I swam 3,4km in False Bay on Saturday.
I could stop there. That’s quite a statement, I think. But I know you’re expecting more…
Naomi and I hopped in the boat that transported us from Long Beach to the start of the swim, just off Whale Lookout near the Glencairn Barge. As we left the beach behind us and travelled ever so far from our final destination, only then did I realise what I got myself into. I always knew it was far but until you see the beach fading in the distance and then then can’t even see the beach, does it become real. And frightening.
We began our swim together with the SCUBA divers, following the same route but they were tackling it as a relay team. The water visibility was stunning and I could see the divers bubbling below us and the water was the kind of blue that only comes around once or twice a year in False Bay, as a result of the strong North Winds cleaning the bay. If you didn’t know how cold it was (11 degrees Celcius), you’d be mistaken for thinking you were looking at a tropical paradise.
An unforgettable ‘Finding Nemo’ moment occurred when we came upon a wall of pink jellies – think Dory bouncing on the tops of Jellyfish. I kept my head above the water until passing them but that didn’t stop me getting stung twice later on by the many jellies littering the coastline. The theme tune for my swim was also Dory’s, now infamous, ‘Just Keep Swimming’. You’ll see a trend starting to develop J
I also pretended to be in the East Australian Current (also known as the EAC in Finding Nemo) to pass some of the time. Maybe I’ve watched the movie too many times? LOL!
There were 2 points where I battled a current that was determined to send me back to the start point but when I lifted my head, I got steady encouragement from our support boat to put my head down and keep going. It was only 500m to the end where I really started to battle. I suspect I could have swum 10km and still only really battled that last stretch – there is something about the last 500m that is always the toughest part. Once I could see the sand again though, I knew I’d made it and the imagined smell of a boerewors roll waiting for me at the end also helped.
After tackling the swim, I have the largest respect for marathon athletes. It’s more of a mind game than anything else. The final trudge onto the sand was a little disappointing as there was no welcome party to help me celebrate, so I released a roaring crowd in my head. The best was probably the hug and special words my boyfriend shared with me afterwards.
My other disappointment was not raising enough funds for Shark Spotters and Project Aware as I had hoped. So yes, I’ll be back next year – bigger and better. Join us!