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Border shopping reinvented

BeltquerungRødby-Puttgarden is a classical ferry route used by any respectable Danish fan of border shopping who wants to avoid the sky high taxes imposed on beer and soda in Denmark. But as you will know, border shopping has never been my cup of tea, so I’ve decided to give it a different angle.

Beltquerung” is the name of the official swim across the Fehmarn Belt between Denmark and Germany. This crossing is actually part of the Danish definition of the Triple Crown of open water swimming (Beltquerung, English Channel and Catalina Channel). The geographically shortest distance is around 21 km, but most swimmers end up swimming around 25 km because of the currents and other variables. The challenge is quite tough and has only been attempted and overcome by a handful of swimmers. No Belgian nor Dane has succeeded so far. Maybe that’s my chance to try to make a bit of history? 😉

If everything goes according to plan, the Beltquerung will be my first official marathon swim without wetsuit. If I succeed, it should help me qualify for my swim across the English Channel, for which a 6 hour solo ratification swim without wetsuit is required.

As part of my season planning I’ve been in touch with the organizers of the Beltquerung. Those guys are German, so it couldn’t be better for a first marathon attempt. No one can’t beat the Germans when it comes to quality and efficiency. And it surely didn’t take them long to get back to me. My contact person Jens sounds very down to earth. Nothing pretentious (a single look at the website is enough to confirm that) and not a single sign of snobbism in his approach to my plan. It was all about my safety. Besides, the price for the escort boat and the observer is more than affordable. Obviously this swim is not as hyped up as the one across the English Channel. Border shopping doesn’t seem to be much of a price pusher – on the contrary! And it’s all the better for me!

Nevertheless Jens’ first reply triggered a funny reaction in me. Suddenly my dream came much closer. It wasn’t just a dream anymore; it became a tangible goal! I was a bit scared and thrilled at the same time. I waited a few days before writing back. I just couldn’t answer right away. I had to get used to the thought that this is actually happening. I really am doing this… and I can’t wait! Successful or not, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic experience anyway, “competing” with the traditional ferries passing me on the route.

My Speedos and I are dying to start swimming in the open water again soon! The water temperature around Elsinore is around 5 °C at the moment. Another five degrees and I’ll be ready to go for a (short) swim. Right now it’s all about wading around in the shallow water, thigh high, in order to acclimatize. It’s freaking cold, but I love it! I can’t wait for the temperature to rise and the swimming season to start, so I can get my teeth into it. My pal Uffe David has also agreed to follow me in his kayak. And that’s great news! Why? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you more about him!

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