18 January 2009

first swim in the Strait

first swim near tierra del fuego.

black dolphins flying against the current to the pier as we strip by the roadside. Scott, Cris and I wade into the thick purple kelp, colder than it felt last night and then we are up to our waists. tentative between the bits of rusty metal and mussels along the bottom, we stand a moment, feeling the wind. Cris and I dive at the same moment, and then we are swimming.

moments and my nose scrapes bottom. the three of us laughing, standing, walking through sandy shallows and then deeper again, calves, knees, and we are adjusting our goggles and off again to the pier, chasing the dolphins through thick kelp. Scott is yards ahead; Cris and I catch him just beyond the pier. we flame red. five minutes.

and off again, in the other direction. I panic after a brief entanglement with ruddy white-spotted kelp. it's shallow. I spot the hull of a boat, buried; a beer can, golden; crabs lurching in the waves. Cristian spys a boot, left foot.

I'm not cold, but I'm cold. suddenly we're far from shore, and flying south with the current. the water tastes less salty than last night, and is incredibly clear. Cris and I swim head to head until it begins to get shallow, as Claudia had warned us it would.

We turn and sprint into the current, a totally different light, storm light. a sudden wind breaks up the surface and my mouth is full of cold smooth ice. back to the pier, this time in strangely small but violent chop, and I pull into Cristian's draft to avoid the kelp. it is there, deep fuchsia waving like thick heads of hair along the bottom.

at the pier, I realise that I am cold- whether from exhaustion, relaxation, flight, or just the cold, cold water. the straits are calm again. we turn, swim to scott, and head in. thirty minutes-- our longest swim in 40 degrees yet. I shiver for what seems like nearly an hour. Tomorrow, we'll meet with the Armada, then attempt a full hour before meeting Anu at the airport...

1 comment:

  1. Go Scott and Mark!!! (and Cris and Rachel)

    Everyone back here at FWM is pulling (and praying) for you!!!!!

    -Dan Smith