Tuesday 27 May 2008

Dover 2008 week 4 - Spring bank holiday training in changeable Dover

Above: A warm and sunny but very windy Dover Harbour, Saturday May 24, 2008. 10.00am.

Day 1 - Saturday May 24, 2008

After another early start and drive from Bury St Edmunds to Dover, we arrived on 'swimmers beach' to be greeted by a very choppy harbour. It was so choppy, that the one sail boat that was in the harbour was constantly on it's side.

Two weeks earlier I was trainng with the West Suffolk Masters Swimming Club in Culford School Pool, when Dave, who was also in my lane said something about Mark Ransom swimming the channel. Now Mark Ranson used to swim for Bury in the early 1980's when I did and I had barely seen him in all the intervening years. When I looked across into the next lane, there he was! We had a good chat after training and had a conversation about the channel which it turned out, he was swimming at the end of June with the Channel Swimming Association! The end of June! It turned out that he hadn't thought about feeding and had only ever done 1 hour in the sea at Felixstowe in Suffolk. "You need to get down to Dover at 10.00am next Saturday" I said. "Speak to The General and she will sort you out". The following Saturday, he didn't turn up and I had forgotten about it until as I was undressing this week, there he was.

I introduced him to Freda, got him Vaselined up by Barry, and off we went into a very choppy harbour. Our instructions had been to do 7 lengths of the harbour and come in after 2 hours for a feed. Mark and I swum out to the Eastern Dock, crossed the harbour 4 times, then came in for a feed.

Above: Our 2 hour feed (at 2 hours 20 minutes) and Mark Ransom's first taste of Maxim.

The maxim was a large one today and very warm. It was just what the doctor ordered after a very tough swim which felt a bit like swimming in a washing machine on a spin cycle. We set off again, this time across to the Prince of Wales Pier, back and forth across the harbour and back in to complete a 3 Hr. 20 minute, 9,300 Metre swim at 13.5 Degrees Centigrade. Mark was extremely pleased. "I can't believe I've just done that" he said. "Same time tomorrow" I replied. He had gone from 1 hour to 3 hrs. 20 minutes just by being guided by people on swimmers beach.

Above: Hoffy (left) and Mark Ransom (right), fellow West Suffolk Masters Swimming Club member.

Having showered etc., Beccy and I set off on a mission to find Suva, Neil Streeter's boat which will be my support vessel for my two-way channel swim attempt in September. Having asked Alison Streeter roughly where it was, I had a very interesting conversation with a gentleman in the marina who wanted to know every detail why I wanted to see Suva. I will not go into that here as it will bore the pants off you! Suffice to say, after being lectured for the best part of 10 minutes, I went off and found it myself, smoke slowly simmering from both ears.

Above: Suva - my support vessel for the two-way channel swim attempt in September.

Above: Beccy with Suva, a place that will be her home for 30+ hours in September 2008.

Suva looked a great boat, an entirely different type of boat to Louise-Jane who was my support vessel for the channel crossing last year, as it had a large cabin, an inside area, as well as side walk ways with shelter in case of bad weather. I am now sensing the reality and the enormity of the event having seen the support boat for the first time. I am looking forward to it immensely.

Day 2 - Sunday May 25, 2008

After a hearty Sandown breakfast, it was back to the harbour on day 2, for more of the same. However, this time the harbour was like a mill pond. The sun was shining down, despite the rest of the country just to the north of us, suffering an absolutely torrential downpour. We were very lucky, it had passed us during the night. Now it was a scorcher, and I had put the wrong sun tan cream on i.e. Factor 15 non waterproof rather than factor 50 children's water resistant sun cream. Having a very sensitive skin and suffering from something called "Vitiligo" which is why my skin is very blotchy, this was not good news.

Mark and I did exactly the same swim as the previous day,except we added about another 230 Metres to our swim by swimming into the beach area and along the beach rather than straight across the harbour on 2 lengths. This made our total for the day, 3 Hrs. 20 Minutes, 9,530 Metres @ 14.5 degrees centigrade. Another good swim, even if I did get sunburnt on my shoulders for the first time ever in the harbour.

After showering etc., we dove to St Margarets' Bay where we had a beer in The Coastguard pub. From there we looked across the channel and could see France and the channel in all it's entirety. The shipping lanes were incredibly busy, as were the ferries, and it was good to just sit there and contemplate the task in hand. i.e. To swim to France and back!

Above: Beccy enjoys a beer at "The Coastguard" in St Margaret's Bay. The tankers can be seen in the shipping lanes.

Day 3 - Monday May 26, 2008

Above: Intrepid, hardened channel swimmers line up for a full cycle in the largest automatic washing machine ever invented!

If ever there was a difference in weather over three days, this weekend had it all! When we pulled up onto the beach front, I looked quite smugly at the water and thought "We're not getting in there that's for sure". How wrong I was! "Morning Freda" I said full of the joys of spring. "We're not swimming in there today are we?" I said. "Hoffy, I though you knew me" replied Freda smiling. "I do" I replied looking at her very worried. "We are swimming in there then aren't we!?" I said. She just smiled at me. I looked round and couldn't believe we were going to get in there. It was as rough as hell. Not just little choppy bits, but huge very powerful waves crashing onto the beach.

We all undressed, while Barry and Irene got dressed into even warmer and drier clothes than they already had on. They had obviously been through this before!

Above: Barry and Irene Wakelam correctly dressed for a traditional Spring Bank Holiday in England.

Above: The scene that greeted us as we arrived at swimmers beach, Dover on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 2008.

Sam Jones and me walked down to the beach, and Beccy filmed a 3 minute video of us trying to get into the water. All you can hear on it is Beccy laughing!

Above: Sam Jones and me trying to get into the water, before the start of our swim.

Above: Sam and me trying to get out of the water (it starts on the side as the camera operator was still laughing at us in the sea. It does turn the correct way round after a few seconds though).

Above: Sam Jones and me after our epic battle with Dover Harbour. We couldn't stop laughing!

Having finally got into the water, we completed a 3,220 Metre, 1 Hr. 10 minute swim @ 13.5 degrees centigrade, and I have to say it was the toughest swim I had ever done. We were tossed around all over the place, but I'll tell you what, it was great fun, and I really enjoyed it, and am glad I did it!

So all in all it was a pleasing weekend, having completed 7 Hrs. 50 Minutes in the water, and swum a total of 22,150 Metres. Back again next Saturday, only it's 9am from now on! Another hour less in bed!

Wednesday 21 May 2008

My swimming adventures just keep getting better and better!

In the early 1990's I competed in a 100 Metre backstroke race in my late 20's, and during the start (pictured above), I trapped a nerve in my neck which all but finished my swimming career. It took 18 months before a massage finally released my trapped nerve in my shoulder while on holiday in Fuertaventura. I came back for a while, but never regained my competitive edge, and finally finished swimming for the Bury St Edmunds Swimming Club at the Suffolk Championships in which the GB swimmer Karen Pickering also competed. I was 31 years old, and never in a million years did I ever think I would swim in any serious manner again.

Having decided to swim the channel in 2006, the rest is history, except for one extraordinary thing which has happened in the past couple of weeks. "What could that be?" I hear you ask. Well, it's simple. I had a conversation with 'King of the English Channel', Kevin Murphy. "So what!" you might say. Well, this is what happened.

Having completed my Channel Swim in July 2007, it was a conversation with Kevin that put the idea of a 2 way channel swim in my head (I have to say that I didn't need much persuading, just the idea was enough!). Then, following another conversation with him in April 2008, where I asked him what other swims I could do this year, he suggested that a Jersey to France swim was a good idea. Then, following an e-mail to the channel swimmers group about a swim in Serbia in July, I tentatively enquired to the e-mail address we were given what it was all about. This is what I found out that it was:-

Yes, it was a FINA World Cup Grand Prix event. Not a masters event, but an actual World Cup Grand Prix! Being a Formula 1 fan, I had immediate visions of me in a 125cc Go-Kart, sat at the back of the grid at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikonen (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Mclaren) at the front, and me in the go-kart at the back! That's what I pictured in my mind. I was not far out. Investigating further, I found out that last year's winner, was none other than English Channel World Record Holder, Petar Stoychev, followed by some other very good and serious swimmers. All of them, possible medal contenders at this years Beijing Olympic Games. I am 45 years old, and most of these swimmers will be 15+ years younger than me. There was no way I would be accepted.

Going through the quite long process of form filling, liaising with Joanna at the ASA, Vojislav Mijic in Serbia, airlines etc., I am delighted and astonished to say, that I am now competing in this event! I honestly can't believe it.

The swim is a 19KM river swim in the River Sava in Sabac, Serbia. It will be a fantastic thing just to compete in this event, and is something I would never have even imagined let alone thought possible 2 years ago. It just goes to show, you should never say never!

It will be fantastic preparation for my Jersey to France and Two Way channel swims. I will report back after the swim in July.

Monday 19 May 2008

Dover 2008 week 3 - A weekend of two halfs

Above: Great to be back in Dover for week 3 of the season. On the beach, undressing for the first dip of the weekend.

Day 1 - Saturday May 17, 2008

Having got over all of the previous weekend's traumas and mental difficulties, it was good to be back in Dover and in familiar territory, i.e. the same as last year in May, grey skies, drizzle and The General sitting under a canopy only slightly protected from the rain. "Morning Freda" I said. "Morning Hoffy" she replied, and I gave her a hug. All was well and back to normal.

We all assembled, got undressed, Barry Vaselined our armpits, and we waited for instructions from The General. I fully expected to be punished for last weeks antics, but Freda said "3KM today". After getting to the bottom of things, we found out that she meant 3 lengths of the 1,100 Metres harbour. This meant, and 830 Metre swim out to The Eastern Dock, 3 x 1,100 Metres lengths, and a 520 Metre swim in from the Prince of Wales Pier, back to swimmers beach. So this was in fact a 4,650 Metre swim.

This week, I went through my usual routine of getting into the water, i.e. Step in, bend over, rub the cold water all over my body, shudder a few times as I do so, then rub it on my back before finally slipping into the icy cold water. It works for me. Others who are far more macho than me, run down the beach and dive straight in. I can't do that, and following a long conversation on Friday with Wendy Coles, fellow CS&PF committee member and someone who works at the British Swimming headquarters at Loughborough, I am told that the way I do it is better for your heart. I'm glad I'm doing something right. Thank you for the information Wendy. Even getting in like this is never easy, but I got in and started to swim out past the red marker, and on towards the 830 Metre swim to the Eastern Dock.

It was cold as usual, my watch bottomed out at 12.4 Degrees Centigrade, but there was one major difference to last week, there was no warm patches. Personally I find this better as you are just acclimatising to one temperature. i.e. Cold. Not warm patch, cold patch, warm patch, cold patch etc. I find this far better.

Heading across the harbour from the Eastern Dock to the Prince of Wales Pier, I noticed lots of yellow sails in the distance and kept my eye on them. Having turned at the Prince of Wales Pier, I headed back and found myself right in the middle of about 5 small sail boats, being sailed by children who looked no more that about 10 years old. At one stage I was totally surrounded and made eye contact with one of the boys. To the right a power boat with what I assume was an instructor on board, was keeping a careful eye on everything.

After 1.5 hours, I landed back on swimmers beach, stepped out of the water and walked up the beach, satisfied, and pleased with myself. What a difference a week makes!

Above: Dodging sailing boats and swimmers in Dover Harbour on Saturday May 17, 2008.

After the swim, we went to Hubert House for a coffee. It's always good to chat to other swimmers after the morning's swim and exchange stories, and listen to advice, and this is where it happens. Beccy and I had a good chat with Kevin Murphy, 'King of the English Channel', and Freda Streeter, 'The Channel General' in Hubert House. Swimmers take note for next week! The last thing The General said to me smiling as we left was "It's not going to be so easy tomorrow Hoffy!". I didn't for one moment imagine that it was.

Day 2 - Sunday May 18, 2008

What a difference a day makes! Arriving at 'Swimmers Beach' after one of Martin at 'The Sandown's' legendary fried breakfasts, I looked at the sea and it was as rough as hell! However, the sun was out. You can't have it all I suppose.

Above: Rob Telford (right) and myself listen to instructions before Sunday's swim.

Our instructions from The General was 5 lengths of the harbour, but with a maximum time of 1 Hr. 40 minutes for everyone except me. I had a maximum of 1 Hr. 50 Minutes as I am attempting a two-way channel swim. This made total sense after our conversations during the week. Walking down to the sea shore, I prepared to do battle with the sea.

Above: Ducking and diving before attempting entry to Dover Harbour's fierce sea on Sunday May 18, 2008.

I decided to try and be one of the first in today. I mentally prepared to do battle and was about the third to brave the incredibly choppy waters. God it was rough! Unless you are in there you cannot really see or feel it from the pictures, but when you are at eye level with the sea, it is very difficult to swim in, and all you are really doing is battling to get from one side of the harbour to the other and back again etc. Today was one of those days.

Beccy took a couple of videos, one showing the general conditions in the harbour, the other showing me just really battling the conditions.

Above: The conditions in the harbour can be clearly seen by the above panorama video of Dover Harbour taken by Beccy Hopfensperger on Sunday May 19, 2008.

Above: A strange looking swimmer being battered by the waves in Dover Harbour. (Strange technique I know but you try swimming in such choppy water!).

I was cold again today, but my mental attitude was 100% different to the previous week, and I sung songs, shouted under water, crashed into two people and mentally withstood everything the harbour threw at me. Not only did it not beat me, I did an extra 10 minutes and came in at two hours to be greeted by Rob Telford who ran down the beach to tell me I had done 10 minutes more than asked. Was I cold? Yes. Was it rough? You bet. But I think the difference between last week and this week, apart from the constant temperature, was my mental attitude. Alison Streeter said to me last year that getting across the channel is 80% mental and 20% physical. From experience, I 100% agree with that.

Barry Wakelam threw my Crocs at me as I got out. I'm not sure what I was doing to the one below, but I eventually got them on after being thrown about by the waves.

Above: Answers on a postcard please! (I think I was just trying to balance to get my Crocs on)

Above: ...Yes, that's what it was! Getting your Crocs on and getting out of the water after a 2 hour swim is no mean feat!

The total time in the harbour for the weekend was 3.5 hours and the distance was 10,250 Metres. A bit down on last week, but mentally pleasing nonetheless.

Next week is a bank holiday. This means 3 days in the harbour. See you all there for more of the same, plus quite a bit more I am reliably informed!

Monday 12 May 2008

Dover 2008 week 2 - A boiling hot freezing cold weekend in the harbour

Above: "The Red Hats" getting into the Harbour for swim No. 1 of 2 on Saturday May 10, 2008.

Day 1 - Saturday May 10, 2008

Getting up at 5.30am on Saturday morning, I was quite looking forward to spending two days training in Dover Harbour, especially as we were only able to stop for the first day the previous week. For the entire 145 mile drive down, the sun was out and it was very hot, even at 7.00am in the morning.

Arriving at Dover, I was given a red hat (this means you are a solo swimmer as opposed to yellow hats for relay swimmers) by 'The General'. The first swim was across to the Prince of Wales Pier (520 Metres) across the harbour (1,100 Metres) and back again following the same route, a total swim of 3,240 Metres.

I had a quick conversation with Chris Pountney (above) before setting off on what was to be a 55 minute timed swim. During the swim, I felt quite cold. My watch measured 13.6 Degrees Centigrade, which based on the information received the previous week from The General, meant it was about 12.6 Degrees. The queen of the Channel, Alison Streeter, said I should knock 2 degrees off making it 11.6 Degrees. It certainly felt about 11 degrees. It was really quite cold.

As we swam ashore, we gave our times out to the 'shingle stompers', got dressed and waited in the warm sun until the next swim at 12.15pm.

At about 12.10pm, The General gave the instructions that the next swim was to be three times across the harbour. i.e. 520 Metres to the Prince of Wales Pier, 3 x 1,100 Metres back and forth across the harbour, then the 830 Metre swim from the Eastern Dock, back to swimmers beach. Getting back in for the second time is always difficult, and this time was no exception. I got in and started to swim.

Beccy was up on the Prince of Wales Pier taking aerial photos (see below). When I arrived there the first time, I didn't stop, I just turned round and kept swimming because I was getting cold. The really weird thing was the warm patches in the harbour. When it was warm, it was really nice, but when you swum into a cold patch, it nearly cut you in half. It was such a shock to the system.

I swum across to the Eastern Dock, back to the Prince of Wales Pier, then headed back to the Eastern Dock. Half way across, I was really cold. I started to think about not finishing, but began shouting really loud under water "Come on! Keep Going" I shouted. When I finally got to about 100 Metres from the Eastern Dock, I bumped into Rob Telford who said "That will do, we're nearly there". I was so cold that all I could shout was "I AM F$#%ING FREEZING!!!". I reached the dock wall, turned around, looked up and Rob was nowhere to be seen. In fact, I was out there totally on my own. I couldn't see anyone else. I headed back the last 830 Metres and eventually came in to shore feeling really cold. It had been a 1.5 hour, 4,650 Metre swim at 12.6 degrees centigrade. That made it 7,890 Metres for the day.

When I got out, Chris Pountney was there still shivering from his swim, which I think he said was a 45 minute swim. So he had been out of the water for 45 minutes and was still shivering. I got dressed and put my skiing hat, winter coat, and lots of clothes on, and sat on the beach shivering. I heard a girl walking along the pier say "Look at him. He's shivering!". As she walked past. she was wearing full summer clothes, i.e. Not alot! "Are you cold or suffin' mate?" she laughed. "Yes, I am" I replied. "I've just been in the sea for 1.5 hours". She looked at me puzzled and walked off. Funny sport we participate in isn't it?

Day 2 - Sunday May 11, 2008

Arriving on the beach for day two, I wondered what was in store for us today? It was a beautiful sunny day again, very hot, and the sea looked very inviting. All the "Red Hats" were given a 5,440 Metre swim. i.e. Out to the Prince of Wales Pier, back and forth 4 times, then back in again. Simple right? Wrong, it was bloody freezing in there!

As soon as I got in I felt colder than yesterday. The watch bottomed out at 13.1 Degrees Centigrade, which meant 12.1 Degrees Centigrade. 0.5 Degrees colder than the day before. When I arrived at the Prince of Wales pier for the second time, I was really cold. I was so cold, that I was nearly crying. Honestly, I was nearly crying. I looked up at Beccy who was on the pier taking photos. "I'm really cold" I said, hoping she would say "Are you? Ahhh. You can get out then". But she didn't. My goggles were blurred, I couldn't hear anything because of my ear plugs and she just waved at me. I turned round and headed back across towards the Eastern Dock.

When I got there, I was in a bad state. Emotionally I was a wreck. I had never before experienced my body being this cold. I could feel it coming through my back, and it felt as though my entire skeleton was now starting to freeze. I panicked slightly, and thought that Hypothermia was setting in. I was way over by the eastern dock, with still a full width to do, and then back to the beach. Would I make it? I really and honestly didn't know. I was shivering in the water, and started to head back across. I hit a warm patch, it was wonderful, then a cold patch that shook me rigid and I shouted under water again. I swam closer to the beach, about 100 Metres out, and I felt a bit better. I was not going to let this beat me. I was going to do as 'The General' had instructed, and was not going to let her, or myself down. I dodged the rowing boats that were out there practising, and made it across to the Prince of Wales Pier. It was now back to the beach. I swam along the shore and got back at 1 Hr. 45 Minutes.

When I got there, Barry Wakelam and Louise were there waiting, along with Beccy and a towel. I could barely stand up. It was all I could do to get my balance, I was so cold and tired. However, as soon as I got out, and got the warm sun on me, It was bliss, even though I was still shivering.

I went and told The General my story and she didn't believe a word of it! I told her how cold I was, how tired I was. Did she care? Nope! She said we were doing one last swim in about 1/2 hours time. "I'm not swimming again!" came the bold reply. "Yes, you are" she replied. "It will only be a sprint across the harbour". Nicola Millichip and Sam Jones were sitting there, to watch a debate ensue, during which time I received three bollockings! Yup, 3!

I sloped off into the corner, took the picture below, and while the General was talking to Megan, I ran! Yes, I ran to the car and drove back to Bury St Edmunds.

Later that night, I received another bollocking via e-mail. Today I telephoned The General, and we had a good chat (after another bollocking).

Freda, I love you, and promise to do everything you say in future to ensure I complete my two-way! I'm off training tonight with the West Suffolk Masters squad, as this is what Freda told me to do now i.e. Sprint work in the pool during the week, and the long distance stuff at the weekends. I will do as I am told, because as she said this morning on the phone, only 4 English people have swum a two-way English Channel. Freda has trained three of them.

That record speaks for itself. Who am I to disagree?

Saturday 3 May 2008

Back in Dover for the start of a new season and a swim with a seal...

Above: Back at Swimmers Beach, Dover for the first time since November 2007, chatting to Samantha Jones. 'The General' was in her usual spot organising the 70+ swimmers.

Saturday May 03, 2008 was the first day of the new season, and setting the alarm for 6am we headed off to Dover arriving at 09.15am to be greeted by a beautiful sunny day, and a dead clam Dover Harbour. It was great to be back again!

After catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, I suddenly heard the sound of "Seal, Seal!". I grabbed my camera, and rushing up the beach with about 70 other swimmers, I managed to see a little head poking out of the water behind the "Swimmers Beach" groyne. It looked just like our Labrador, Casper in the water. I'm sure I saw a little red collar on it, and others confirmed that they saw it too. I rushed over the groyne, and managed to get the photo below, before he swam almost the full length of the harbour and disappeared. I had never seen a seal in the harbour before. In fact I had never seen any wildlife so I am not sure why it was there, but it was good to see.

Above: The baby seal who appeared next to "Swimmers Beach" Dover on Saturday May 03, 2008.

Above: With 2006 English Channel Swimmer, Nicola Millichip, prior to our first dip in the harbour.

Barry "The Shingle Stomper" Wakelam, was there as always with his rubber glove and jar of Vaseline (for non open water swimmers, it's purely for under the armpits to stop chaffing!). "Have you been home since last summer?" I asked him. "No" he replied laughing. It was good to see everyone again.

Above: Getting my armpits greased up prior to the first swim of the day.

SWIM 1 - 10.00 Hrs. Prince of Wales Pier and back, plus a bit more...

Above: Entering the icy channel with Nicola Millichip for the first of two swims of the day.

Having not been in the sea since my ill fated attempt on April 05, 2008 in Felixstowe, I bent over and rubbed the cold water over my body to acclimatise while Nicola daintily walked in beside me. It felt really cold. Especially after having been in an indoor swimming pool all of the last month. Eventually, I took the plunge and set off. I put my face in the water and within 30 seconds, "ICE CREAM HEADACHE!". Damn, this was really annoying me. My last three swims in cold water I had suffered an Ice cream headache. I was determined to beat it, and beat it I did. By the time I had reached half way to the Prince of Wales pier (about 250 Metres) I was swimming normally with my face in the water and not feeling any side effects.

On the way back from the pier, I really got into a good rhythm, with bi-lateral breathing all the way back. With about 300 Metres to go, I really sprinted back to the beach, knowing that this was all we were doing until the next swim at 12.00pm. Swimming through the traffic (there was 70+ swimmers in the water) I reached the beach in 18 minutes, and we were told to swim back to the second groyne and back again (about 400 Metres total). We did this, then came ashore after another 7 minute swim.

I felt pleased with myself, but I was amazed at the temperature reading on my watch. It said that the water was 12.4 degrees centigrade. It certainly felt colder than that, but then again, in a funny way it didn't. Getting out of the water, I wasn't cold, and all I could think of was what a difference a year makes. This time last year, it was a cold, grey day. Today was just beautiful.

Above: Arriving back at swimmers beach after our first 1,400 Metre swim of the Dover season.

SWIM 2 - 12.00 Hrs. Eastern Dock and back.

Above: Me with "King of the English Channel", Kevin Murphy prior to swim number two.

Remembering how difficult it was last year to get back in the harbour for the second swim, I was pleasantly surprised to just walk down and dive straight in this year. It was probably because I was one of the last ones to get in, and whilst having a conversation with Cliff Golding about sponsorship, I got a bollocking from The General! Yes, that's got to be the first one of the season surely!?

Swimming across to the Eastern Pier was great. The water was calm, and I didn't feel too cold. I even composed a little song (not one of my classics, like "Alison" or "Dreaming of you" of course) but it went something like "Ice cream Head please go away, go away, go away. Ice cream head please go away, away from Dover harbour!" to the tune of "Here we go round the mulberry bush"! You had to be there really, but that's the sort of thing you do in your mind when you're swimming in the channel I think! (Does anyone else do that? I don't know?!).

Coming ashore, I didn't want to get out! I felt quite happy in there and wanted to do a bit more. Of course trying to get out is notoriously difficult and it's a bit of a wrestling match with your Crocs, the stones and the waves, even though today they were barely non existent.

Above: Little Hoffy and Bex, enjoying the sun on a beautiful day in Dover.

Above: Rob Telford and Ultimate Triathlete Chris Pountney who enjoyed the swim.

After the swim, we went to our favourite restaurant in Dover, Cullins Yard, who are the Title Sponsors of my two way channel swim, and had a nice meal, before setting off to Varne Ridge to make sure our caravan was booked correctly for the week of my swim.

Above: Little Hoffy and Bex enjoy a nice meal at Cullins Yard, The place to eat in Dover (in our opinion).

So it had been a good day covering about 3KM at 12.4 degrees centigrade. We are now looking forward to coming back next weekend.