Right - so I lied - one more post before we go :)
Before I get to the meat of it, and while you are not yet bored - just a reminder to join us at Bean There Cafe (https://goo.gl/maps/mkY5P) between 9 and 11AM this Saturday January 24 to wish Madhu well!
Over the past week, with departure imminent, there are a lot of questions being asked about "what is the next step", "what day will you swim", "what will you do in Chile", "do you even speak Spanish?", "how will we KNOW what is happening?!!!" - so I want to attempt to give you a thumbnail of what is a very fluid and organic next 2 weeks.
On Saturday January 24 Madhu, Alan and myself will get on a plane to Santiago from Toronto - leaving at 11:45PM arriving in Santiago at noon (yes, long flight to listen to me snoring, poor Madhu and Alan!) We then catch a much-smaller-plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas at 8pm arriving at 10:30pm - almost 24 hours later (and hopefully sober after free rein at the Maple Leaf Lounge thanks to Alan!).
From this point, things become a bit more fluid - i.e. we will go with the flow! We will have a preliminary meeting with the swimming coordinator (Claudia Nelyda Molkembuhr Sapunar) who handles logistics, lodgings, transportation, media and everything in-between on the Chile side. She will introduce us to the Chilean Navy escort team who is responsible for monitoring the weather conditions, water temperature, tides and winds to ensure that we hit the absolute best possible time to make the attempt during our swim window. We anticipate that to be between January 26 (give us at least one day to recover from the flight!) and February 1, but it will be entirely weather dependant.
We will cover safety procedures, Madhu will instruct them on how he prefers is escort to be managed (what side the Zodiac is on, how far away, what conditions he is willing to go or no go on), the logistics of travelling to and from the jump off point (approx 170km, 3 1/2 hours away - yes - that math is correct - Google Maps told me so! . From that point on, we await the green light from the navy!
We are being escorted by one larger navy vessel (how large we do not know - but it will be bigger than a dinghy and smaller than a carrier) and we have one dedicated zodiak for our swim (there is one other team crossing at the same time, but they have their own dedicated support zodiak). The zodiak will contain a fully geared up diver, a pilot, a paramedic or doctor, and me - getting in the way, taking pictures and video, and generally making a nuisance of myself - and of course making sure that the swim is conducted with the safety and security of Madhu first and foremost in everyone's mind! But this support crew are experts - they have escorted many swimmers across the Strait and we are fully confident in their abilities!
So what will we do while we wait? Madhu will be dipping in the Strait every day to keep acclimatized and get comfortable in the water there, Alan and I will be supporting him in this efforts - and then the rest of the day is ours to enjoy the beautiful Punta Arenas area. There are many things to keep us busy - most of which I am sure will involve us pantomiming what we want to eat or drink, taking cheezy tourist pictures, and generally trying not to think too much about the elephant in the room - my need for a daily Timmies fix!
There is of course, a lot more to this - but studies have shown that people get bored of reading long articles (about 2 paragraphs ago probably!) so I will cut this one short with a promise to update you as we experience this process. I will however, leave you with one reminder - when the swim is a GO, my VERY first task is to hit the internet, ensure that the live tracker is available on our front page (http://www.itsnotaboutswimming.com) and notify our communications director Tracey that we are a go - you will be in her very capable hands from that point until we are back, warmed up and glowing with a sense of accomplishment, eager to share.
So take care, wish us well, and stay warm!
Fun Chile Facts:
- Punta Arenas (English: Sandy Point) is the capital city of Chile's southernmost region, and is known as the southernmost city on Earth.
- We will be there in the middle of the summer - average daily temperature (their Jan/Feb = our June/July) is 14C (58F) - I will be leaving my shorts at home
- The Strait of Magellan is a natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and is named after the first European to navigate it - Ferdinand Magellan. (interestingly enough it was labeled on older charts as "Dragon's Tail"
- Punta Arenas to Antartica is 3800km. Oakville to the Arctic Circle is about 12,000km
- Toronto to Santiago - 8600km. Santiago to Punta Arenas - 3000km - round trip - 21,200km
- I Googled all these facts in 20 minutes
- No, we do not speak Spanish (no Steve, saying "Cerveza" and "Hola" does not qualify as "Speaking Spanish")
- Congratulations if you go this far - I doubt anyone has - but if you did - comment below with the words PURPLE MONKEY to prove it and win our admiration for your tenacity and strength of character for struggling through this too long post!