

Tracker 4 for Seafarer 11 on ais-doverstraits.co.uk

Tracker 4 for Seafarer 11 on ais-doverstraits.co.uk

She has tracker no 4 on http://www.ais-doverstraits.co.uk/ (if it works…)

The boats in the Channel can also be followed via: http://www.shipais.com/showship.php?map=dover&mmsi=235018589

Conditions are looking very good – many boats with swimmers are out. Fingers crossed!

Photo by Nick Adams on Suva

Awesome swimming conditons - Photo by Nick Adams on Suva via twitter

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Careful – the English Channel is infectious!

Abhejali (center) with helper Jayalata and pilot Chris Osmond, Dover marina

Abhejali (center) with helper Jayalata and pilot Chris Osmond, Dover marina

Abhejali (Czech Republic) from our Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is waiting in Dover for a solo swim on Sunday or Monday (10/11th of July) – here with her helper Jayalata and boat pilot Chris Osmond. Both girls were part of our EC relay on Sept. 30, 2009 – and I am almost sure Jayalata may one day also do a solo. Abhejali did the Zurich lake last year, fast, in cold weather, and has prepared very well. Fingers crossed! (I would have loved to have an excuse to go to Dover briefly – but she has enough helpers…)

On July 20th Jatnasheel from Heidelberg is going to Dover for his solo – with Harkara from Augsburg as his helper – another future solo aspirant? Both completed our first successful EC boys relay last year (Sept. 2010).  The Channel IS infectious!

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Maybe Friday – or even earlier?

High pressure zone forecast - there is hope!

Back in Dover late Saturday morning. Up to Varne Ridge with my luggage and back to the harbour for just 1 hour of swimming. The sun is out – after a week or more of horrible weather. No swimmers were able to go on the last tide – and they have prepared for a year or more and come from all corners of the world. This is what Channel swimming is very much about!

Saturday night the bank relay teams went out for their wetsuit Arch to Arc relay triathlon (Marble Arch, London, to Arc de Triomphe, Paris), but it seems none of them made it. Many got seasick from the huge waves. They were still dropped in Calais to continue biking to Paris. Would I do the same if I don’t make it again, I mean, continue biking and running?

France seems to look closer than ever. Maybe due to our successful relay last year, where I was allowed to touch French sands again? And after swimming Lake Zurich only recently – France looks just that tiny bit further, and of course, the currents are a “little” stronger etc. My visualisation is more on the biking and running, strangely, as if the Channel was already done. Many times during training I had seen myself swimming safely alongside Anastasia and imagined swimming the last bit to France.

Miyuki (Japanese "Channel Queen" with 7 crossings) has been waiting also, she wants to do 2 swims this year!

Miyuki (Japanese "Channel Queen" with 7 crossings) is back, she wants to do 2 swims this year!

Woke up late on Sunday, but catching up with sleep is important now.

No swim before Wednesday at the earliest for me, basically agreed on Friday, if the weather is holding. Before Wednesday I would have no helpers for the biking and running. So a 3 hour swim without feeding on Sunday on Freda’s advice, maybe 3 hours again today, for best possible acclimatasation. Then more tapering.

Tuesday, however, now seems to be the first swimmable day now! Will we have to go earlier? Will meet my pilot around noon…

Freda, Barrie and Irene - Beach Crew with Channel General (sporting her new Zurich lake T-shirt)

Beach Crew with Channel General (Freda sporting her new Zurich lake T-shirt)

If anyone wants to come down to Dover to help on the boat on on Friday (start would be around 4/5 a.m.) – there is still room, also in the caravan!

My mobile for text messages: +49 152 26 59 30 34

MetOffice Pressure Forecast UK

Wind Map UK

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Dover training 2, family birthday and back to Dover again

Fr. 13th at midnight I boarded the Euroline bus again to Dover. We arrived late on Sat. morning, and the Dover Regatta was on, with swimming only allowed until 12 p.m. on Sat and Sun – so much for a last long swim!
In spite of horrible weather forcasts it rained only occasionally, more of a drizzle, and the sun came actually out quite a lot!
So I did 2 hours on Sat (was extended to 1 p.m.), gave Freda her Zurich lake T-Shirt (she had asked for one and liked it a lot!), did 5 hours on Sunday, then 2-3 -5 from Monday to Wednesday. Wednesday night I took the bus back. 2 hours of running up to Varne Ridge and over the cliffs with big blisters at the end – my feet have become tender for not running much lately!

Celebrating my father`s 75th birthday

The weekend of 21st/22nd I went to see my parents near Nürnberg – my father was celebrating his 75th birthday and was happy and proud I was part of it (most of the guests new about his adventurous daughter and many approached me about my swimming of course).  It was a hot weekend again and getting to swim in a (crowded) pool was out of the question. To my big surprise I still got a nice swim in on Sunday – we drove for an hour to a huge lake which I had not really been aware of as so great for swimming (Großer Brombachsee). The water was nice and cool (19/20°C), clear, and the distance to the other side and back was 5 km. I got two hours in and some fooling around with my nieces. My sister had joined my parents and myself with her kids and thy used the opportunity to get a little crawl coaching.

Tomorrow at midnight I will board the bus again to Dover. The last neap tides had been horror for swimmers and pilots – wind, wind, wind – not a single swim. The forecast for next week leaves a little bit of hope: from Wednesday on the wind might calm down a little. But you never know. The weather in the Channel can change overnight.

The helpers for my van are ready to go from Wednesday on – only for the swim I have no helper yet. I am not particularly worried,  since it has happened repeatedly with friends that their helper was useless anyway (“feeding the fish” most of the time), but I will have to keep asking around.

By the way, my goal for this year, if I make it across to Calais, will only be Dover-Aachen. Distance-wise it is about the same distance as Vedika did in 1998 from Dover to Paris – the original vision that emerged back in 1985 right after the first two successful Channel swims in our team – by myself and Adhiratha. It feel good to only have a “small triathlon” ahead – room for transcendence in a few more years. Dover-Heidelberg is still in my heart – an old dream that one day will manifest, I am sure.

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Angikar did it – on August 8/9th!

First Serbian to swim the Channel, probably. And solo number 40 from our international team!

Angikar and his helper Aryavan

Angikar and his helper Aryavan at Shakespeare Beach

As it turned out, Alison’s boat must have never gotten ready, in any case Angikar swam on Sunday, August 8, already on a spring tide (6.1 and 6.3 meters), into Monday with Alison’s brother Neil Streeter on Suva – finishing in 19 hours 24 (inofficial time). No shoulder problems, no sinus problems, just 30 min. of sickness – but lots of Grace, he said. He was very happy and felt it was easier than he had expected/feared. As a slow swimmer he had been prepared for 20 hours and more and felt he could still have continued if necessary.

Dori had started a tide earlier – Saturday night around 10 p.m., reached France in 10 hours 40, turned to swim back to England, but stopped after 13 hours due to shoulder problems. Conditions must have been rough during the night. Also swimming was Australian John Van Wisse attempting a triple-crossing, but he stopped after a very fast double in 19 hours 55.

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Dover Training July 31st – Aug. 2nd

typical Dover harbour training day

A typical Dover harbour training day (no corpses in the front - only garbage bags to protect our dry clothes) on Saturday July 31st

First training visit to Dover by Euroline overnight bus, since last year with direct connection from Heidelberg to Dover via the Channel Tunnel (which had been on fire during my swim on Sept. 11 in 2008!) Arrival Saturday around 9 a.m., quick check-in in Bluebells B&B and off to the harbour to greet Freda and the beach crew. Yellow cap for my first cold swim since May -

Happy after my first 6 hour swim in 17°C this year

Happy after first 6 hour swim in 17°C this year - on a sunny Sunday!

which went well due to

increased body fat percentage. Nicely choppy at the eastern end, so good training. Sunday 6 hour swim (no official 7 hours that day) – which was fine for me, but I still felt good at the end.

Vasanti and Dori Miller

Vasanti and Dori Miller (tapering for her 2-way attempt), Monday morning

Monday 2 hours in the morning, with Dori Miller (USA, but based in Sydney, fast solo in 2008) who was tapering for her 2-way attempt and a few other Australians, then a short break, and around 2 p.m. back into the water for another two hours after meeting up with team mates from Serbia, who were waiting to go as soon as weather – and Alison’s broken boat – would permit (later we went to the Marina to see the boat – it was an absolute mess of repair, something had burned, and it did not really look like it would be ready for the start of the tide on Monday). The last half hour of swimming was the best – into the late afternoon sun lighting up the water and into glittering waves.

Shakespeare Beach (or "Shaky"), departure for many swims, with Shakespeare Cliff in the background

Shakespeare Beach (or "Shaky"), departure for many swims, with Shakespeare Cliff in the background, Monday afternoon

Short visit to Shakespeare beach with my Channel aspirant teammate and his helper (both accomplished long distance runners, only Anigkar does not look like a runner any more, which is good for him right), followed by collecting my stuff and a going for a final Pizza with more talk about Channel swimming details, before boarding the bus at 7 p.m. back to Heidelberg.

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Hopeful

The weather is amazing – there is one swim after the other. Today our pilot is out with position no 2 on Anastasia, the two-way swim, they just missed the cap and the current is carrying them a little off, but they might land soon. The forecast is looking good until the 30th – enough time to get us off, hopefully. Air temperature is dropping a bit, near Calais at night down to 10-12°C, but the water is still around 17°C.

A slovak swimmer, helped by a friend of our swimmers, is going out this morning. (The beach and Varne Ridge have been like a huge international family again, even this late in the season.)

Zuzka is fighting a cold, successfully it seems, and Viktoria’s inflamed ear is pretty fine now. We are trying not to do anyting foolish, eat a lot, sleep a lot, train a little – the typical ‘triathlon’ programme. And of course some meditation and prayers for the good weather to stay – for all the swimmers on this tide as well as the left-over ones from earlier tides! Thanks for all the good wishes from so many parts of the world!

Dover beach - with Channel aspirants 2010 in background

Dover beach - with Channel aspirants 2010 in background

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Start of the Tide tonight – and waiting

Wednesday morning, Sept. 23rd:

Abhejali and Zuzka - getting Maxim from Freda

Abhejali and Zuzka – getting Maxim from Freda

Our tide starts tonight, but not only has Eddie 4 swims booked on this tide, and we are in 4th position, but we discovered that one swim is a two-way! So that would be 5 swims on this tide – which to me seems absolutely irresponsible towards the swimmers since as a rule it is hard to even get 3 or 4 swims done on one tide. But he told Suzka he was confident it would work out. Luckily the weather forecast is absolutely great for the next few days until the 27th, and some swimmers or relays are even going out today at noon. Plus it is a long tide.

However, we could not reach Eddie so far this morning and have no idea if he is still taking left over swimmers from the last tide or starting with the new tide swimmers today.Two helpers are coming in the afternoon, then we are ready to go, but the weather is so calm, I am sure the other swimmers before us would want to keep their positions and swim first.

Successful swims on the spring tide

Meeting Chloe after her swim on the beach

Meeting Chloe after her swim on the beach

Swim Map of Lisa Cummins' amazing double crossing

Swim Map of Lisa Cummins’ amazing double crossing Sept. 19/20 2009

Over the weekend, on a the highest spring tide of the year, a huge number of successful swims have taken place after the last neap tide was totally blown out by the weather. On Saturday 19th at least 9 boats went out – all the swimmers made it, and more on Sunday and Monday, including a Jersey relay with Sally Minty-Gravett. Lisa Cummins from Ireland did her absolutely fantastic and awesome double crossing on Sept. 19th/20th in 35 hours something, without having ever done a solo! We could watch her boat from Varne Ridge through the binoculars around 30 hours, pushed westward by the tides and heading towards Dungeness. Chloe McCardel, the top marathon swimmer from Australia, who also wanted to do a two-way without having done a solo before, had to be taken out after 25 hours that ended up in very difficult conditions. Still a brilliant effort – and she will be back next year, I heard! Her problem also was that all her helpers had already gone back to Australia!

Visit to Canterbury

So yesterday after swimming 30 min. to 1:45 h individually, we spent the afternoon in Canterbury – my first visit to this amazing gothic cathedral – including some cappuchino, milkshake etc. at a nice little coffee place.

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Off to Dover!

Taking the Euroline bus to Dover at midnight, arriving in the morning – looking forward to that first icy dip in Dover harbour on Saturday and meeting the rest of our 4 person relay team!

Weather seems to be improving, Lisa and Chloe are hoping to do their double attempts on the spring tide Sunday/Monday after the whole last tide was blown out by the weather.

My training has been moderate – 2 hours lake (beautiful crisp early September morning swim with sun glitters dancing on the ripples and hardly a soul around) on Saturday, 3 hours in the pool on overcast on Sunday (felt colder, but still 21°C), last day for the unheated pool, with a big cramp in my right calf towards the end! Nutrition has not been too careful this year. Then 1 hours swims in the heated pool (27°C) and lots of cold showers.

Our window officially opens on the 24th (till Oct. 1st). With no swims last tide I suppose even if the 23rd is swimmable, there will be other swimmers still waiting.

Our boat Anastasia can be followed by satellite tracker. We’ll be staying again at Varne Ridge with internet access and all.

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