Day 19 is our first official finish day! Today we had a slow morning. At 11 am, we headed down to Chintsa beach to launch. Everyone joined us on the boat today, which was a fitting way to finish a tough month!
Wayne and Rentia paddled out to the backline to make the launch more spacious and comfortable. Furthermore, it was awesome having my sister there. As far as launches go, it was relatively simple. We loaded the boat and headed towards Gonubie in line with our last finish point from Friday.
On route, we came across a whole pod of common dolphins (the first time we had seen them). They were loving life swimming under the boat and giving us a show. There was a Bait Ball with gannets diving in turns to catch fish. We even saw a baby hammerhead shark! It was an epic display, and I was so stoked for my sister to experience that.
The water was green, and the vis was poor, so we opted to head a bit further out to sea to find cleaner water. At 9km out to sea, the water was sadly no cleaner. It was not viable to go 40km into the current, with only clean water for 10kms of the swim. We also had to meet the welcome team from East London at 4 pm at the backline at Gonubie. So, we opted to head back to 3km off the backline and swim in a close formation with the shark band on my foot. I was relying on my gut to tell me if I needed to get out of the water. However, I also felt that with so much bait in the water, the sharks would be well fed.
Wayne and Rentia jumped in the kayak, and I popped in close to them and kept very close to the kayak. We had a decent current, and I was averaging about 11 minutes per km. After an hour, Rentia swapped out for my sister, which was so awesome. She paddled with Wayne for 30 minutes before Angelika hopped in for the last 30 minutes. I covered 10 km in 2 hours before we bumped into the surf ski paddlers and then jumped on the boat to meet the swimmers off the backline.
Everyone, bar the skippers, jumped in the cool 20-degree water to swim. First, we were surrounded by a circle of people, and a prayer was said. It was incredible and humbling, and I have no words. We swam into shore and were met by a crowd of supporters. It was such a humbling experience. I am not one for the limelight, so crowds and attention are tough for me!
We were then taken to the surf ski club and ushered to a hot shower and hot chocolate. Following, were some press interviews and photos before heading back to Chintsa with the Roach family for a well-earned dinner of lasagne and salad.
I had an Epson salt bath and crashed into bed. Wow, what a journey!
Day 19 stats
Start time: 13:56:00
End Time: 15:56:02
Total swim time: 02hr:06sec
Pace: 1:16/100m OR 10km/hour
Start location: Gonubie, East London
End location: Nahoon beach, East London
Water temperature: 23degrees
Water quality: 1m vis
Sights seen: juvenile gannets, jellies (arrange jelly fish and blue fish) Common dolphins, bait ball , baby hammerhead shark
Stings: 3 stings
Calories: 2151 swim
Weather: North east
Total distance covered: 476.49km