Journey to Namu: Day 1 of the swim

Pre-swim activity

It’s day four in our journey to Namu and day 1 of the swim. I woke up at about 6:30 an lay in bed thinking about what lay ahead. I like laying quietly in the morning and since I had about an hour before I had to get up I used the time to mentally prepare for the day.

20170620_075310By 7:30 MJ had breakfast  ready and the crew began waking up. I remained in bed until about 8:00. Once up, I prepared my morning smoothie, chatted with the crew about our plans and then we were off to the boat to head to Bella Bella.

Just before leaving I received a call from Harvey Humchitt. Harvey is a Heiltsuk hereditary Chief and has been working on a campaign to clean-up Namu . I was thrilled he called as I was keen to chat before I jumped in the water. I really did not want to swim to Namu with out meeting him. We chatted for about 5 minutes and talked about a potential meet-up in the future. I confirmed that I was clear to land in Lama Pass as I did not want to unintentionally step out of the water onto “sacred land.”

The start

IMG_3696_1The boat ride to a swim spot can be difficult. You are looking at your very long course before swimming it. I prefer to not. I tuned into Ziggy Marley along the way on my i-touch so I could tune out any negative thoughts.

By 10:00 AM we are at the public boat ramp in Bella Bella, the place where Jill, Dale and I landed last year. I hopped out of the boat and sat on a bit rock by the water until my crew was fully in position. At 10:30, we were on our way.

The water was bit rough so I decided to b-line it across and hide behind points as I made my way up the pass. The waterway here is beaming with life. I saw my first Moon jell fish within 2 minutes, then another, and another, and then a Lion’s Mane.

We were on the other side of the pass in just under 30 minutes – a good solid crossing! The next step was to head strait up the pass against the current and into the wind in 13C water.


It was 2 strokes forward, 1 stroke back all the way up the pass with a nice little head wind blowing 17 km/hr and gusting 26. I remember stopping in the water, looking a head and getting pelted head-on by waves a few times. To some it may look a bit nuts; to me it was a blast. I haven’t laughed so much during a swim in quite some time! I remember looking back at my amazing duo kayak crew of Ray and Colette – they appeared to be bucking bulls on the water.

We ducked into a bay for a short period while my crew ate lunched and I played peek-a-boo with a local seal. It gave me a bit of a much needed break from the waves. Matt guided me in while Colette and Ray grabbed a quick sandwich.

While there I asked if I could swim up a very intriguing looking inlet. I was told “no – there are wolves up there!” – a first for me on an open water swim.


We carried onto Drifters Cove, close to 10km from the start where I exited the water onto land. I was not cold or tired when I exited but I was aware my partner Ray was quite stressed from watching me battle the waves all morning. I had promised him I would not take any extraordinary risks during the swim so agreed to exit the water and continue the next day.


more to come …

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