21 January 2009

on the eve of the swim

photo: Leopoldo Espinoza Vera

12.22 am

We swim tomorrow at 15.15. As ready as we can be, myself armed with more red meat in my system than I've taken in in most of my 32 years and an encouraging swim today. Scott and Cristian and I spent the day antsy together, inauguration day. The others-- Mark, Mary Anne, Patricia and Anu-- went for a penguin-colony cruise, which I sense was more stormy than they will admit.

Our swim today, brief for rest's sake, was clear and chilly-- the water here once again strikingly clear, glassy, unmercifully choppy. We stayed in 17 minutes, just long enough to warm up and stretch out, and came out without shivering. I didn't feel cold until I stepped out of my hot shower and realised the window was open. The wind on the beach was strong and constant enough that I found myself leaning back and resting on its momentum.

rainysunny punta arenas, in a colonial square. we rubbed the foot of a sailor at the base of a statue of hernando de magallanes-- supposedly a prerequisite for crossing the Strait. our photo-opp was followed by a young man and a mangy dog. the dog refusing to leave the frame, us giggling. clear skies, some snow. mad whitecaps in the Strait at the end of every streetscape.

in my mind? excitement, and some worry about my speed. I hope the zodiac stays within my sight range so that I don't need to expend energy looking up. I hope that the water is not so clear that I can see bottom-- I don't want to know that much, I don't want to see the shipwrecks lined up like a ghost-town. I don't want to swim through kelp. I want to get across. I want to get across. I don't care if I get cold near the end, but I want to get across. I want to get in and swim, now.

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