The team from Coffee Creative Studio joined me at 4:30 am to watch my morning preparation. I made mushroom sauce on toast for breakfast with a peanut butter, banana, and egg smoothie. After, I packed my bags and satisfyingly ticked off my checklist. I started feeling excited and ready.
We, then, headed 800m up the road to fetch Sarah Houston and her daughter. From there, we collected John before heading to Durban Undersea Club (DUC). Upon arrival, we were met by a large gathering of supporters. I began to feel completely overwhelmed, yet so humbled to see so many of my friends and fellow swimmers supporting me and making an effort to see me off. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me thus far.
After my mandatory 10 push up warm-up and brief words from John – I began! It was incredible to have so many swimmers join me as we set off to the backline.
The weather was overcast but beautiful, and the water was a warm 26 degrees. The ocean was calm and welcoming. I thought, “What a great start to the One Ocean Swim”.
Unfortunately, there was zero visibility in the bay. So, when we reached the backline, I said my farewells to the swimmers and headed to cross the harbour mouth. This is highly illegal, but in preparation, we figured it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission…
Accompanying me across the harbour mouth in the water was Sarah Houston, John, and Annelize. Bruce and Kim Robertson were in a double surf ski and Wetu Safaris in the boat with Cassie and Wofty. I loved this, and it has become a highlight of my swim on Day One.
I have never swum South of Durban, and as soon as I passed the harbour wall, the water instantly turned blue and clear! It was magnificent. We began to spot little jellies, stingy things and phosphorous. At one point, the phosphorous was like confetti, sparkling brightly, suspended in the deep blue.
At the 40-minute point, we took a moment to eat. After which, I finally began to find a rhythm! Annelize, my training mate, was in the water with me at this amazing stage. John was close by in the kayak next to us.
We quickly found some current which helped us gain a good pace, 14-15 minutes per km.
At about 6km into the swim, I turned onto my back to survey the view and to see where we had begun. I was this spectacular Stadium view of Durban with light peeping through the clouds. These are the moments I cherish in a swim. They make the swim for me, and I hold onto them as I continue. At the same time, I am aware that I have a long way to swim to get to Cape Town. I am conscious that there are very few people who will see our incredible coastline from the sea as I will. Taking small breaks to absorb and cherish these moments are so important on a journey like this.
We also took moments to dive down into the blue to listen for the reef or possible dolphins in the area. We admired the beautiful jelly life, although it was painful at times.
The swim was mostly uneventful, except for getting a fright twice. The first time, while I was having a feed, I had forgotten that John had dived below for shark spotting duty. I just saw a large form in the water. The second time, Annelize had jumped back in to join me after a break from a painful bluebottle sting, and I just saw this bright figure in the water.
The long hours of swimming can get monotonous, and it is easy to drift off into another space. However, it is crucial to get a reality check, so I remember where I am and what I am doing.
The current got a little faster for a while, but we also hit a counter-current, and the pace slowed dramatically. We went from 14-15 minutes per km to 28+ minutes per km. My dream of hitting a 15/16km 4-hour swim went out the window.
For most of the swim, I saw conservatively, actively holding myself back because of the long journey ahead. At times I felt like sleeping, but the adrenaline of the day and the week leading up to this swim kept me going.
Last week was VERY challenging on every level (more about that another time) however, despite the odds stacked against me and my team we managed to complete Day One in 4 hours, covering 12.7km.
Sadly, during the swim, I picked up quite a few packets of chips and rubbish. I stuffed them into my costume and continued swimming.
Day One Stats
Start time: 06:12am
Finish Time: 10:15am
Start location: DUC
End location: S 29° 57. 233’ E 31° 00. 810’
Water temperature: 25-26degrees
Water quality: clean most of the way with about 10m visibility
Sights seen: jellys
Calories: 2596 (during swim), 4283 total for the day