Monday, January 9, 2012

"To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and shaking and thinking of the cold and danger, But jump in and scramble through as well as we can" Sydney Smith

I don’t dive in. I put my hands on the ropes and lowered my self into the water. As the water sucks the body in, it was cold, like a vice grips grabbed a hold of my ribs and was squeezing the muscles tight. A real bite.

The journey out to location-
 I tried to breathe calmly but there was a gasping and gulping. I looked at the boat and they were inches away. I breathed out, long slow breaths.
“We have to stay on our blind side, we can’t go to your visual” Ok was the answer. I would have liked to watch them but breathing to one side this was something that I had become to accustom to. I checked forward and back to see the landscape to monitor my progress. Strangely the distance seemed so manageable.
5 attempts to get my face in the water finally met with success. My first breath underwater was so pleasant and relaxing, I was in. I put some toothpaste on one tooth that I was worried about. One nerve that might bother me, I initially breathed with a mouth slightly ajar not allowing the cold water in, using my tongue as a splash guard. After about 10 minutes I was very impressed with my progress. I remember giggling to myself how fantastic I was.

The islands to my vision were disappearing. The blood started recede. my feet tingled, nothing unexpected and I pushed out my ankles. I could feel the pins and needles climbing up my legs. I became aware that I was trying to have a pee but there was no will in the world would relax my muscles. The natural reaction to cold is to pee but obviously not in this cold. It bothered me for a minute or two and I diverted.
My hands were starting to become tingly and I clenched a few fists, stretched out my fingers. After about another 10 minutes the numbness that Ram spoke off hit. I became so aware with the lack of flexibility. My legs started to drag and I shouted “kick”-it was as sluggish as a dirty engine, a few pathetic movements and efforts until the legs started to flutter. I certainly would not even suggest that they were effective but I was happy that they were moving. This is everything that I expected, I’m numb.
My rib appeared in front of me and I watched as they drifted blindside again. 3 men staring, knowing how to get me from the water in a zip. I looked up and the pink house was larger. My goggles fogged and I giggled as I remembered how the windscreen fogs in the cold. I stopped and licked them and off again. I got a wallop from my right and Ram Barkai came powering into me. The man was on a mission.
“Go Go Go” was all he screamed and he was off. I was happy to see a face-I'm so used to training alone, this was such fun.
I looked up at the boat and asked the boys to take some pictures of me!! Never one to lose a photo opportunity, at this stage Ram’s rib with Timmy Boyle was just ahead of me, I could make out his movements and I felt that I had unknowlingly increased my speed.
Dr Stewart on board the Coast Guard-
My breathing became elevated and this was a mistake to get excited. Taking a few extra long exhalations to calm myslef, it took a few minutes to regulate my breathing. Stretch out and relax I repeated-take your time. The Mulroy Bay coast guard came inside my vision and Dr Stewart gave me signals that I was supposed to respond. I was so excited to communicate that I was fine. I was all thumbs-the Ok signal is difficult forming a circle as the thumbs and the fingers are not that flexible!
I pictured a flowing waterfall of gold that fills through my head spreading my body with heat and bright colour..visualising warmth and glow (you try everything!!) I was supposed to put myself under the water fall as it flows through my body. I imagined greatness and power. I put David under the waterfall and I must admit I did smile. 
Ram finishing with Anne Marie and I behind with our 2 boats
The wind lifted and gusted. The waves started to fill over my shoulder. The greyness dropped and the day changed.Rain had set in and though the water temperature dropped. My stroke missing some rhythm, I started to sing a song. I felt that I should commend my greatness, whoosh whoosh I pushed deep into the water. I reminded myself to focus on my movements. I have a mantra that I use but I won't include it.. we all have personal giggles.. "Do not become complacent, be aware of all movements" I screamed, "you need to take control."-The pink house was there and I could see the Mulroy coast guard come alongside Ram’s boat, South African Flag blowing in the wind.
I’m there, I’m there… My right shoulder was tight and my leg kick was beginning to be quite stagnant. My face was like a pin cushion. I felt that I could pierce my nose and my lips and eyes and not feel a thing.
Me finishing.. the wind well lifted.
I really needed to pee. The buoy was becoming very visible and the wind was powering the water over my head. I was swallowing a lot of water and the darkness fell on the mountain. I looked up to see Ram swimming towards me.. checking out his girls..
I swam about the big white buoy and I looked up at the pink house. what an amazing day. Anne Marie was motoring her way towards us.
I held onto the boat, asked the boys to give me a few moments to have that pee. A truly difficult task to release. I felt so good.
I was whoop whooping, delirious and delighted that we were all safe. My fingers and hands were well able to hold on. The boys grabbed me as they pulled me into the boat. My towel around me, I screamed so loudly. I was alive, genuinely I was alive and so very very happy. Anne Marie was finished all 3 bodies back on board. What a super super day.

Now the games begin to control the recovery. 

1 comment:

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