Sunday 9th July. The weather forecast was more than promising. Plenty of sunny spells, insignificant currents (0.25-0.50 knot), comfortable water temperatures (15-16 °C) and a gentle breeze between 8 and 10 am. We were in for the perfect swim.
This year’s crossing between Denmark and Sweden (island of Ven) was to be my test swim in preparation of my crossing between Denmark and Germany in a few weeks. Above all, I had to make sure my neck could withstand the pressure of the open water. That was my main goal of the day.
Besides my regular team, Thomas and Karsten from the Danish Sea Rescue Society (Dansk Søredningsselskab Helsingør) had offered to follow me this year. Those two guys made an incredible job! They were extremely attentive and dedicated. They really looked like they enjoyed the day, talking with the big ships on the radio to make them skirt around us, lesser mortals. I felt completely safe all the way, even when the weather decided to challenge us more than expected.
As early as 7.30 am, the Gods of the northwest wind decided it was time to spice things up a little. Quickly, the wind speed reached above 6 m/s, with the waves growing bigger and bigger by the minute. The ride was pretty shaky, especially for my team on the two boats, being scattered from side to side.
The winds and the resulting leeway forced us to reduce my feeding breaks to less than 30-40 seconds. I could barely drink off my bottle without swallowing half the sea at the same time. Unsurprisingly, I was very close to losing my temper a few times, but thanks to my team’s happy interventions I remained relatively composed all the way. As you will know, anger management is not one of my virtues at sea – you have no idea what those guys have to put up with! 😮 😀 But somehow they always manage to kill the drama and calm me down.
Actually, the only drama we experienced this time was on their side. This year, our escort boats had no toilets. While the guys didn’t really care, Camilla felt a bit more challenged by the idea of having to use the bucket we had equipped her with right in the middle of a choppy sea.
All in all, the crossing went smoothly. We reached the island of Ven after four hours (10-12km). My neck played me up a little because of the waves, but nothing alarming. We all had a great day and my friend Thomas Voller was there to capture every moment of it in his amazing pictures and the video below.
This crossing was an excellent exercise and we feel ready for our big day in a couple of weeks. I’ve been resting my neck since last Sunday and I’m pretty confident it will hold all the way from Denmark to Germany. But then again, whatever happens with my neck during the swim, I’m sure we’ll have an extraordinary day. Because one thing stands out again after last Sunday’s crossing – without the efforts and the support of my team, I would never be able to live out my passion for the open water and marathon swimming.
Love, trust and dedication. That’s all that matters to me. ❤
(See below for more pictures and video)