Okay, Day 17 is complete. I had, probably, my best and most solid sleep last night since I started this swim! Off the back of lots of prayers, some positive discussions with my agents, some homoeopathic sleep aid, and a late finish from the swim, deep sleep finally came. We woke at 5 am to eat breakfast and pack the boat. By 6:20 am, we were on the beach launching.
Again, Cassie made the launch look easy, and we headed 27km North out to sea to our start point (yesterday’s finish point). The visibility was not great, so we travelled a further 5km to find cleaner water. With a slight West wind still puffing, I jumped in the water ready to go. I was fairly depleted after yesterday’s expedition. So, I knew it would be a long 4 hours.
We were about 30km out to sea at 1500m depth, and the water was blue yet full of sediment. It was 26.5 degrees warm. The current was fast, and I was soon in a rhythm despite the bumpy sea, going at 10km/hour. It was a treat to have Jane’s fruit cake for my first feed. Amazingly, it set me up to keep going. Within an hour, the wind died down, and the water started clearing up. I was happy with my pace and in a decent, but somewhat robotic, headspace.
I was making good progress and found myself in a good rhythm. Then, the stings came. The sneaky blueys had almost transparent tentacles, and they nailed me. I got hit on the cheek and the body. They seemed to disappear for a while, and I asked Sarah to join me for the last 90 minutes, but I continued to get hit repeatedly, and they were painful, so I told her not to get in. It was not worth both of us getting stung continuously. She happily obliged. Eventually, I relaxed again, and we found smooth, clean, blue water. I called Sarah to join me, and we swam the last hour and a bit in the clean, deep blue together.
At one point, Wendy jumped in to join us for about 1500m which was so cool. When she started the trip, she was terrified to leave the boat! Now she has paddled and swum out in the deep blue sea! How phenomenal! I really love having company, and seeing people experience deep open ocean swimming for the first time is amazing. It is an incredible privilege that I cherish. We finished the day with 43km in just over 4 hours, and I saw nothing other than the ever-present jellies.
We hopped out and headed back to Mazeppa. We were about 15km South of Mazeppa, and the East wind was coming. On route, we stumbled across a yellow plastic bottle surrounded by fish. Sarah jumped in to visit and get some footage. There were Fowl fish, Pilchards, Yellow Campano type fish, stripey yellow Pilotfish, small black ones and long skinny ones. In total, about 5/6 different species. Then it was the long bumpy ride home, but I managed to have a good little power nap. As we came closer to shore, we saw many juvenile gannets, petrels and dolphins circling us before being met on the beach by the crew and a herd of cows! I was then greeted by a gorgeous yellow cat on route back to the room to eat, shower and have a massage before we prep for another swim day tomorrow.
Day 17 stats:
Start time: 08:08am
End Time: 12:27m
Total swim time: 04hr19 min
Pace: 39 sec/ 100m OR 10km/hour
Start location: 27km north of Mazeppa
End location: 15km South of Mazeppa
Water temperature: 27 degrees
Water quality: clear with sediment blue
Sights seen: fowl fish, pilchards, yellow compano type fish and stripey yellow pilot fish, small black ones, long skinny ones (5/6 different species) juvenile gannets, petrals and dolphins
Stings: MANY painful blueys
Calories: 8855 swim
Weather: west to zero to light North east
Total distance covered: 416.69km