Rescue and Recovery – Donuts, Hog Roast, Tarquin, Terror, new Buddies, Cheers and so much more!

This weekend saw the compulsory rescue and recovery session on the island, and never has a single event proved to be such a rich mine of blog material.

Up relatively early to find the weather had turned and our ferry was already going to get us to the island just in time. For this trip it was only 6 of the original Solent 7 as one of our number had elected to attend the alternative date. This meant that there was a spare seat, which was rapidly allocated to Flippers girlfriend. Having breached the boys only protocol that go with these trips it soon became evident that Caroline also wanted to join us, momentarily there was a danger that boy banter in the happy van might be stifled, happily that turned out not to be the case and 7 of us plus an extra foot passenger squeezed in.

Welcome new buddies

We arrived on time, just, but having to get into our wetsuits admittedly did put us a few moments behind. Changing facilities turned out to be the car park allowing Tony to continue his smugness with his changing robe. He even commandeered a full parking bay to allow him to roll around gliding into his rubber. We hotfooted it down to the meeting point for our briefing. (Which was quite brief) and then we were introduced to our new swim buddies. Swimmers were arranged into pairs based on their timed trial lengths. The result was that 2 of our group were paired together and the other 4 all got to meet a new swim buddy. So I’d like to extend a warm welcome as honorary members to Angela, Penny, Graham, Ken, and James, although I’m not sure they necessarily wanted to be associated with our group who are by far the nosiest element of the swim.

Getting wet

So having been introduced to our new buddies, we took to the water. The sea was really cold, but clearer than I have experienced so far and with much more floating seaweed. The exercises passed without incident and we all left the water feeling buoyed and more confident about the swim. The bit that surprised me the most was how easy it was for the kayakers to turn a floating body around in the water. Not that there were floating bodies but it was part of the exercise.

Above and Beyond

Sterling Effort Matt – Each and every one of our small band of merry men has invested heavily in this project. Be it in the time spent training, the ferry fares to get to the island, the kit we need for the swim or the donuts we need for nourishment and recovery. I would be reluctant to put a figure on it but suffice to say we are all in this up to our necks, literally. And that’s only right and proper because we are having a great experience that you almost couldn’t put a price on. Personally I feel really blessed to have a group of friends who are prepared to commit to this and the camaraderie, companionship, and boy banter for me are priceless. It shouldn’t be forgotten though that one of our objectives is to raise money for charities dear to each of us, so please if you are able to visit any one of our fundraiser pages please do so and make a donation. You can find our pages at:

http://www.solentswim.co.uk/swimmers and then click on our names

All of that said I must single out for special praise for going above and beyond this week one of our team. Lets call him Matt, Primarily because that is his name. I’m sure he wont mind me saying that initially he was a little concerned about taking on the swim and on the 100 lengths trial weekend he teetered about his ability to complete the distance. There was also a question about his being able (due to work commitments) to attend either of the compulsory rescue and recovery sessions being arranged by the event organisers. That it turned out was an absolute deal breaker, no rescue session no swim was the strict edict laid down by the sports centre. Matt succeeded in covering the required 2.5km within the allowed time and so set about planning how he could get to one of the recovery sessions and so began an incredible journey. Matt was committed to working on the two islands of Guernsey and Jersey for a period that covered both recovery sessions. Undaunted and out of his own pocket he arranged firstly to travel to the island (leaving at silly O’clock one morning), with all of his work equipment, then foot passenger his way back from Guernsey to Poole to enable him to join us on the Wight link ferry to complete the training and then Wight link back to Lymington and hot foot back to Southampton airport to get back to Guernsey in time for Sunday evening.

Well done Matt, mate. Sterling effort.

Tarquin moment

Give with one hand and take away with another, so having heaped praise on one of our group, lets call him Matt for obvious reasons. It is also necessary to heap well earned ridicule when deserved. I’ve mentioned earlier that Matt was anxious about the time trial 100 lengths, but what I failed to mention was that in his elation at completing it he fell foul of his very own Tarquin moment (See Tarquin goes commando), and managed to leave his brand new swimming trunks behind when we left the island. At last count these were still unrecovered and have played their part (in absentia) in his having to go wetsuit commando since then.

Cheers Tim, Cheers Simon

It has to be confessed there is a degree of “foodie-ness” among our group for various reasons. As a consequence it was decided that it would be a bit of fun as well as an opportunity to promote the swim and do some more fund raising if we were to record a “Cheers Tim, Cheers Simon” video to send to Sunday Brunch. So after our training we all piled back into the sea with a glass to raise. Like everything else today this didn’t pass off without incident, but sadly our video camerawoman was too busy getting wet herself to capture the bit were Ian, who had convinced everyone that it was a good idea and perfectly safe to climb back into the surf, then managed to fall over in the water. Cheers Tim, Cheers Simon, hopefully, coming to a Sunday morning TV near you soon.

Entertainment laid on

So all done by about 11:00 am, and with Matt needing to get back to the mainland to catch a flight we headed back to the ferry terminal. Happily we arrived in plenty of time to catch an earlier ferry and were even able to take advantage of the entertainment that the Island had laid on at the ferry terminal, including sports nutrition shaped like donuts.

Should have gone to Spec savers

Hot on the heels of last weeks case of double mistaken identity when both Caroline and I accosted the same complete stranger on the seafront at Boscombe mistaking her for one of our party came another “should have gone to Spec Savers” moment.

Picture if you will the happy van parked in the ferry queue whilst we all decamped in search of nutrition to replenish us after our rescue and recovery exercise. Picture if you will, the innocent family whose only mistake was to be on the same ferry in exactly the same type and colour of car immediately behind ours in exactly the same queue. And so boarding time approacheth and half of the team return without incident to the happy van. Finally picture if you will, the last two members of the party returning to join the car, and the faces of the poor kids in the other car as in perfect unison each of the rear passenger doors were flung open and they were faced on the one side with our very own Shrek alike and on the other side Caroline, clutching donuts and trying to get into an already full car. Their terror was only matched by the hilarity that those of us in front in the right car felt while witnessing it all in the rear view mirror.

And finally

We finally got to meet Helen, although she hadn’t brought the promised bar-b-q and bacon.

In closing I must mention the member of our team who chose to spend his birthday in the freezing waters of the Solent, happy birthday Paul hope you had a good day.IMG_0723 IMG_0728

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