Stampede.

With the glorious southern California sun now beaming over me, I couldn’t help but once again estimate the time. While not directly above me, I figured the sun was either slightly before noon or after noon. It was hard to tell. Breaking my rules, I sneak a quick glance at the shore.  While visible, it wasn’t close. Just keep swimming, I tell myself.

I had been told that the water temperature drops significantly close to shore due to upwelling from the deep trench of the Catalina Channel. At its deepest point, the channel is over 3000 feet deep.  As I inched closer to shore, I waited anxiously for that promised drop. Nothing. The water was still comfortably warm.

I began to worry that if the sun was indeed located towards the afternoon that it meant the time was closer to 1pm, making my swim much longer than I had anticipated. During one of my feedings I ask my crew if I am doing ok. “You’re doing great, Kim. Really, you’re doing great!” Skeptical, I made the official observer, Lynn Kubasek, promise I was doing ok. “Promise?” I ask inquisitively. “Promise!” replied Lynn obligingly.

I put my head down and continue swimming. Hours seem to pass. And then seemingly out of nowhere, but like music to my ears I hear my ocean friends for the 3rd time during my swim. Excited chatter of dolphin squeaking blissfully fills my ears. “Kim, DOLPHINS!” yell my crew.  “DOLPHINS!!!!”

Not one. Not two, but HUNDREDS of dolphins leaping and splashing out of the water! I’m surrounded by my very own and very rare dolphin stampede charging along the coast. Split along each side of the boat and kayak, I try in vain to catch up with them. I’m not sure what their message was, other than hurry up and finish this thing!