So we did just that. Em (who is my main kayak support) and I went to Sennen for a 9am start but was delayed a little by an interview I had to do with the BBC. At least that gave me time to get some food in. It was raining but once in my wetsuit I felt snug. I felt a whole lot better and was relieved to finally leave bloody Sennen Cove.
Although we had good tide and wind, the waves were huge. So big that when they rolled through I would slide down the back of them. Progress was slow. I am still trying to get into my rhythm and my legs and arms still haven’t learned proper muscle memory yet and it’s a real struggle to keep thinking about my style. This section of the swim was always going to be hard. There was nowhere to stop ashore to rest so we pushed on. Eventually after 5 hours I had only done 7 miles and landed at the only beach we could. The tide was still good but I was knackered. It was time to call it a day. Instead of carrying the kayak all the way up the cliffs, Em and I buried it in the sand to collect in the morning. Simon, who dropped us off in the morning, and his wife Innes, also offered to come and pick us up and to our excitement offered to cook us all dinner. It was glorious. Spag-Bol and a beer. I felt a little tipsy after one bottle but it’s all good calories right? ;-)
The nights sleep that followed, was not the best. We were chucked around like jumpers in a washing machine. Boxes flying everywhere. Saucepans hitting the deck.
The next day we got up early and went and uncovered the kayak. We actually took two local buses because it felt more adventurous than taking a taxi. It was great and the bus drivers were supper chatty which was a nice change from what I’m used too. Cornish people must be some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. But the whole journey took a few hours after I hiked along a small coastal path in swimming gear.
I started again at low tide to get the most of the tide heading north. Em and I pushing along the coast while Owain ran along the cliffs above. The sea was a lot calmer and the sun even came out for the first time. It’s amazing what a bit of sun on the back of a black wetsuit does for your spirits even. I was starting to enjoy it a little even though my shoulders and legs hurt a lot.
I swam for about 4 hours but then really needed a break, as I was feeling really cold. There was nowhere to beach as it was high tide but we managed to find a small rockslide that we could get into. I hadn’t slept well on the boat the night before and both Em and I passed out in the rocks for a few hours soaking up the sun and waiting for the tide. It did just the trick. By the time I was back in the water I felt a new man. Nothing much happened for the rest of the day as I made my way to St Ives. I was planning to swim round to the yacht in the harbour but the tide swinging around the headland was too strong so had to cut my day at the beach. I’ll get this tide thing right eventually even though what it says in the Almanac isn’t always what is like right near the shore.
So the first few days are under the belt. I still have loads of things to sort out, mainly my nutrition and morning logistics if the yacht is moored too far away. We’re all (crew and myself) beginning to settle into our routine. It’s as tough as we thought it would be and sometimes a little tougher, but we are making progress. My swim is 1.6 million meters and although it’s a very small dent, I’ve still made a dent in the route.