And we have a window...

First of all – hello from south of the Equator (first time south of the Equator for all of us!)  We are finally here!  24 hours, 2 planes and a lot of coffee later ☺ So here is the deal – a lot of you asked for a lot of detail – so I will do my best to provide!  For the rest of you reading this – well, ask me later who wanted all the detail and you can have words with THEM later!

Second – and VERY important – we had thought that we were on the same time zone as Ontario – but we are NOT.  We are in fact, 2 hours ahead – please note that for when I give swim times, or for anyone trying to reach us!!!

Third – for those of you that don’t want to navigate the full post – or just want the facts’ ma’am – WE HAVE A SWIM WINDOW!!!! Scroll down for details. For those of you that also want to experience the journey – a long post follows! Long story short... our window is Tuesday at 1pm local time (11am EST) or Wednesday 7am local (5am EST) - so stay turned here!

On Saturday, we had a fantastic get together at Brett’s. What an amazing turnout! I think that just about everyone that has supported the swim in one way or another turned up to wish Madhu well, and a some that we have not seen in quite some time!  In fact, Joe Cleary, who Madhu had not seen since abut 2011 came down to say hello.  Joe ran the Marathon Des Sables with Madhu, and credits him for keeping him going through the race. Joe is an amazing fellow in his own rights – 75 this year and has run over 530 marathons… wow! Where do you keep all those medals Joe?  Great to see him, and everybody that joined us, it was a fantastic sendoff!

Saturday afternoon was spent packing, discovering what we forgot, running out to get it, and packing again! When you are travelling as far as we were, unsure about what exactly to expect, you want to make sure you pack for every contingency!

We left Madhu’s about 8:15 to head to the airport.  We had a very late flight – leaving at 11:45. Everything was smooth as butter at the airport – until we had our first “forgot it” moment – I forgot the lounge pass that Alan was so nice to provide!  Well if that is the worst that I forgot, we will be in good shape!  We managed to sweet talk Madhu into the lounge, but I ended up paying my way in – not so bad, but next time we should really work on Air Canada for sponsorship! ☺

The flight to Santiago was unremarkable in and of it’s self, and Madhu was out like a light the minute he hit the seat. Alan and I managed a bit of rest here and there, but you know what it is like on a plane – elbows and other people chatting do not lead to a really restful sleep! About 10 hours later we were landing in Santiago – feeling pretty good but hungry!  

We had a bit of a layover, so we stored our luggage and hit the airport buffet for a bite to eat. If you are ever travelling to Santiago and have to stay in the airport for a connection, just get a cabbie and head out – the Gatsby Buffet is not bad by any means – but $100US for 3 beers and 3 buffet’s is a bit much ☺ What was NOT a bit much was our first test of my translator app. Madhu thought it would be neat to take a cab just around the Airport area for a quick tour – we only had about 15 or 20 minutes. But trying to explain that one to the cabbie was for some reason not happening ☺  So I whipped out my handy dandy Jibbigo app on my iPhone and viola – no problemo! We whipped around the area and at least got a sense of the more – industrial – side of Santiago ☺ 

Just as a side note – the best human moment of the trip so far was when we got out of the cab to head back to the terminal – the cabbie chased me down to show me in the backseat… my phone!  What a disaster that would have been to forget!  I am sure that a lot of drivers would not have done that double check of the seats to ensure everything was remembered – so a huge thank you to our cabbie in Santiago! Never mind just losing the phone, the translator app is our lifeline when we don’t have a translator of our own – so PHEW, that could have gone so much differently…

Finally, we checked in for our flight to Punta Arenas, another 5 hours on a plane with our stop over at Puerta Montt. Everything was again pretty smooth, and the next thing we knew – we were dropping down over the Strait of Magellan, coming in for a landing!  The water looked pretty smooth, the winds were non-existent, and not a raincloud to be found in the sky – so Alan had to ask Madhu the question – what is the big deal about this swim! ☺  I am sure that sometime while we are here the Strait will answer that question for us.

Claudia, who is handling the logistics here on Chile, met us at the airport with another Claudia – our translator, and Nicole, who drove us back to Claudia’s house where we are staying. On the trip back , and over a very nice dinner that she prepared for us, Claudia talked about the swim, the rules, and what happens over the next couple of days, so without further ado, or fluff, here is what we know as of right now:

-    on Monday Madhu goes to the hospital for a blood test and medical workup (he is there as I write this)
-    Monday at about 1 he will get his first chance to swim in the Strait! The goal for Madhu is about an hour and a half training swim.
-    In the afternoon we get a tour of Punta Arenas, and hopefully a pre-paid chip for my phone and free Wi-Fi somewhere to post this!
-    In the evening the indoor pool is available for Madhu to swim in (declined if we can get a good swim in the Strait.)

Now – the MOST important part – and the reason that we have the post titled what it is – WE HAVE A SWIM WINDOW! Claudia informed us that there are 2 windows, depending on the approval of the authorities – Tuesday at 1pm (that is 3pm EST) or Wednesday morning at 7am (9am EST). This is dependent on weather – so stay tuned and I will let you know as soon as I possibly can just when it will be!

Some other details:
-    we will travel 2 ½ hours to Punta Delgada where the swim will be staged. We must be there about 2 hours prior to the swim to be organized and ready to go. That will be our opportunity to consult with the Chilean Navy escorts to ensure that we understand the process. 
-    Our particular swim will have a zodiac dedicated to Madhu, and an escort boat for everyone (there are 4 additional swimmers from Argentina swimming across in wetsuits) In our Zodiac will be Mike and a paramedic. Usually Claudia would be in the zodiac to watch and ensure the swimmers safety, but she is trusting me in that role for her (with a very clear warning that if anything bad happens she will kill me!) 
-    On the east shore landing site, our translator will be waiting with Madhu’s warm up kit – this is especially important not just because he needs the jacket and clothes, but the fact that it is our translator ensures that there is no miscommunication or misunderstanding with the paramedics!
-    The swim is conducted under English Channel rules – no assistance at all – including exiting the water! Those of you that have been to Coronation have seen us assist Madhu out of the water – but we cannot do that here. He will have to exit completely under his own power to above the waterline before he can be helped.
-    Both shores are rocky (a very important aspect for Madhu to be prepared for!)

So there you have it – not much more to say! We are very happy that the swim will be so early in our trip – we can have some more relaxed time exploring this great country! This does not give us a lot of time for nerves to build, and we are stoked to get this done! 

Because I know that there is family and close friends also reading this, I want to assure you on one VERY important thing – Safety. It is the number one thing that will be on my mind through this process. I am prepared and willing to call the swim if it comes to that if I feel that Madhu’s safety or health is compromised in any way. That is my responsibility, and I wholly accept it. That may mean disappointment, frustration or even anger – but I will take that on to ensure that my friend is safe. As he wisely once explained to me (about another swim, but I paraphrase) “The strait will always be there waiting, but we only have one life to live”. He also said on Saturday “Everything from here on out is a bonus” – I will take both of these to heart and do my absolute best to ensure the safety and well being of Madhu throughout this swim!

Finally, to close off a monumental post (book?) I will try to keep the long posts to a minimum, and do more short, quick posts. We don’t have Wi-Fi @ Claudia’s where we are staying, but Alan has found a local internet Café close by – so I will endeavor to get there as often as our schedule allows to post updates.

As soon as I have a finalized time for the swim I will let you know – with as much advance warning as I can! And as soon as I can find WiFi AFTER the swim I will also let you know how it went.

So stay tuned and send your good energy our way – holy crap this is really happening!

Mike

One more thing...

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!

Mike

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!

The Final Countdown....

Only 6 days left until we are winging our way to Chile, and the media attention is starting to pick up a bit!

First, Graham Paine from the Oakville Beaver has been stopping by to take pictures through the fall and winter, and did a great writeup for Inside Halton, and posed some great pictures he has taken throughout. He is hoping to have a full photo gallery up on the website as well, so keep an eye on InsideHalton.com for that!  The link to the story is below.

Inside Halton - Oakville swimmer preps for chilly challenge of the Straits of Magellan by Graham Paine

Next, thanks to a tweet of support from Pam Damoff - local councillor, team member, and ardent supporter of Madhu - he was contacted to do an interview for CHCH News with Pamela Vanmeer. Next thing you know Madhu is in his basement, struggling to capture in a few succinct words what this whole experience has been about - and he did a great job of it!  Watch the full interview via the link below.

CHCH News - Oakville man preps for chilly swim in Chile by Pamela Vanmeer

In non-media related news, this week an email went out to team members inviting them to join us at Coronation Park on Saturday, and we had a great turn out! We were missing some key team members, but despite that we captured some great moments. The gallery at the bottom of the post are pictures taken by Bruce Horsburgh (great job Bruce!)

Finally - the day of departure is rapidly approaching! We will be getting on an Air Canada flight next Saturday January 24 for a LATE and LONG flight to Santiago, Chile and from there to Punta Arenas. We would like to invite you to join us in wishing Madhu the best on Saturday (Jan 24) at Bean There Cafe (Reynolds and Lakeshore road in Oakville). We will be there about 8:30am - so come on down to show your support and have a great cup of coffee!

The next time you hear from me will be from Chile, as I will do my best to keep everyone up to date about what we are doing, how preparations and logistics are going, and when Madhu is getting in the water! We will have the SPOT tracker with us, and as long as we have a Satellite connection, you will be able to follow the swim live via. the tracker right from our homepage at http://www.itsnotaboutswimming.com

So until we return - cheer loud so we can hear you!

Mike


Less than 2 weeks to go - and a forced taper.

For those of you that are maybe unfamiliar with sports terms - particularly running ones (like me - please forgive me runners if I mess up this description...), tapering is the process of reducing your training to a bare minimum in the week or weeks prior to a big event to ensure that you are fully rested and as uninjured as you can be. Some athletes swear by it - some ignore it, and most of them dread it - going from a high level of intense training to a period of relative inactivity can leave you feeling like you are missing a best friend in your life.

What does this have to do with Chile?  Well, like it or not, Madhu is now entering his period of tapering. The plan was this weekend to get SOME time in the water - but the Lake denied us - emphatically (see the picture to the right).

This ice it's self would not prevent Madhu from getting time in the water - but the increased chance of injury from the entry and exit from the lake is not worth the risk - not with the trip so close!

So what do you do?  Throw up your hands and go home? Hang your head dejectedly, sigh heavily and trudge back to the car? Nope - not when you have great friends and supporters down to help you out! Instead you make slushies out of ice (see what I did there Steve!), and have a great time chatting with friends. You stand around long enough chatting and laughing the the sun comes to approve of your choice to stick around. You are treated to swans mooning you from the water, and you cap it all off by going for coffee at Brett's to reminisce about the old days of milk bottle delivery to your door, great places to eat in Montreal, sip hot chocolate (I am totally following Mark and Eileen's new IronMan diet...),  and see more friends!

That is what this is all about in a nutshell. It is not just about getting in cold water. It is not just about traveling 12,000 kilometers round trip, 24 hours each way. It is not just about swimming a few miles across a fast moving body of water.

It is about the training. It is about the team. It is about friends - old and new. It is about creating a feeling of community, sharing a passion and inspiring others. It is NOT about swimming - that is simply the vehicle to bring people together.

January 24 Madhu, Mike and Alan will set off to Punta Arenas, Chile, and sometime between January 25 and February 2, Madhu will become the 22nd person to successfully cross the Strait of Magellan. There will be pictures, there will be video, there will be wine and beer and food and friendship. We go with no expectations, no preconceived notions and open to a fantastic experience, and we will share it all with all of our friends here, on this website. So stop by the website often over the next few weeks, and don't forget to comment and wish us "buena suerte" - we will be thinking about all of you while we are there!

Mike

As always - the full gallery of pics from today can be seen on our Flickr photostream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/107504863@N04/

Rough Weather Training - Sunday January 4 Swim Report

Madhu's report of todays swim - this is why you train - to find the gaps in your game and learn how to fill them! Madhu is no different that way than an elite hockey goalie - you watch the game tapes, learn from your mistakes in practice, and when the spotlight is on - you know how to execute. You can learn a lot from understanding the process that high-level athletes like this train! (I know I am!) 

In his own words then:

"Was not sure, if the swim would happen this morning. I was up at 5:30 am to check if Vivek was feeling better as he had mentioned he wanted to go swimming. The dude was wide awake (The flaring temperature had kept him up). I went back to check him again and the kid was snoring away (in a matter of 30 secs). 

As per the plan I went to the park at 8:00 am to check the lake, The lake was calm with high and long rollers (this reminded my EC crossing), But the drive up and back home was treacherous. I also had a detailed weather report by Bryan in my email - All this was a strong reason for me to call off the swim. I did so in my email by giving an option to the team (here's the catch, we humans always like to blame somebody - I put the pressure on my team to make the decision). But, as mentioned before these guys are crazier than me (they very well know about COMMITMENT). I got 3 emails within a span of 10 mins. giving me options to support - I had no way out of this. I also sent an email to Loren about the roads - his response was "let me check the roads" I knew Mike was going out on his birthday brunch - but, he calls me to drop off the GOPRO.
Our initial jump time was 11:00 am. I arrive at the Coronation park. Brett is all geared (I have no chance to call off the swim now), Lambrina had her favourite chilean blanket for the post swim. Marty is in the parking lot with his gear. Brian had sent me an email about driving down from his cottage to be at the beach before 11:00 am. His van rolls in with two kayaks. Loren makes a rock star entry into the park (I have spent more time with Loren in 1C water) - I'm sure we have clocked in about 5 kms in 1C water temp). 
Brett is in his hip waders and other dry clothes. Brian launches in his kayak and positions himself far out. The lake had added a tiny of rage to the long and high rollers (they are bloody powerful). For a change, I was waiting for Loren this time (there is a pecking order here - I cannot get in the lake before Loren - It's always comfortable to have him and follow him in the lake) I follow Loren with navigational guidance from Brett to avoid the rocks (my left is still hurting from yesterday's impact in the lake).
Walking into the lake, I'm thinking. How come I can never figure this out, I have no idea, how to swim in the 1C water. It's bloody cold. Brett comforts me by saying it's MIND OVER MATTER, Madhu - I immediately dive in. I'm doing an overall system check - my right earplug is acting up, I stop after about 10 strokes as I'm ingesting water in my right ear. I fix it and start swimming again (it's still bothering me). Anyways we swim to the rock pier on the west side of the park - This swim is like swimming in a smooth high wavy roller coaster (Brian is on my port side, it was like I go on the crest the wave I see Brian and then I end up the trough and I cannot spot Brian or loren or Lambrina who's walking with us on the beach. For the first time, I felt disoriented (this has never happened to me in the tiny bit of swimming that I have done. I manage to keep my focus on Brian on the Kayak, Loren in the water. It was hard swimming this morning - I was pushing hard evaluating my fingers - in pain, my palms - in pain, my  head is OK, my feet - in pain. Hey, I'm still breathing hard so kept pushing it. Checked the watch at the rock pier 5:42. Time to turn back. Again I cut through the waves for about 4 mins (swimming hard). I stop and Brett asks me to swim towards Loren who's at the rock pier on the east side. I do that and I catch him in the next minute or so, I try to stand up and this is a funny feeling. I was heavy and was not stable, I manage to duck in swim towards Brett, who has already sensed this and grabs me as I get closer to him. I was lightheaded from all the Crest and trough in the wave. I had trouble getting my foot stable - They managed to get me out in the van. Marty had made sure everything was arranged properly for me and they get me back to normal soon. I was fine out of the water. I loved Lambrina's warm chilean blanket from IKEA (it's some special blanket for Lamb and Brett(you should check with them on the story behind that special blanket). Looks like it might come with us to Chile. Today was a neat learning experience - All our cold swims has been in above 5C and I'm glad I was able to experience this today. I'll try to get a couple of swims in cold rollers just to make sure I'm able to deal with it or at least when I'm chilean - I need to get in the ocean everyday to deal with this. 

Today's highlight: The badass hard core team that made me swim. Lambrina's Warm chilean blanket and the best cup of warm tea that I've had. Thanks lambrina.

Thanks Marty, Lambrina, Brett and Brian for taking care of us like your own kids. This is an awesome experience.The camaraderie is just amazing. Well, I hang out with cool folk who don't even make a big of anything - Every day I notice that when we are done with our swim and LOCT we all go back to our regular normal regular lives.

Loren, you are a rockstar!! Thanks for the push pal :-)"

As always - it is a team effort! Thanks for stepping up Brett and Lambrina, Brian and as always Marty - I felt secure that there was support for Madhu there in my absence!

Mike

 A great picture of Madhu and Marty - photo credit to Lambrina

A great picture of Madhu and Marty - photo credit to Lambrina


LOST Polar Bear Dip 2015

As many of you know, Madhu is a founder and member of LOST - Lake Ontario Swim Team, which is a group of like-minded open-water swimmers that congregate every Saturday morning at the foot of Navy St. in Oakville for a swim in our wonderful lake.

Every year LOST also hosts a Polar Bear Dip - while not as big as the Courage Brothers Polar Bear Dip (which is reported as the largest in Canada!) it is nevertheless a lot of fun with a group of friends. This year we had about 35 dippers out - with just as many spectators! Ages ranged from about 11 years to older (not allowed to weigh in on the top end of the age group!) - and was great fun for everyone.  Our stars were Loren, Mark and of course Madhu - who showed the group that a head dip was not the only way to celebrate the New Year - but a full on actual swim was the way to go (check out the video below to see what a difference training makes - from the quick run in dunk and run out to the casual backstroke that Loren displayed - and yes, it was the SAME 1C water!). 

Afterwards we all went to Bean There, which is our local coffee shop for athletes and friends alike - hosted by Brett and Lambrina. Bean There has been a staple in our training regiment - Madhu always looks forward to warming up and laughing with friends there after our Saturday training swims - I think that is the part that he will miss the most when coming out of the Strait in a few weeks!

We have little video below of the swim, as well as some fantastic pictures by Bruce and some others by myself on our Flickr Page (https://www.flickr.com/photos/107504863@N04/). If you are in the Oakville area on a Saturday morning, even if you are not a swimmer, you MUST come out to the LOST swim (Early June - Late September) and say hi, and then join us for a coffee and chat at Brett's.

Less than 3 weeks until we get on a plane to bring this great adventure to it's climax - don't forget to watch the website for reports from Chile, and hopefully a live tracking of the actual swim as it happens! And as always, thanks for your words of encouragement and support!

Mike


Great Day, Great People, Great Lake and a Great Swim.

On Friday, Madhu emailed the team:

"Sorry to bug you all. Tomorrow(Dec/27th) is a warm day 7C and not sure about the water temperature. However, We (pending loren's confirmation) are thinking of jumping early to give our best shot to attempt an icemile.

We need help on the beach. We also need people to observe + witness and document our swim. If you are available to help us out - send me a reply confirming your availability.

We are thinking of jumping at 7:30 am in the morning.

Thanks in advance for your support."

What could we say but - YES! Below is his report of this incredible attempt:

"Great Day, Great People, Great Lake and a Great Swim. 

At times (in the middle of the night, in my cozy bed) I wonder, what was I thinking when I sent that email about a 7:15 am jump, Why do we commit/push/challenge ourselves that require to get out of bed before sunrise in a Canadian winter. This is the hardest part of this venture. Once I get out of the bed, everything else is magical. I’ll recount things that happened this morning (you are welcome to delete the message now)

  1. My Suunto Ambit alarm goes off at 6:30 am
  2. I manage to get out of bed at 6:42 am
  3. Get ready, make sure my gear(goggle, macks earplugs, red parka, cap, gloves etc) are in place. 
  4. I check my email/Facebook to make sure, I don’t have any last minutes notes from team. Loren is stuck with family commitments (very important). 
  5. Get down to Coronation park and I’m wondering who’s on the beach - I see Mark and It can’t be Julia - she is getting married today.
  6. It was Julia, She wanted to wish us well before her own big day (she gives me a big hug, a kiss on my cheek and takes off). Julia, would it be OK if we crash your wedding tonight!!
  7. Mike, Marty, Mark, Brett, Brian, Dave, Alan, (and Alan’s big self parking gadget), Rob, Dylan, Maisey, and (a phone call from Miguel) are all on the beach and getting ready for the respective positions.
  8. Kayaks and Gopros are launched.
  9. Rob gives me a highlight of the important rules for this swim. (Note: I believe in barebones and also my mantra has always been that training is harder than the real swim).
  10. I missed point 6.1 - Mark launches the tent and makes sure it is secure.
  11. We get dressed: Speedo drag suit CHECK, earplugs CHECK, A.S.S swim cap CHECK, goggles CHECK.
  12. We walk into the water and the water is painful 1C. My feet hurt right away. Mark (like Loren) can dash into the water and till to date, I cannot do that.
  13. Brett,Mike and Brian on Kayaks with GOPROs are positioned to keep me safe. BTW, The Great lake is great with long rolling small waves. The lake was filled with birds (CanadaGeese, ducks, swans and other small birds).
  14. I take a couple of strokes and stop - I always do this (very hard to break bad habits).
  15. I made sure that Maisey doesn’t laugh at me when I get out of the water (as I’m usually in a bad shape) she assured me that she would give me a warm smile instead. It was great to see Maisey and Dylan (I have seen them as little kids - they are still kids to us, but not little anymore).
  16. We swam together and I was told that Mark got out after 500mts. Did not notice as he was on my port side. I was focused on Brett on the kayak. (MIKE, BRETT, BRIAN PLEASE COMMENT IF ANY OF THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE OR BS).
  17. I for know that I’m the weakest link in this team - All crazy strong athletes and great people who are here to take care of me.
  18. Walking into the lake, I have no idea as to how far I can push this swim. We swim westwards towards rock patches - I’m focused on Brian’s kayak, I was wondering if they wanted me to go around Brian’s kayak as a buoy. I kind of felt that was a moving target, I guess it did help me to push further. I did make a U turn, not sure if it was around Brian’s kayak or before the kayak.
  19. I was thinking about suman, vivek, meghna, friends in mysore, my high school friends, SteveE, julia, joe, eileen, loren, lynn, shelley, my parents, Bryan, vicki, Connor's running group, my uncle who passed away last week, my cousins and several of my friends from all walks of life and so many people that I have worked with in the past.(Hey, this was long cold swim - I’ll let Rob/Brett/Brian/Mike publish the official distance and time in the water).
  20. I thought about ROB HALL, who died just below the summit of everest in 1996. I’m actually inspired by several of these alpinist who are great people, leaders etc. I always think about his courage to go back to retrieve one of his clients, courage to call his pregnant wife in NZ and comfort her (check HALL AND BALL by Colin Monteath and Into Thin Air etc).
  21. Well, it was a great swim, I watched Rob(Rob’s blu jacket) walk on the shore with me.
  22. Well, When I came back to the first rock pads (on the west side of the park). I was stuck on the shallow end - I was trying to move into the deeper part of the lake and I must’ve ingested some water, Not sure what happened, I lost focus and I realized, I was struggling and I had stopped swimming. 
  23. Real teams kick in when things are not working - The team just jumped to take control, I noticed Alan bringing the card closer to the westside of the park, Mike jump out of the kayak, Brett and Brian huddled close to me - Marty, Dave grabbed me took care of me - I was on a warm car seat, I was huddled between Marty and Dave for a while and then Alan came in. I was back to normal and we were at Brett’s having coffee. 

Wow This was an awesome swim. We’ll go back and complete this after we get back from Straits of Magellan. I’ll let Rob/Mike/Brett/Brian/Dave/Marty/Alan comment on the details of the swim. [Mikes Edit: 29:39/1.22m/1C Water - unbelievable swim!]

Yes, Today is a GREAT DAY.
Yes, I hang out with GREAT PEOPLE
Yes, It is a GREAT LAKE (we need to take care of it)
Yes, It was a GREAT SWIM

Julia and Joe, rest well before your big ceremony

Thanks everybody :-)"

It takes a team - and it truly took a team on Saturday - all to support this one amazing person - Madhu Nagaraja. Thanks everyone who was there, and thanks to Madhu for pushing US to be our best!

Mike

The "Community" of Magellan

When a swim is unique it can sometimes be difficult to plan logistics, and start you thinking "am I doing the right thing here?  Am I preparing correctly?" With something like the English Channel you have the comfort of a large community of people that have completed the swim (many of them multiple times) and a lot of information - not so much with the Strait of Magellan.  Few have successfully crossed, and being so relatively remote to us, information even about the launch point, and exact distance is tough to come by!

Madhu recently reached out to Scott Lautman and Randy Perkins who both successfully crossed the Strait in 2009 and 2013 respectively. They were happy to share their experiences with Madhu, and assure him that he is doing everything right - which gives you huge peace of mind, coming from successful crossers such as them!

It also helps to know that we are working with the de-facto expert in Chile for swimming crossing -  Claudia Nelyda Molkembuhr Sapunar. Claudia is handling all the logistics for the swim, from the details of transport, lodgings and food to the paperwork to engage the Chilean Navy and observers for the swim. She has been wonderful in assuring us that we will be well taken care of, and all Madhu has to do is show up and swim!

Swimming is a fantastic community, and a core tenant of that community is support and sharing - that you can email someone out of the blue and they are willing to help you with whatever assurance or information you need speaks volumes - and as for support - this email from Scott to Madhu says it all:

"Relax, nerves are good.   If you are swimming in 1C now you will have no trouble with 4-6C.  Remember that the air temp is going to be much warmer than where you are training, and that makes a HUGE difference. You might get lucky and have air temps in the mid to upper 50’s near 60F. The combination of 4C and  4C air or lower is really difficult for me.  When the air temp is reasonable I can put up with a lot!  You will do fine!  You will get across!

Threw [in] a few pics of the finish, dolphins and Punta Del Gada!  See attached [below].  Great memories!"

And we look forward to creating some of our own. That is why we call this website, and really believe that It's Not About Swimming.

Mike

Saturday December 20, 2015 Swim Report

Some of you might have seen Loren's video on Facebook and here is my version of the swim: It was a beautiful morning, calm lake, bright sun, clear water and birds (geese, ducks, swans) on the far end of the park in the water. I have seen this before and I knew right away that the water will be mean cold (colder than 2C). I'm already in a mindframe that this is not happening today, I say that (a negative one) to loren and he agrees with me right away. 

I go through my ritual of earplugs, cap and goggles. The air temp is mean cold as well. We walk into the lake and I'm thinking today's swim is going to be a quick dip. But, Steve, Marty, Darren, Mike, Brian, Alan and France (and Stephanie) have a different plan - they were thinking of pushing us as far as possible. Loren as always walks into the lake with this energy of a Rockstar walking onto the stage - I have tried to simulate it but failed (I'm in a different headspace. I believe, my conversation with loren was let's see how far we can go. Evaluating the first few strokes, the pain has already kicked in which usually happens in 4th or 5th min of the swim. I'm thinking of getting out - I stop for a second and watch loren, Mike, Brian and Darren(in a lighter wetsuit in the water). I convince myself push for another few mins and I bump into loren and ask him if we should turn back, Loren's words were no let's go further. I duck my head swim further and I cannot believe that this was happening (water is bloody cold a mean 1C(33.8F). We have gone as far as we went last week(wow!!!). I was quick in turning back to swim to the tent. Everybody said that my stroke was calm and had a great rhythm on my way back. In my mind, I was struggling, splashing, I was anxious to get back to the beach and my fear was if I stopped here, How the hell will I walk back on the beach (with the air temp in the negatives). I convince myself that it is easier to swim back than quitting here. Overall, today's swim was magical. I have no idea how we did, what we did this morning. I have to thank the CREW "STEVE, MARTY, FRANCE(and Sophie), ALAN, MIKE on kayak, BRIAN on kayak and DARREN OSBORNE in the water" for helping us push the barrier.

A great cup of coffee at Brett's LOCT!!! Brett, thanks for creating a great post swim coffee forum!! 

Madhu Nagarajs

Sunday December 21, 2015 Swim Report

Wow!! It was a magical swim this morning. Although, Steve had communicated with me about this plan to bring his team down to the beach. I had trouble getting out of bed (partially, I was still recovering from yesterday's swim).  I some how got to the beach before 7:15 am. Everybody in the team was on the beach ready for us to jump. We had Brett and Brian on the kayak. Darren in the drysuit and manning the VRB Garmin. Mike manning his expensive camera and Steve and Marty leading the land crew. Alan, Dave and Mel supporting us an crew on the beach. Steve's team arrived on the beach at 7:30 am. Love those Orange jerseys. The neat part is I know so many of the crazy athletes who train with Steve (you need to be a tiny bit crazy to hang out with Steve – as it is not about running).  Thanks Steve and team for setting the stage for us. It was a neat energy. I had no clue as to how the swim would turn out today. I usually, compare my experience from the previous swims and it was bang on matched my yesterdays experience (it was bloody cold, My feet started hurting as I walked in). Loren has the ability to walk until waist deep and I have trouble doing so. I always seek positive vibes from people around me and Loren, Brett, Brian and Darren in the water is very comforting for me (I have to get out of this comfort zone and be really solo in Chile). We jumped in and within the first couple of minutes I had to pause as my face, feet, fingers were hurting so badly. Loren was on his backstroke and I simply followed loren, Brett and Brian. We had a good swim, It was really magical and I have no idea as to how I went that far and I felt a tiny bit comfortable pushing through the swim (maybe, we have learned to tolerate the pain). The crew, kayak and water support and everybody worked like clock work. I'm so glad to hang out with a great group of people, all accomplished athletes, professionals and most of all good people. Thanks for all the support.

This is Awesome!!

It isn't about swimming or running!!