Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We made it!!!

First, to all of you who supported us, sponsored us, captained our boats, swam with us - we thank you.  In today's crazy, self-centered world it is refreshing to see the commitment of folks getting together to support a cause. And it is even more exciting to be a part of that effort.

Our destination is barely visible directly behind the boat...
On our way to the yacht club, at 6:45am, the sky was gorgeous - the sun was a brilliant red and the reflections on the light clouds looked spectacular.  The old sailing quote came to mind, "red sky in morn, sailor's take warn, red sky at night, sailor's delight", but it didn't seem to hold true today - the weather was perfect. There was almost no wind, the temperatures were ideal and we never spotted on insect of any type. Conditions were ideal.

We left the dock at a few minutes after 8am with 2 boats, 15 swimmers and one inflatable Zodiak. We arrived at Gull Island at 8:25 and were in the water at 8:37. We started on the east side of Gull Island this time, which partly explains the fast time.  We caught the old channel current for a mile or so, then turned west to aim at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. The winds that we expected from our previous 6 swims never materialized.  It was nicely wind free...

With two boats this year it was easier - if you were tired, you had a couple of choices - though one boat typically stayed with the faster swimmers, and the other with the rest of us...

Typically, a swimmer will start out and do as much as he/she can, then get out and rest for a half an hour to an hour, depending on the swimmer.  Swim another couple of miles or so, and repeat. It would stay like this until the end.  The final mile or so is the hardest, even though it is so close to the finish.  A slight westerly wind had kicked up, we were tired, and you have the frustration of seeing the tower at the Yacht Club appear close, but then not get larger until the very end, when it seems to suddenly loom over you...  The faster swimmers finished at about 3pm off the pier at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. We met immediately afterwards at Brownie's on the River for our celebratory meal.  Great day - in total we swam just under 100 miles.

Our rookies this year were Casey Browning, who swam the entire course, Watty Bernard, who swam 95% of the course, the last 10% of it with leg cramps; and finally, Vince Brennan - who stepped up and not only swam, but also captained the second chase boat.

More later - pictures to follow. Look for us on Facebook...

By the way, if Paypal is not your thing - you are not alone...  Several people have asked for an address for donations.

Ric Geyer
105 Swanton Hill Ct.
Decatur, Georgia  30030

I moved down here 2 years ago, to follow Rickie, who moved down here with his mother.  Both Rickie and I miss Detroit (and Grosse Pointe) and get back a couple of times each year.  The news from the private sector in Detroit is fabulous - even if the political news is less than stellar...

All the best


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

6 more days - almost there...

OK. It's Tuesday evening.  We are now down to 6 days before we go...  It looks like we're up to two boats and 13+ swimmers?  These are both records - this thing continues to grow.  Every year, we get a couple of new folks, and mostly people just keep coming back. This really is a great day - one of those "pause and reflect" days.  A time to remember each successive year - what you were doing the year before, etc. A milestone of sorts for each of the swimmers. 

Here's our schedule. At 7am (or so) we arrive at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC), who have been our gracious hosts for 6 years in a row now.  Special thanks to Fred Mihalik, the pool facility manager and a renowned swim coach.  He has always been there to help us,m and we appreciate it.  We're generally in the boat by 7:30, and headed to Harsen's Island. The feeling of the boat at speed, smell of the water, the excitement of the swim and just having a chance to meet up with everyone again makes this one of my favorite parts of the whole day.

We're in the water by about 8am.  B
y about 8:30 we're between the South Channel lighthouses and heading for the open bay.  At this point you can begin to make out the tower at Nine Mile Road. This the tower that will look exactly the same size after swimming for 4 more hours - at times it is maddening...

And so it goes - for 8 hours... It isn't as hard as you might think - although when the waves are coming directly at you, it gets old pretty quickly. It is just a grind it out kind of day, but it is invigorating and a day I look forward to every year.  

FINALLY, somewhere around 4:00 or so we are nearing the shore. When you are beginning to get close, it is tantalizing - it looks as if you could sprint the rest of the way, until you realize there is still a mile and half to go... But toward 5pm, we see the following site from the water - the Tower at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

And then its off to Brownie's on the River for drinks and dinner, and a place to sit down and relax.