Catalina Channel - Catalina Island to Los Angeles
6 August 2014: (34kms) - 11 hrs 53 mins
I plunged into the chilly Pacific Ocean off the Bottom Scratcher vessel 100 metres from the Catalina coast at 11:30 in the evening. I immediately started to hyper-ventilate in reaction to the water temperature although it was around 20˚C which is considered warm by Channel Swimming standards. But I hadn’t done enough cold water training this season and it showed immediately. That was a concern as I knew I had another 34km to swim to the Los Angeles coast at San Pedro including 6 hours of swimming in the dark.
In order to get to the start on the shores of Catalina I had to wade through reems of kelp. It was the middle of the night and I was gripped with fear at the possibility of a Great White lurking beneath. I heard splashes all around me even though the water was very calm. It turned out to be flying fish which was a tremendous relief!
I gave the customary thumbs up to the boat pilot to indicate I was ready and began to swim to Los Angeles.
The nausea started almost immediately and I vomited about every 20 to 30 minutes for the rest of the swim due to an upset stomach combined with the salt water in my mouth. I swam into several jelly fish but the stings were only brief and I managed to not let them affect me too severely.
Thankfully I was swimming next to an experienced kayaker as well as the main boat, so I was able to receive an instant feed of fresh water to calm my stomach when needed.
I managed to keep a steady pace throughout the day despite the obstacles and after 11 hours and 53 minutes I had made it all the way to Los Angeles. I am now ranked in the global top 20 for the Oceans Seven.
Here is a nice little blog post by one of my crew who paints a great picture of the day out at sea:
I've also included a short video clip of me swimming ater the first 30 minutes at around midnight: