Today was bittersweet for me. The final day of an incredible week of swimming along the East Coast of Africa in Marine Protected areas as a series of world first swims with an incredible team was such a privilege and blessing that I do not take lightly. Following the migration path of humback whales, sharing the ocean with so much life was an indescribable experience. Today felt different as I knew it was the last day of a surreal experience. I felt very present in the moment and wanted to savour every bit of this final stretch. Every moment from the launch and the salt spray over my face, the salty taste on my lips, the tired lats, the swim in and out through the waves, ducking under, the unpleasant times and every interaction was embraced and cherished on this final 12km swim.
The launch was hysterical with ACDC Thunderstruck playing in full force at the launch. It shot the already high spirits through the roof! There were no whale sightings in the ride out but we were spoilt the day before so we could not really complain. We met the car at 7 mile and swam out to the beach. I have loved swimming the start and finish of every swim with John and Sarah by my side. We met Sam on the beach and set off to the boat 400m away. We swam 3km out to sea against the chop in wishy washy waves, Sarah swam with me stroke for stroke and it was a pleasure having her by my side on this last leg. At the 3km mark we turned with the wind and rode the swell home. We started heading in shore towards 2 mile and at my 2nd last feed I put my face back in the water and saw a little ‘reef shark’ with some remora just below me. I shouted to John and Wofty in the kayak about 25m away from me to say there was a little shark below me. John was eating his lunch and was nonplussed. I wanted to investigate further and so John paddled up to me, put on his goggles, grabbed his gopro and went down. He came back up to say they were not reef sharks and they were not small! It was 2 Zambezis fully checking us out! How amazing! I got to tick that box!
I was super excited! I realised when one came a little closer below me that it was not that small. Sarah jumped in the water and the 3 of us swam as a team and a unit for about 500m till Angelika joined us at the reef to enjoy the fishes. It was so beautiful swimming with schools of fish and identifying the odd fish I could remember. I saw 2 Dory fish (blue tang) and some butterfly fish amongst others I could not identify. I started getting cold and had just 3km to go so we set off and aimed for Sodwana bay. Coming in with John and Sarah by my side was fun and when I reached the bay I had 800m to make up so swam up and down the coast line to make the final mileage reach y 100km goal.
Landing on the beach was emotional. I was so happy and stoked to celebrate with my team and it really was bitter sweet to finish this incredible swim series. I am now a shade darker but am filled with joy having been embraced by the ocean and encountered marine life in a unique way in one of the world’s most incredible stretches of ocean. It is imperative that we protect them and I don’t just do these crazy swims cos I love the ocean and love swimming and doing seemingly crazy unthinkable things, I do it because I believe that we are called to be stewards of this earth and I take that job seriously. Small steps can make a massive difference in how we leave our mark on this planet. What’s yours going to be?
I surprised myself in how comfortable most of the swim series was
Huge credit needs to go to the team who helped make it happen.
Spar Eastern Cape for the funding. I can’t wait to share more of what we experienced with you guys in the Eastern Cape.
Gozo Azul in Mozambique for the boat support
Angie from dolphin encounters for sparing some time to share some insightful information about dolphins.
Larissa from Jardin Massala for sharing your dream and passion with us and showing us your beautiful flourishing fruit forest and house made of plastic bottles.
Amanda and Jaques from Adventure mania for your encouragement support and enthusiasm with the boat support and incredible sound track for the launch.
Sam from Isimangaliso for the land support and your amazing mattress in the back of your truck.
Isimangaliso and Ezemvelo for the permits and support for our cause.
Ant Stott for the use of your kayak. It was a winner.
Michelle from Finis for the swim caps.
Kerryn Gibson from Nutrition innovated for the invaluable dietary advice. It worked like a bomb! My lats have apparently grown!
Lynne Mackey from Ocean Riders Academy for the strength and injury prevention training.
Rentia Dennissen gym partner and sports doctor- the blue tablets were amazing and as always this was way better than wall walks!
Kirsten Van Heerden for the countless voice notes and cups of coffee supporting me and swimming firther than you wanted to train with me
Dean, Joe, Annelize, Christy, Michelle, Breathe swim squad and the Park swim Kings squad for all the training sea swims.
Brian Button, best ever swim coach for your constant support.
John for your incredible chart reading, kayak support, the swims in and out at the start and finish each day, your attention to detail and your need for fair weather swimming made the whole experience a unique one for me and those down winds were phenomenal.
Angelika, your magic hands were well worked and your got me through the initial tough period of day 1 and 2 all the way to day 7, your cooking was one of a kind and it was a joy to have you swim alongside me at times.
Wofty, your pictures are amazing and I cannot wait to see the final products.
Sarah- coach, friend, you are amazing, your ability to read me and know what I need and want without me asking is a special skill, the many many laughs, the swim support and the feeds. Thank you.
To my friends who love me for who I am and support these crazy antics of mine- you know who you are- Thank you.
To my family- I love you and your constant quiet unwavering support is all I could ever ask for.
For all those on social media, whatsapp groups your thoughts, prayers messages were welcomed and I still need to go through them all!
And finally to the one who gave me this dream, who created me and the ocean and gave me the strength daily to do what I do, God, thank you for who you are and your constant blessings and abundant love and undeserved grace.