We are now 11 days out and we've picked up another 2-3 swimmers. We've decided to try and do a practice run in the lake sometime next week - 2-3 miles, hopefully with a kayak escort.
We may need two chase boats this year. There are more swimmers who want to take part in the swim or the relay and one boat may not be enough to handle all of us. If you are interested in a description of the event - check out the old blog entries from the end of last year.
People ask us why we do this. I think it all comes down to the boat ride over to Harsen's Island from the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. We're all a little nervous, and we're trying to calm each other down. Like last year, when Greg Erne was telling Derek about the alligators in the water. Or when we told someone else that if they were too slow, we were leaving them behind. Or "you're only scared because you can't see land anymore". Reassuring comments from good friends.
You can smell the fish and the water, and the mist comes off the lake every time the bow hits the waves. As you watch the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club tower disappear, you realize we're out here a ways. The boat ride, at 25 knots takes a little over a half hour. Once we arrive at the southern end of Harsen's Island, we take 15-20 minutes to get suited up and then we take off. Some of us don't wear anything but a suit, goggles and a cap - others are covered in neoprene for flotation and have all the gear. Goggles are critical - I always use goggles and am amazed when I see people who don't. It makes swimming much more comfortable. We typically have 2-3 guys in the water at all times. We stop every now and then to get people in and out of the water. So far, I have managed to swim the whole thing both times. I expect to do the same thing year.
I want to thank all of you who have looked at the blog and who have donated either to Rickie's Medical Fund or the the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cff.org is a fabulous organization - they are annually ranked at the top of the Charity Navigator lists and is extremely well run. But for me, the proof is in the fact that Rickie daily takes multiple medicines that have been developed by Dr. Beale, the President of the organization. They are relentless in their pursuit of a cure - and we are hopeful they will make even more progress this year.