Dover Training July 2015

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!

English Channel girls relay honouring 50 years of service

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.

Karteek and the washing machine – EC solo no 11!

Karteek and the washing machine – EC solo no 11!

Karteek-swim-2014

Karteek’s wim track – courtesy CS & PF

Karteek-6-day-race

At the 6-day race, N.Y., April 2014

After a few years away from the English Channel, exploring other (cheaper) open water swim adventures across Scottish lochs and firths, then back crewing for our teammate Adriano from Brazil who “conquered” the English Channel in July 2013, and completing his first 6-day footrace  in April 2014, Scottish “King of the Channel” Karteek Clarke felt ist was time again for the “real thing” this year – another EC solo. He was booked for the tide starting July 20th, but as is so often the case, there was a lot of waiting involved, weather and tides not quite cooperating the way they were supposed to, with the added challenge of having to switch his pilot last minute. Karteek finally got his chance to swim on July 30th, on a windy spring tide – and an opportunity to enter new territory, timewise!

Spring tides and wind over tide combined to make it his longest swim so far – 19 hours 01 min.  He will post a longer story soon on his blog.  Here some of his first remarks about the swim:

“I felt super strong at the beginning and it seemed it would be a fast swim, but then it was a ‘washing machine’ all the way and I could never get into a proper stroke. Also it was on a spring tide, which is probably fine if you have flat calm conditions, but it made the end hard as you can see on the map – I thought we were going into the bay of Wissant, but then I saw two huge ferries between me and the beach (which is where they go near Calais) and then Devashishu, my helper, told me we were next to Calais!  So we just made it in, I think.  It was great to do the Channel again though. Mike Oram, my boat pilot, was really great – very helpful and professional – I could not imagine a better pilot.  Maybe I needed to have the experience of knowing I can swim for 19 hours! I will write up more on my blog in a while.”

There is only one dream
That will always be perfect
In your lifetime,
And that is the dream
Of self-transcendence.
– Sri Chinmoy

Adriano Passini – our team`s new English Channel swimmer!

Adriano Passini – our team`s new English Channel swimmer!

End of July was extremely eventful. I went to England to join an international team for the last part of the “Great British Peace Run” from Cardiff to Ipswich, be part of the inauguration ceremony of a Peace Statue of Sri Chinmoy – the founder of the World Harmony Peace Run and of our Marathon Team –  in Ipswich Chantry Park on July 28th, and to pay a short visit to Dover on the way back to Heidelberg.

From Brazil to Dover, from Dover to France

Just then, on Saturday, July 27th, Adriano Passini (32), an aviation engineer from Sao Paulo, became the first member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Brazil  to successfully swim the English Channel, in a fantastic time of 11 hours 10 min – the 44th EC swim by a member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.  Adriano Passini with the Brazilian flag - having conquered the English Channel!He was supported with tons of experience and lots of selfgiving dedication by Karteek Clarke from Scotland (“Scottish King of the Channel” with 10x EC) and his friend Ashirvad from Brazil, and expertly guided by “Gentleman-pilot” Chris Osmond on Seafarer 11, who in 2011 also safely landed our boys relay team and my friend and teammate Abhejali Bernadova (Czech Republic) on the French side.

Chris Osmond, Seafarer II, Adriano (the beaming hero) and Karteek

Adriano – a vegetarian – had prepared himself very well for at least 2 years, physically, mentally and spiritually, including meditation – and even concentrated intensely on the exact swim date. And it worked! He had a daylight start and finish, a few hours of heavy rain and fog, but with the sun coming out at the end. He was very focussed and positive throughout the swim. The strong spring tide currents were no problem for him. To stay warm he may have swum extra fast. The water temperature had been a bit of a concern for him, finding no colder water than 19°C in Brazil, but he was wise to come early enough to Dover to get acclimatized in the harbour and not accept an earlier swim offer, and he was totally fine until the glorious finish in bright sunlight.

Here the link to a youtube-video of his Channel swim

Adriano getting closer to Cap Griz Nez - and the sun coming out

Determination wins the day…

Read more: On his blog 10x EC-veteran Karteek shares a longer report from a helper`s perspective with more info about Adriano`s preparation and the swim itself.

…and sleep overtakes an exhausted helper:

Helping a Channel swimmer is hard and tiring work!

Congratulations banner at Varne Ridge Caravan Park – is there a more inspiring place to stay for a Channel aspirant?Varne Ridge Caravan Park - which better place to stay for Channel aspirant

One day later at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Statue ceremony in Ipswich: the Mayor of Ipswich with 4 Channel swimmers (together 14 EC solos and 2 realys):

Sri Chinmoy Peace Statue, Mayor of Ipswich with 4 Channel swimmers and 14 EC solos

The swim course, courtesy CS&PF:

Swim course English Channel Adriano Passini

One of Adriano`s favourite mantras or spiritual aphorisms for a positive, impossibility-challenging attitude, which he used in preparation as well as during his swim, is by his spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy (IMSHOF honouree 2012!):

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

AAIMG_0760

Mission accomplished!

“The message of self-transcendence
Is itself satisfaction,
Far beyond our imagination.” – Sri Chinmoy

“Self-transcendence-joy
Unmistakably knows
No equal.” – Sri Chinmoy

Kevin-Murphy-Adriano

 

 

 

 

 

We also paid a nice visit to Kevin Murhpy,  “King of the Channel” (34 solo crossings) and secretary of the CS&PF. He has so many amazing stories, he could fill a number of books! Never heard his story before how he got lost on the African coast when swimming the Strait of Gibraltar!

Victory for Abhejali!

Victory for Abhejali!

Abhejali's finish around 22:05 our time

Abhejali’s finish around 22:05 European Mean Time near Cap Blanc Nez

Abhejali made it – in 14h 37 (or 38) mins! Ironically maybe even thanks to being seasick in the beginning! Out of the 14 boats that went out with relays and solos, only 5 made it I heart – some were  swept parallel to the coast at the end for hours before giving up, others turned round even earlier! Short feeding stops (in the second half), consistent swim speed and a good pilot (here Chris Osmond on Seafarer 11) and crew always have to work together. In a way it may even have helped Abhejali that she was pushed a bit further northeast in the beginning, probably due to her sick stomach and more frequent or longer stops, plus they started earlier – so she stayed further East of Cap Griz Nez and did

Parallel

Sea Satin and Suva are being swept off parallel to the coast – Anastasia and Pathfinder are doing well, too

not get into the stronger currents off the Cap when the tide turned again, plus she was a little closer to shore in calmer waters near Cap Blanc Nez when the others started being pushed parallel – at least that is what appeared to happen on the trackers. More of the story tomorrow.

That happens when you cannot cut through the tidal currents and run out of steam

One of the swims that sadly did not make it today (with Suva)

Here some more snapshots from the net.

Left: That happens when you cannot cut through the tidal currents, and maybe are even pushed by some wind from Southwest,  and don’t have enough left mentally and/or physically to keep swimming till the tide changes again. (The record is 27 hours – so no need to give up here unless you are hypothermic, cramped, running out of maxim/water/gas or you have to catch your plane or be back at work the next day.)

Here one of today’s  dramas (see above) on twitter with interesting fotos – one of the many charity swims, and donations are always welcome.

Victory and defeat are interwoven.
Do not try to separate them,
But try to go beyond them
If your heart longs for abiding peace.
– Sri Chinmoy

Love the battlefield of life,
For joy is always breathing
Secretly and openly
In both your victory and your defeat.

– Sri Chinmoy

Happy - Abhejali and her helper team on the way back to Dover

Happy – Abhejali and her helper team on the way back to Dover