The one thing I have going for me a little is that I grew up on the East coast of South Africa, right up near the Mozambique border on the Indian Ocean. The sea, even on a calm day, was like a washing machine and it was quite normal to go for a dip and come out with various bruises and scratches from being thrown around in the waves. Once you experience that sort of a hiding from the sea, everything else seems quite tame. So mentally I'm good to go and ready to take on some heavy waves. Thats the first battle over. There are however a few other things to consider when sea swimming. I got an email from a lovely gentleman the other week saying that he wants to swim it after me but wants to go from North to South (bad idea by the way because of headwinds) and his main reason being he can only breath to the left and wanted to be able to see land. I actually laughed out loud when I read that. I'm not a strong swimmer by any means but learning to breath on both sides is surely lesson 2 or 3 in open water swimming. Right, I had a point to this. Oh yes. Breathing on both sides. The sea can throw waves at you from all over the shop. It's likely that most of the waves will be coming from my left so I'll have to breath to my right so that I don't drink each wave. This might change at various points but it's very important to not take too much salt water into your mouth. It can cause your tongue to to swell and crack. If this happens I might have to resort to using a swimming snorkel which will make things very dull as I stare into mirky water all day. Also not looking up with each breath can cause seasickness - which I suffer from quite a lot.
Another silent killer are the tides. Some days I'll have really good positive tides which will push me along at 2mph but there will be other times when I can't swim against them at all. I'll have to plan my swim times perfectly. It's very likely I'll have to swim from 4am -10am, rest till 4pm then swim again to 10pm when the tide is in my favour again. This will change all the time but a huge pile of tide maps will tell me this. If the tides are just too strong then I will have to resort to wearing fins. I'm not a proper swimmer and if fins help me have more of an adventure then I'll use them. This after all is meant to be an adventure . . . . also Martin Strel wore them on his Amazon swim. If he used them then so can I ;-)
Another big problem is concerning my support crew. There will be times when I can swim but if it's too choppy for the kayak to follow me then I might not be able to swim. I have no answer to this. I don't want the crew to take risks that they are uncomfortable with. Watch this space.
Visibility may be an issue if there are big waves. I've especially asked Speedo for bright swim caps and will also be wearing reflective arm bands and a flashing light on my head for any night swimming I do.
Creatures of the deep. I wasn't that worried about various creatures lurking below me until all my friends started to take great pleasure in sending me photos of every shark spotted in the UK since time began. Also just today I was sent a tweet from a chap who was watching Killer Whales in Scotland. Although quite worrying, the figures work in my favour. No-one has died from a bite from an Killer Whale in the wild. Thats good news. I am however worried about jelly fish. There will be times when I can't avoid them and will have to cover up and just take the hit. I have been told that pee helps the stings but I'm sure my crew wouldn't be too keen - although maybe they'll jump at the opportunity.
Lastly going to the toilet while swimming. Peeing is not a problem, we all pee in wetsuits. There is no other option. The problem is what to do for number two? If the yacht is tacking miles from me (which it will have to do when the wind is wrong) and I am too far from shore I'll be in trouble. Diet will help me make use of everything I eat and hopefully my body will fall into a routine. This is a worry and I'm not sure I have a solution yet! Any tips would be great?
So those are the concerns I have at the moment. There is no doubt I'll think of more and will keep you posted.