Bad carnival ride.

I can’t believe I’m seasick. I’ve never been seasick before and I simply can’t believe this is happening. The feeling is awful. I sit on the back of the boat, and try to will away the seasickness. It’s 4:20am and pitch black outside. I have nothing to focus on that’s not moving. No horizon. Nothing. “I am not seasick. I am not seasick.” I repeat inside my head.

The swells are now 5-6 feet. The boat is rocking violently from side to side. This is definitely NOT as advertised. I feel like I'm on one of those really bad carnival rides, that simply won't stop. I watch helplessly as Joe is pummeled by the waves. The blue light on the back of his goggles seems to zip effortlessly through the darkness. I hear his arms slap against the water with each stroke. The lights from the boat catch the frothy white of the waves as they crash over him. Still, he powers through.  The wind has picked up and there doesn’t seem to be a consistent wave pattern. An hour passes by quickly and just when I feel as though I'm out of the woods, my mouth begins to salivate. Oh no… I’m going to be sick.

I lean over the port side of the boat and vomit. It's not a pretty sight. After a few minutes waiting for the next bout, I regain composure and feel much better. I have to stay on task; I take a quick look at my watch… Joe’s next “feeding” is due in 5 minutes. In order to help him stave off hypothermia and have the energy to swim all these miles, Joe has specified that he receive “feedings” of a carbohydrate/protein drink called Perpetuem every 30 minutes. I quickly begin to set up Joe’s feedings, adding a little hot water to a pre-mixed drink bottle. Careful not to burn him, I dip my little finger in the mixture, just like I’d check a baby’s bottle for temperature. But it’s pretty cold on the back of the boat, and I’m not entirely sure that my frozen little finger is an accurate temperature gauge. I take a sip of the drink. Its tastes awful, but it’s nice and warm. Joe will love that. To remain in compliance with English Channel swimming rules and regulations, Joe is not allowed to touch the boat during his swim, including during feedings. I add the bottle of mixture to a long pole and reach over the stern of the boat.


Kim Kirby

London, UK