Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Letter from Capri

SAT JUN 2, 2012

well - what can i say …

cast of characters:
37' boat called Together II (beautiful boat - i love this boat)
boat captain:        ed dottino, with two crew members, mitch and jerry
morty berger:    director of operation - swim capri swim
my crew:        alan morrison and arlene chung
kayaker:            bonnie aldinger
swimmer:        capri djatiasmoro (me)

this is all i have, because as soon as we got to sandy hook
we were working and dealing
with the drama on the high seas

i had trained diligently for months
i was ready but mother nature; the ocean and the wind had other plans

full moon made for very fast tidal currents

we were supposed to have a strong current assist pushing north
( this is good )
we were supposed to have wind from the south pushing north
(this is good)

unfortunately - the wind switched to a strong 15-20 mph wind
coming from the west going east
the current at sandy hook was - east going west
this caused a washing machine effect with 6' plus waves
(not fun, but i've been through this before)

i swam to shore and started the swim from the beach
Had to get through some huge crashing waves and
then the washing machine was waiting for me

there were times when the boat could not see us
i couldn't see the boat
sometimes, i could see bonnie in the kayak,
and she was getting blown all over the place

after 45 min of swimming and going no where
(actually, i was getting sucked into staten island bay - not good)
they pulled me - they told me to swim to the boat
i swam to the boat, but the wind kept pushing the boat away
i tried three times to no avail
finally they threw me a life preserver on a line and dragged me into the boat

then we had to get bonnie and her kayak on board
remember - this was in a turbulent washing machine with 6' plus waves
the boat could not hold position

as we were trying to load the kayak on board,
at one point, the boat came down on the kayak and capsized it
bonnie lost her radio, bag with food and water, broke her camera etc.
bonnie is a pro, she kept her cool and dealt with the situation

it took awhile, but we finally got bonnie and her kayak on board

we got out of the treacherous washing machine danger zone
and headed to relatively speaking, "calmer" waters
just south of the verrazano bridge, bonnie with her kayak and i got back in

back into the water - ok, let's try this again ...

i did three feeds at the verrazano - that's a feed break every 45min
i have no idea how far i swam
but i was swimming hard, working my ass off

speaking of ass … at one point near bay ridge, i felt something
very big and slippery smack my left check ass
and go flying over me - it was not a log
i can only assume it was a large fish

then, i was getting bored with the caffe latte feed
i asked bonnie to tell my crew to switch to the other feed - the strawberry vanilla
i was starting to get a little sore, so i took a sip of the liquid Advil
boy, was that a mistake!
it mixed with the caffe latte and came right up
it was a good thing, that the week before, my open water swimming coach,
(patricia sener) had just taught me how to puke in the water.
i didn't want bonnie to see me puking (they would pull me)
so i took a breath
and exhaled in the water puking each time
lovely, isn't it?

this is what open water swimmers do …

i was getting pushed north, but the strong wind from the west was pushing us
into moored barges on the brooklyn side
i made it past one barge and then morty called the event
we were north of bay ridge and south of governor's island

i said … why did you pull me - i made it past the barge
he said … look at all those barges up ahead
it was like a mine field of anchored barges
morty did the right thing
it was too dangerous

later in the afternoon - the wind direction changed to coming from the north
so it would have been brutal conditions - swimming into battery park
let alone dodging a tanker, a cruise ship, barges, staten island ferry
and all the other harbor boat traffic, but this is what i do for fun!

yes, and of course we had the necessary permits, insurance,
and clearance from NYPD harbor patrol, USCG, and homeland security

 so … that's about it for now folks
until the next swimming adventure

see you in the water ;-)


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