After spraining my ankle my focus shifted. The nerves and anticipation went by the wayside. Coming off crutches six days before our flight I had much work to do to focus on the basics of walking, let alone swimming. While I was happy with my training, this certainly was not the taper I had expected. I had already mentally prepared myself for the possibility of not being able to swim given that this was the wind surfing capital of Europe and the window for swimming was only one week.
Unlike my Molokai swim with 20 knot winds, a swim across the Strait of Gibraltar is not advisable over 8 knots.
At 3:45 am Monday morning, April 29th, my alarm went off and it was time to head to the airport. There we took three flights from San Francisco to Miami, Miami to Madrid and finally Madrid to Malaga. It was impossible to sleep on the flights and my ankle was throbbing. After getting our luggage and a mix-up with the rental car, we were finally on the road to Tarifa. Arriving 30 hours after our departure and barely able to keep our eyes open we met with the swim coordinator, Rafael.
“I’m thinking tomorrow,” explained Rafael as this was likely to be the only day to swim for the next seven days. We would need to be at the Port of Tarifa to meet the boat in 11 hours. I looked over at Joe and I thought he was going to fall asleep standing up. Of all the scenarios I had imagined this certainly didn’t enter my mind and was hardly optimal.
Despite the jet lag and the weariness, a wave of excitement rushed over me. As we stopped to get ice for my ankle on the way to check into our hotel, I felt strangely energized. We were going to do this! I think I slept 4 hours that night…