Today, the sun was beating down, and the water really was a nice temperature (14.1 degrees centigrade). Swimming at one stage from the Easter Docks to Prince of Wales Pier, I remember thinking "Today is a great day to be alive!". The sea was dead calm, the sun was out and the breathing was bilateral and superb, no problems. "1,2,3 breath left". "1,2,3 breath right". "1,2,3 breath left". Right the way across the harbour. 1,150 Metres! No problems, no tumble turns like in the pool, no stops, I was in my element, in total control, not cold, the sun was out, it was beautiful!
Swimming back towards the Eastern Dock, I felt a quick pain shoot up my left arm starting at my thumb and finishing near my armpit. It worried me. "Was this a heart attack?" was my first thoughts. But I felt alright. It was probably nothing. Then I felt similar things all over various areas of my body. Little pains like which felt like running through stinger nettles or something. It was really weird but not too painful so I carried on.
At the last feed on hour 5, Cliff gave us our feed (a hot Maxim and half a banana). "Well done Hoffy" he said "only another hour". He is always full of encouragement, and he was right. All of a sudden, I was the past 5 hour mark with only an hour to go. I headed off towards the Eastern Dock. My shoulders were really painful, but all I could think about was that I was going to do my 6 hours qualifying swim, and breaking it down into small segments like I had, it didn't seem nearly as far as the previous week's 3.5 hour or 5 hour swims.
I swum the last hour, then as I looked at my watch with about 200 Metres to go, it said 5 Hrs. 58 minutes. I reached the shore and stood up at 6 Hrs. 02 Minutes and screamed "YYYeeeessss!". I had done it. I had qualified for the channel, and it was easier than the previous two weeks swims, because I had mentally prepared myself for it all week.
I walked out. I wasn't even cold or hungry. I was chuffed to bits. 19.625Km in 6 Hrs. 02 minutesand I had qualified for the channel. I walked up to Freda who congratulated me, then gave me a certificate (see below). I had no idea we would get a certificate! This was a great day.
Above: 6 Hours certificate signed by Freda, The General, to confirm that I was now qualified to swim The Channel (it's a bit smudged because I got it wet on the day in the excitement).
After a few minutes, Beccy asked me if I had seen all the Jellyfish in the harbour. "No" I replied. She told me there had been loads of them, especially to the left of where I was feeding. She said that lots of people had been stung. It was then that I realised that my "Heart attack" had been a Jelly fish sting! Well, I had experienced it all now, and it really wasn't that bad. Nothing was. This really had been a great day!