Day one of my swim will take me through the beautiful waters of Lama Passage in the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk Nation. There’s a public boat ramp in
(Bella Bella), home to the Heiltsuk, and where Jill, Dale and I landed last year – I hope to start from there.
We leave Victoria, British Columbia on Saturday, June 17 at 6am. My partner Ray (and kayaker) and I will be driving to Lake Cowichan to pick up Matt Piechnik, a long time friend who has crewed for me on all of my big swims. From there we head to Ladysmith to pick up MJ VanBergen – another long time friend and my chief safety for all of my swims – and then make the long drive to Port Hardy. Crew members Collette and Kevin Hennigan will meet us when we arrive in Bella Bella.
Our ferry leaves for Bella Bella at 6:00 PM and arrives at 1:00 AM. We have given ourselves plenty of time so we can enjoy the drive along the way. I’m looking forward to the ferry ride and spending time with MJ and Matt. I’m anxious to review the the swim route with them. We will have to make some choices around where to cross two channels. The narrowest crossing is about 1 kilometre, which will take me about 20 minutes, and the widest crossing is close to 10km, which will take 3 hours.
Thee days have been set aside for the swim; July 19, 20 and 21. I will be swimming 25 km each day as I did last year. The swim will take 2 days, but an extra day has been added for weather.
I am expecting the water to be between 10 to 14C. If the air is cold and the sun is not out my muscles will seize up and I will become hypothermic within an hour or two. It is one of the risks of the swim. I’ve been watching the weather closely and thus far the 19th and 20th look good.
Lama Passage is familiar to me. I have swum in it twice. It is truly a beautiful waterway and is abundant with life. It is also part of the Inside Passage shipping route which connects Seaforth Channel with Fisher Channel.