After two years I’m back in Dover, England, to wait for my chance to swim across the English Channel. My first attempt was on September of 2017. I had a one-week window to attempt the crossing but we had sustained strong winds every single day. With time running out I decided to at least try and give it my best, even under very windy conditions and during a spring tide. A few hours into the swim, I was drifting too much to the East and the swim had to be stopped. I returned home from that trip with understandable disappointment but extremely motivated. I immediately started making plans to try again on September of 2019. I knew that 2018 would be dedicated to climbing but in 2019 I could focus on swimming.
This year I’ve been in constant motion. I swam in virtually every place I visited, from public swimming pools in India, the Arabian Sea, the North and South Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Indian Ocean, and the Puget Sound, as well as many lakes around the world. The water temperature on my training swims ranged from 32ºC to just 13ºC (89ºF to 55ºF). I even trained in dozens of hotel swimming pools with a gadget for swimming in place made out of a neoprene harness belt and elastic bands.
But now, waiting at the northern tip of the Channel, I’m looking at the weather forecast and my situation is not promising. The North Atlantic Ocean is crammed with the remains of the hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the East coast of the United States in the last few weeks. It seems like this will bring gale-force winds and some precipitation in the next few days. The wind-speed reading this morning at the Sandettie Lightship buoy is 18 knots (33kmh or 21mph).
The weather is always a factor in climbing, paragliding and sailing and that has made me become exceptionally patient. I understand which elements are under my control and which ones I simply have to accept.
I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to swim this year. And, if I do get a chance, it may be under rough sea conditions. If that is the case, I may decide to postpone the swim to another year instead of making and attempt that’s doomed to fail. One thing is for sure: my story with the English Channel crossing is not over yet. I’m wholly committed to it and I will not stop, no matter how long it takes, until I reach my personal goal of swimming from England to France.