Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 - The Year of the Waterspouts?

OK -
2011 was the year of the flies (and the 103 temperatures).
2102 was the year we got pounded all day by 3-4 waves.
2013 was relatively calm - nice weather - great group - great time. 
2014?? Let's hope we don't have another one of these - here is the waterspout sighted on Lake St Clair on July 3rd.

So, as of right now, we have 14 swimmers, one boat, two jet skis and a kayak...  We are certain another boat will materialize - which is good, because we need one to get everyone to the drop off point and cannot take 14 people on our current boat.

We have commitments from all of our original 2008 group - and the majority of folks who have joined us since.  This year will start off the same as before - hopefully we'll carry the current south near the mouth of the freighter channel - last year we covered the first mile in less than 15 minutes - aided by a solid current coming out of the north channel headed for the Detroit River in the south.  This is great for a couple of miles, but then we turn and cross the fat part of the lake - and if the winds are as they normally are, they are coming directly at us from the southwest.  This anomaly cuses 2-3 foot choppy waves that are hard to time, with the result that we get pounded for almost the entire 8 hours.  Generally, everything dies down around noon, and we get some break from the wind and the waves, but generally, it feels like we're working against Mother Nature the entire time.

The 9 Mile Tower is out beacon for much of the swim - we can spot it right at the start, but yo can't see it from the water for another couple of hours.  Then when you do spot it, you can swim directly at it for 2-3 hours, and when you look up again, it looks as if it has not changed in size.  It is a huge character builder...

But when I think about what we're doing out here, the trip gets a little easier. Rickie is such a trooper - he cranks that vest up every morning and every evening for 30 minutes - plus he does his nebulizer breathing treatments twice a day as well.  I was trying to imagine how it must be to be in his shoes - 12 was tough enough for me with out having to put up with CF at the same time.  But he does a great job - sometimes I wish I could do it for him - it doesn't seem fair - and then I remember the "life isn't fair speech" that I have given him so many times.  Still you wonder exactly how this "gift" will work out for him.  How will it change his life?  How will it affect his quality of life?  Someone once said that she was "glad it was Rickie" when she was told he had cf.  She went on to say that her son would "never be able to handle it", and that Rickie "was the only kid" she knew "who had the bearing and the strength to put his shoulder down and pound through it."  It was actually a wonderful, if not bittersweet compliment.

Still, I wonder how I could have been carrying this thing tucked inside my DNA without ever knowing it. Let's hope we can leverage our health information so at least we'll know the risks we face.

Looking forward to another wonderful morning crossing - the boat ride across the lake to the drop off point at Harsen's Island before the swim is exhilarating.  It is unique for me - I don't have this feeling at any other time of the year - except the morning of the swim, sitting up front in the bow- watching the water and the waves, and thinking about what is to come.

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