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Cook Strait – Getting Prepared

February 17, 2010

Two weeks to go and Cook Strait is right around the corner.  In fact I think it is a Ferrari that is trying to break the land speed record.  I can’t believe that there are only two weeks before I’m on a plane to New Zealand.  While I sit here shaking my head dumbfounded wondering where the time went, I realize that I’m ready for the next swimming adventure and the start of my 2010 swim season.

This adventure will be a little different.  Perhaps you remember me talking about Steve “Mr. C” Junk from the Lake Taupo Relay challenge.  Over the past year, he has become a great swimming friend.  Our relationship is based on a shared love of sarcasm, quick wit (mostly his) and water.  He has always wanted to swim Cook Strait, so we thought why don’t we take the opportunity to swim it together.  Now some believe that this would be considered an assisted swim, but I don’t believe that is the case.  Steve and I will be swimming in the same body of water at the same time, but we have to cut our own water and we will each experience our own challenges.  What will help is having someone there to wait tensely for the weather to cooperate and then to have a great celebration at the end of the swim. 

In addition to having Steve there in New Zealand, two of my most dear friends are coming down as well.  I know that they will be there to either see us off at the start of the swim or they will be there at the finish.  Either way it will be great to have friendly faces from Oregon there cheering us on.

Now for the facts of the swim:

Cook Strait is considered the English Channel of New Zealand or maybe the English Channel is the Cook Strait of England.  Either way it is another channel to swim with it’s own challenges.  It is 16 nautical miles, which equates to about 18.5 miles.  The wind and currents are supposed to be highly unpredictable, and the water temp can range from 12 – 17 degrees within a few hours as Steve likes to point out.  I get the impression that Steve likes to check the water temp, I prefer the blissful ignorance until I get there.  As for marine life, there are jellyfish, which I had a great introduction to while swimming in Monterey Bay.  Then there are the big fish with the big teeth.  One is 6 swims sees one of these fish.  I’m hoping to be one of the other 5.  Then if we happen to be one of the lucky swims, I hope that they are more interested in Steve 🙂 as I think he could totally take the big fish.  On the Cook Strait website there is the helpful FAQ page.  I think my favorite question and answer is as follows: “What is the most difficult part of the swim?”  Answer: “Getting across Cook Strait and finishing”  Yep well that would be difficult.  Thus far only 74 swims by 64 swimmers from 8 countries have made the crossing successfully.  I would say that these numbers do point to the fact that “getting across and finishing” is very challenging. 

I’m not exactly sure if or how I will post updates of the swim, if the weather cooperates, as my usual crew will not be joining me on this trip.  They have some of their own amazing adventures planned this year and you can bet I’ll be cheering them on as they have helped me.  However, IF I find a way to update this site or twitter or some other technology that I’ll have to learn, I’ll definitely keep everyone posted.

Now I suppose I should get down to the business of PACKING! Yikes.   


One Response to “Cook Strait – Getting Prepared”

  1. Judi Hall says:

    Michelle, it is so exciting to talk to you about your experiences and your next swim. I wish you all of the best! Stay away from those BIG fish! "Your foreign currency connection", Judi 

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