We headed to the hotel to scrub the sun cream off and collapse into bed.
I finished swimming at 3.15am on March the 16th in a time of 19 hours and 8 minutes after 63.5km of swimming.
I was slower on my feeds than usual as I literally had to psyche myself up to put my face back in the water. It was so salty. I wanted to do more backstroke to appreciate the night sky, but the most efficient way to swim was freestyle and I wanted to be out sooner than later. I did take note rounding each point of the island of the significance of that moment and once or twice absorbed the caves, cliffs and breaking waves; the half-moon, the stars, the fish, the phosphorous; John diving deep to get some blue underwater footage; the deep electric blue suspending me in her surrounds; Wofty with his constant smile and camera and singing the coconut song in his Wofty voice; Sarah being silly and asking me Miranda jokes; the yacht cheering as I rounded the 1st and 2nd points.
I found out much after the swim that Tavu had cut his leg getting out the boat and Rentia and Erik were man down with sea sickness but stayed stoic and did their job with excellence. Toto was making detailed notes every hour and Sarah did not have 1 break as she prepared my and the crews feeds in a crazy rocking yacht. Marta was calm, professional and relaxed bringing her cheerful positive self to every feed. Ever faithful with Sarah.
My feeds went down really well despite the salt water. The peanut butter balls, rice balls and jelly tots did not work this time, but everything else went down a treat except my final sweet potato feed which came straight back up.
Milo also wasn’t great after a while causing stomach cramps. Watered down coke seemed to replace my apple juice and I went through 4 tins of my ever faithful peaches.
I think it will take months to really process what went down that day. I am aware that the people directly involved had life changing experiences. Marta told us at the celebration dinner that after we all left, she felt alone for the first time ever on her yacht. The energy and positivity on the yacht was apparently electric.
The bonds forged during that swim are deep and came quickly. Tavu and Konui were phenomenal steadfast confident fellow ocean lovers who are now like brothers to me. I have a deep love and respect for them and miss them deeply already.
Tavus daughter, Merahi plays the ukulele and captured my heart from the first time I met her. She is 10 with a constant smile that melts your heart. She sang some songs for us a few times during our visit that have been imprinted in my heart forever.
Konui is an incredible athlete. He is in the local traditional dance show for tourists as well as current reigning triathlete champion of the island. The triathlon in the island is different to our modern version. Athletes run around the top of the crater before running down to the crater to make a raft from the palms and then they paddle across and grab 2 bunches of bananas before running back up to the top of the crater.
He is also one of a team of 6 who has circumnavigated Rapa Nui on a traditional canoe as a team in something like under 5 hours! (It took me 19 hours to swim!)
He invited us to his cultural show the night we finished the swim and it was such a privilege to be given special seats to watch these incredible dancers and musicians portray the history of their culture and the island through dance.
Thankfully we had slept for 5 hours post swim before the dance so managed to stay awake and alert. We arrived to have one of the dancers paint our faces (he turned out to be the fisherman who helped us get through to the harbour safely at the end of my swim!) The show was a powerful display of traditional fishing, courting and life on the island. During the show random guests were picked to come up on stage to dance and of course Sarah H and I were among them (not by choice!) At the end of the show they made an announcement about my successful circumnavigation of the island and I was invited back onto stage to dance with the crew. Surrounded by hot half naked men in traditional gear was quite an experience mere hours after circumnavigating the island! It was great fun and very surreal! Photos were then taken and I was a local celebrity with the crew!