After competing in triathlons for 9 years, I decided it was time to try something different. In the back of my mind I had always had this idea that I would try to swim the English Channel some day. Now, after almost 2 years of distance swimming training, that day is almost here!

Plot of my course

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Roller coasters and helicopters

It seems we got all excited for nothing at this point. The weather outlook has changed again and it now looks like the first possible time to swim is Saturday. If that is the case, it could be a problem for me as I am second slot. That would mean the first slot guy would go Saturday. My flight back is Sunday morning early. I just hope something changes between now and then and everyone gets to do their thing. There is really nothing I can do. I am trying to put out of my mind the possibility that I may not get to swim at all.

Apparently the crazy weather is a common part of channel swimming. One minute you are ready to go and the next it's called off. Or vice versa, you are touring around the city and you get a call from your pilot that you are going. I was prepared for this rollercoaster having heard from people who have gone before me. The good news is that I have everything laid out and ready to go.

Most of the day was spent making final preparations for my swim. We went to a grocery store (Tesco) and picked up some things to mix with my Maxim, food for after the swim, etc as instructed by Freda. She has a very detailed feeding plan scripted in 30 minutes increments of what I am to drink/eat. Most of it is just Maxim (energy drink) with different things mixed in. We also had a little time to make our way to the central shopping area of Dover. I am a huge shopper. (not). And because the kids were hungry we ate at, you guessed it, McDonald's. Pretty much like ours at home.

So now I will regroup and be on standby for the rest of the week. We'll probably just do family vacation type things - probably go to London one day, Canterbury Cathedral and the like. I will continue to get in the harbor though. In fact tomorrow I may do a longer swim.

Well, I was sitting here thinking I didn't have an interesting picture to post for you today. At that moment, an enormous British Royal Airforce helicopter circled our building a couple times scattering all the sheep in the fields and then landed in back on the lawn! It's not 150 feet from our window. It blew debris everywhere and created quite a bit of excitement for the guests here. So of course we all went downstairs to investigate. The pilots walked over and I asked if they dropped in for dinner. One smiled and said "actually yes, we have reservations". They were a friendly bunch of 4 who explained they were out on a training exercise. After dinner they were going on their way for some night training. They gave the kids (and adult kids) a guided tour of the inside of the chopper. They do search and rescue operations over land and sea. In the picture above you can see Anna, Benjamin and Jacob at the front of the helicpoter. Anyway, kind of woke us up here.


Andrew said...

Allan --

We prayed for you and for good weather at both services today! We're ridin' the roller coaster with you -- so enjoy yourself and take in the vacation. God willing, the weather will CLEAR. And have a delicious english brewskie for us!


Anonymous said...

Hi Allan (and Lauri and the loud boys)--
We are sending you good wishes that the weather changes this week and you get to swim. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for keeping us informed!
-The Brunelli's

Karol said...


Still cheering you on here at the 'Y'! Hope you soon get your shot at the big swim. Please send my best to Lauri, Ben & Jacob and hang in there.. KJ

Allan said...

Thanks everyone. Weather, weather, weather. As I look at a couple foarcasting sites, my non-expert opinion is that Saturday and Sunday look best. I may look into if the tides are still good Sunday for a swim, and if so, possibly staying an extra day. Of course a lot can change between now and then. Thanks for the prayers!

Tobey-Anne Saracino said...


Keep your spirits up and stay occupied. It's the only thing to keep you're mind off the waiting.

We're all routing for you back here!!!


Allan said...

Tobey - I'm headed to London tomorrow with the family. Not TOO worried yet plus it won't do me any good anyway. Keeping my fingers crossed.