Wow, what an incredible week. First, huge thank you to my partner Ray and my good friend Kevin for making this past week possible. No girl should train alone in the cool waters of Great Bear. It is super nice that Kevin hosts me at Drifter’s Cove when I swim on the central coast and makes sure I have a place warm-up when done.
I started my most recent training and planning adventure with a 6 hour drive from Victoria to Port Hardy, Vancouver Island. From there we hopped on a ferry for a six hour boat ride across the Queen Charlotte Strait, through Fitz Hugh Sound, up Fisher Channel and then through Lama Pass where we finally landed in Bella Bella on Campbell Island. It was 2 am when we landed, far too late for the boat ride across the pass to Drifter’s Cove, so we nestled in for the night and awaited our pickup once the sun came up.
Our host for the week, Kevin, arrived at about 7:30, we loaded the boat with our supplies and then headed off to Shearwater for breakfast and a quick chat with some friends in town. Once done we were off to Drifter’s Cove to unload our gear and start swimming!
I spent 1 hour in 10C water on day 1 of the cold water camp. I was able to warm easily once out. The sunset on our first night was stunning.
Monday was a good day. I decided to up my time in the water. It took some time before I could jump in as it was quite clouded over in the morning. I joined the men for a bit to help plant the potato gardens then swam for 1 hour 10 minutes in 10C water. It felt good to get the garden dirt off. I think I am in the water so often I am rarely dirty!
A bit of a misty morning to start but turned out to be a fantastic day. Kevin brought us into town to meet with one of the pilots for the swim, Don Site. He is a member of the Coast Guard – I am so lucky. Before leaving I had a bit of an underwater mission that I chose to count as my swim for the day. A rope was caught in the propeller of the boat. I needed to somehow release it. I spent a good 30 minutes continuously diving under water working on it. Lots of underwater face-time!
That evening I was reminded as to where I was swimming as a humpback travelled through the pass. We heard it, but could not see it.
A bit of an unusual training day. Kevin had some work to do in Bella Bella so Ray and I were on our own. We chose to kayak to the Pacific Wild Field Station to meet with Krista Roessingh, a good friend who has been helping me with some logistics, and Jordan Wilson, a new person in my life who will be working with his business partner Phillip Baird on videoing my swim this year. It was a lovely paddle for the first bit but then we ran into some strong winds about 6km in. It came up out of know where. And then the rain… oh the rain…. We were both soaked and didn’t feel safe on the water. We made our way around the corner to the Coast Guard Station, pulled our boats up onto the dock and then called Krista and asked for a lift the rest of the way. It had cleared up by the time we left, but always better to be safe then sorry.
We had a great visit at the field station – Jordan had some great insights into the waterway. I was super excited to have met him.
Ray and I spent the next 5 hours in our wet clothing as we waited to meet up with Kevin in Shearwater. It felt just like it does when I cold water train. So for those who can’t find a lake, here’s how you do it – put on clothing that soaks up water, stand under a cold shower and then go stand outside in the wind for 5 hours.
I need a day to warm up.
On my final day in the cove I told myself that no matter what, I would stay in for 2 hours. The water was 11C – 12 if you were in the shallows – and the sun was out. It was the perfect way to end the week. Mission accomplished. I now feel ready for the swim to Namu in June.