Day 1 - 9 Aug 2014 - Arrived Dover at 9:30 am, locked baggage in hotel (rooms not ready till 1pm) and we walked over to the harbor to view the swim training being overseen by Frieda Streeter, aka "The General" of Channel Swimming. We witnessed 50+ swimmers going from Harbor wall to Harbor wall in very choppy, windy but sunny conditions. It was high tide. Since I couldn't get to my swim gear I decided on waiting till the rest of the team arrived in the afternoon. Nancy and I then wandered around Dover town center. It's a very charming little coastal town--quite lovely as they say. At 1pm we were walking zombies so we decided on a one hour power nap--a wise decision. The rest of the team, team captain Dave, Stuart, Mandy, and Rachel arrived around 4:00pm. Jai, our English teammate was busy with a TI Clinic and would not be joining us till late Sunday evening. We headed for the beach (pebble not sand more like the Cali Coast). When we arrived it was low tide--20 feet lower--pretty impressive difference and not really appreciated until you see it in person. Looks a lot like the the water mark difference in our local Boerne City Lake level from where the water was 3 years ago to now. The water was cold, did I say cold already? I think it was 64 not 65. We swam to the harbor wall on one side and then back to the start area, approx 40 min, 1600 meters with stops and talks along the way, getting tossed around like we were clothes in a washing machine both top and front load at the same time. Probably 2-3 foot chop. GREAT training I must add. Dinner was immediately after at Dino's, an Itallian restaurant. Great food and really tasted great after swimming. After dinner we just had to stop by Eight Bells tavern for a draft. Nancy had a Stella and I had a pulled draft Harp's. Excellent cap to the first day. Off to bed for a restful sleep--NOT. I kept hearing this buzz about every 15-30 minutes and sometimes as long as an hour in between. I was of course telling Nancy to turn whatever it was on her phone off and she of course was telling me to turn off whatever it was on my phone. This went all night.
Day 2 - Starts off with the usual morning stuff. As I was charging the phones I hear this buzz again but from behind me and I look and see both phones in front of me. I go to the buzz and lo and behold it's my Garmin 910 that's been buzzing all night at the correct 15 min interval I have it set for to help keep track of the time while swimming. I swear I had turned the watch off--won't happen again tonight.
0830 and off the to the beach. It is raining, windy and not looking good. But heh, I'm getting in 64 degree water who cares. Nancy and I are the first of the team to arrive at the beach and the only ones there besides us are five people from the CS&PF (Channel Swimming and Pilots Federation. Of course the General was there as well as "Field Marshlall" Charlie--the de facto organizer of the training swims. It's cold and wet, no other team members so we head for a Starbucks--hot coffee, YES. We get back and just as the team is arriving so are some other swimmers. Charlie announces max two hours in the water as the weather is going to get much worse and they want us out--or they don't want to sit in the covered area for more than two hours. They recognize Dave and pleasantries are exchanged and we change and head for the water--did I say it's still cold yet? Charlie collects our sandals and off we go. We head north in the harbor deciding that's the roughest end and want to attack it while fresh. We hit our designated turn point, which is not all the way to the wall as Charlie had declared that far off limits-too rough and wouldn't get back. Turn and head south to the other harbor wall. One benefit of swimming in the rain, wind and rough sea is the sailboats are not a worry of running into. We make two and half round trips in just over an hour and totaled out at 3K in some very rough conditions. i felt like a bobber (more like a cork even though some of you that know me may think I can't bob around like a cork) at times getting tossed around coming off a crest into the air getting air before diving into the next wave--that is really fun!!!
After swimming Nancy and I head to Chaplin's for breakfast as it was highly recommended. I had the Mega (hungry after that swim) which was 2 eggs, 2 very big slices of bacon, 2 bangors (sausage),baked beans, 2 fried tater triangles, fried mushrooms, and 2 slices of fried bread (had to try it) and black coffee. So you get the idea everything was fried?? Good thing I had a good swim. Now we're waiting the heavy part of the rain out before hiking to the Dover Castle and then back to the water around 6 when they say the current weather will be gone and we will have a smooth swim at low tide.