Below is a report from South West Swimmer Dale Porter, who took on the channel this summer as part of an Aspire Relay team. This team also consisted of two other South West Swimmers, Debbie Wayman and Sarah Clinton. Ironically on another boat not too far away South West Swimmers Bryan Avery and Zoe Ward were also steaming towards the french coast at the same time. Earlier in the year Dawn Brunning and Friend of SWS Laura Crosby also successfully got to France, and later this week one of our youngest Squad swimmers takes on the channel with his relay team, good luck Calum Stephens.
Below is Dales report, enjoy:
Team Walrus Channel Relay epic adventure
On Saturday 5th August 2017 at 7.20pm, Team Walrus set sail for our adventure to
cross the English Channel from Shakespeare Beach, Dover to France on the Gallivant.
The team included 6 swimmers – Dale Porter, Sarah Clinton, Debbie Wayman (from
Swindon), Owen O’Mahoney (from Scarborough), Janet Myers (from Rotherham) and
Kirstie Foweraker (from Verwood). The support crew included Tessa McLean team
support leader and boat captain Mike Oram and his crew.
This was going to be our final chance to go as a team within our 2 week swim
window, it was NOW OR NEVER !!!!
To ensure the swim was valid and recognised, we had to swim in a set order that
could not be changed in 1 hour time slots throughout the whole challenge. This
included making sure we managed our changeovers correctly, swiftly and ensured the
person entering the water overtook from behind the person leaving, covering every
inch of the channel.
Conditions were expected to be lumpy; but nobody could have predicted what lumpy
really meant!! – the seas were very unkind for at least 11 hours and all of us, except
Janet Myers (who was the star of the team) suffered badly with sea sickness
throughout the crossing, some even being sick whilst swimming!! Many of us ate very
little and I (Dale) survived on some ginger-nuts and water (highly recommended for
sea sickness !!). In addition to the rough conditions, as we set off in the evening, we
swam through the night with some of us swimming twice in the dark. SPOOKY!!!!
Whilst on the swim we were fortunate enough to see some dolphins and porpoises but
less fortunate to encounter some jellyfish along the way. We even had a visit from the
French Police when we got close to Wissant Beach – just checking us out.
We finally reached Wissant Beach, France on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 11.09am,
after 15 hours 49 minutes at sea and we were all allowed to swim up to the beach to
collect our French pebbles. However, we needed to make sure that the lead swimmer
on that leg reached dry land first (Dale was fortunate to swim the final leg to France).
After a very long and rough return boat crossing back to Dover, even though we were
all exhausted we headed to the White Horse pub to sign our names in the Channel
Relay swimmers book (solo swimmers get to write on the wall).
This certainly was an epic adventure which I would recommend to others (minus the
sea sickness and jellyfish!!!!!).
Be part of a channel relay in 2018 with SwimTayka, supported by South West Swim
Find out more and register interest at http://swimtayka.org/channelrelay