On a boat

Last night, I took my first trip across the San Pedro Channel, observing from the deck of the Outrider.  At 10:02PM, Goody Tyler IV entered the water at Catalina and after over 15 hours in the Pacific, his swim was called on account of time.  The crew included Neil van der Byl, kayak-support for the duration of the swim; Goody’s coach, Marcia Cleveland, a strong presence on the deck; Gordon Gridley and Josh Green, the organizers of the Great Salt Lake Open Water, good friends and support; Aquatic Rob, living up to his moniker Chubby & Tattooed, Bearded & Awesome; Doug, who will be swimming Catalina in one month; and not to forget Goody’s wife Patricia and his father, G3.

The lead observer, Lynn Kubasek, and myself initially decided to assume duty in 2 hour intervals.  Shortly after midnight, however, I was woken from my cat nap by a blue-in-the-face Lynn, requesting I take over.  I promptly took a seat on the starboard side, clipboard in hand.  And for the next 5 hours, I remained there, taking notes in between dry heaving remnants of a Crunch bar, assisted by the boat’s crew and whoever managed to remain alert in spite of the poor conditions.  It was a long night.

But none without a lesson learned and impressions taken throughout:

6pm –  I have found the boat.  They said to meet at 6pm, right?  I’m the first person here.    It’s a nice boat – a lot nicer than I imagined.  The result of watching too much Deadliest Catch.

7pm – Marcia is bit intimidating.  Nice though.  Told a funny story about triathletes always wanting exact splits… Open water swimming is not that easy.

8:45pm – F-word.  It’s going to be a long night.  Remember to take something for sea sickness next time.  No one is safe.

9:15pm – Pros of the English Channel?  You don’t have to experience the conditions of the sea beforehand.  The aptly named “longest boat ride” follows the swim.

8am – Snuck in two hours of sleep and dreamt of what else, swimming.  Clear skies and Goody is now on the other side of the boat, swimming at a 24-hour pace, but stroke consistent.  Time to alert my boss I won’t be making it in this afternoon.

12pm – VAAA (vessel triple A) arrives to pick up Marcia and Doug so they can catch their flight back to Chicago.

2:30pm – I haven’t been able to keep food down since arriving on board, but am sure glad I ate one of Otis’ burgers.  He gives credit to the salt in the air, but that was damn good.  Also, Neil and I checked Gracie’s progress on her first swim in the 8 Bridges race.  She won in record time!  What a week for swimming… Lots to get excited about and even more work to do.

Two weeks until round two, next time on the Bottom Scratcher.  Until then, I have strict orders to take a hot shower in order to shake the acid from my muscles and recover.

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