Looking back, now, it was such a huge achievement for us all, but by then we were so focused and just got it done. 6 hours swimming is about 18k for me - (about 40 k for my mentor Dave, who is far too fast and I will write more about over the next weeks.) That is by anyone's standards a long swim. It was a step into the unknown for me, but my body coped well and it has given me huge confidence.
There was one more hurdle for us and it came in an unexpected form. The following day kicked off with a trip on the ribs to a new cove for a 2 hour recovery swim (yeah, right, "recovery" swim? Recovery is about sleeping in and shovelling loads of grub down me while I read a book). Off the boat we got and into the water. I remember feeling so strong and euphoric as I ploughed through the water. Then it happened: I felt like I'd been whipped across the face. I was confused thinking that I had swum into metal wire or something similar. Being light on self preservation I continued and nearly jumped out of the water as something electrocuted my thigh. As I write I still have a large angry mark from that, almost two weeks later on. We had swum into a swarm of jellyfish. Now check this out for clever thinking, we all turned back to the boat, finished our circuit and the swam another circuit and, guess what, got stung again. Brilliant!
That was enough to get 14 of the 16 of us back on the boat and I was happy to stay. But it was "King of the Channel" Kevin Murphy who pricked my conscience and suggested that swimming near jellyfish was good training for swimming the Channel. I am a very simple, quite stupid person - indeed someone who would probably by out-intellectualised by the said jellyfish, so I accepted this piece of advice and got back in and began to swim. That swim became one of the most tense hours of my life. If there had been an underwater tobacconist I would have popped in for 20 B&H. My ensuing hyper vigilance meant that I escaped any more stings but I have now broken my jelly fish virginity. Hmmm, I mean getting stung by one and not having carnal knowledge of them.
But you have to hand it to jellyfish, they really know how to freak out their target market. I know they can't speak or do very much for themselves, but to an over active imagination like mine they are like alien life forces that glide through the ocean zapping unsuspecting humans. I can't help thinking that they know exactly what they are doing and even have a whole design team behind them that make them look sinister and silent. They must be pissing themselves laughing at the effect they have on us back in Jellyfish Towers.