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  #1  
Old 03-25-2010
DavidBarra DavidBarra is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York's Mid Hudson Valley
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DavidBarra
Default Maui Channel Swim 3/21/10

On the morning of March 21st, Terry Laughlin, Willie Miller, and I (+ a crew of 5), set out to swim between Lanai and Maui.

What a day it was!
Clare and I slept with the patio door open last night and the sound of the crashing waves made me a bit nervous. There had been swimming restrictions at the beach and a small craft advisory... the forecast wasn't promising.

I woke at 6 AM and looked out to the beach. The surf wasn't as big as it sounded, and the water looked inviting.

We ordered a cab and met up with our boat and pilot; Daryl from Sea escape boat rentals right at 7:30. Daryl has escorted several relay teams for the Maui channel race in the past and was quite familiar with the course.

We encountered at least seven groups of humpback whales on the way to Lanaii, usually two or three at a time...... mom; baby; au pair? We stopped often to watch them frolic and breach.

The wind hit hard mid channel and it got quite bumpy for the second half of our ride to Lanaii. When we were about 50 yards from shore, Daryl pointed us to the safest path through the reef to the beach next to the pier at Club Lanai. The water was murky and it was hard to see the reef only a foot or so below my hand. The approach to the beach had a muddy bottom.

We stood on the beach at the ready for our start.... the whistle blows.... Willie and I stand there and watch a humpback breach behind the boat, then swim out to catch up to Terry. It takes about 5 minutes to get out of the murky water and into the clear blue... deep blue... solid blue... the kind of blue that draws you in. This would be our visual universe for nearly the next 5 hours interrupted neither by flora nor fauna.

We settled early on into a comfortable formation; Willie on the right of the boat, Terry in the middle and me on his right. There was no discussion beforehand regarding our positions, but this felt good. I fell into a pattern of breathing every 4 strokes on my left. Usually, I breathe more frequently, but my neck was pretty stiff... this felt good. The swells were large, but we held our relative positions and made steady progress. Our feed plan was: every 45 minutes we would feed together. I will feed at 20 minute intervals for solo and longer swims, but with the three of us all needing to stick together, this seemed like a decent compromise. My feed was: 10 oz. Lemon/Ginger Tea (to keep my stomach) mixed with 1 scoop First Endurance EFS (grape flavored, 96 calories), and 2 oz. water. The resulting concoction tasted like a purple Flintstone vitimin.... not bad. I was able to chug my mix faster than T and W and had to wait a few moments until we were able to start up, in formation, again.

I noticed the whole boat crew wander off to the far side a few times and knew that were probably watching whales again... I hoped we would see some during our swim, but that never happened.

Two thirds of the way back, the wind died down and so did the bumps. Maui was providing shelter from the head wind... it was nice being able to feel smooth in the flatter water. We finished near Blackrock on Maui 4 hours and 55 minutes from our start.... 9.75 miles as the crow flies (do crows swim?).

On the way back to Lahina harbor, we came upon a huge school of spinner dolphins, jumping, spinning, somersaulting all around the boat... this place is magical... if only the water was 10 degrees colder, I'd call it heaven.

After a shower, lunch, and a nap, we walked to the beach to watch the sunset.... more whales breaching a couple of hundred yards off shore.... unbelievable!

Huge thanks to our support crew, Clare, Alice, Fiona, and Yevette.

I will certainly be adding Hawaii to my migration route.
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2010
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
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Location: Ewa Beach or Kona Hawaii
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ewa.swimmer
Default Anybody Else?

I'm glad you guys made it. I was worried that it might not happen with the swells we had the day before. Sorry, about the whales, maybe next time. One island crossing down, many more to pick from now.

Anybody else out there who is interested in creating a TI relay team to do the Maui Channel Swim?

Here is the website: www.mauichannelswim.com

Let me know.
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2010
davidblim davidblim is offline
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davidblim
Default

Yes, I'm interested in being a member of a Maui Channel TI Relay Team.
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2010
just jules just jules is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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just jules
Default questions about the Maui Channel Swim

Wow, that sounds like an amazing swim! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful description.

I'm interested in the Relay Swim (probably not this year, but who knows? it's free to dream, right?), but have several questions, since I'm fairly new to TI and haven't done any open water swimming - yet. But the idea of doing a 1/2 hour swim and then 10-minute swims until the team finishes seems like it might be in reach for me, if a team wouldn't mind including a 48-year-old woman with MS.

Here are some questions that come to my mind:

1. At present (with about 3 months of self-teaching in TI freestyle and virtually no kick at this point), I can swim about 3/4 of a mile in half an hour at my local pool. (The water temperature is 87 degrees.) Would this possibly translate to a reasonable contribution to a relay team's effort?
2. My leg strength is compromised by the MS. Could people help me in and out of the boat during the relay?
3. Do you have to be a Masters swim team member to be eligible to participate?
4. What kind of practices would be recommended to prepare for this?

Thanks so much! I'm glad to have heard about this open water swim. I'll follow it even if I'm not able to join in.

Jules (Juliana)
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2010
naj naj is offline
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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naj
Default Alright Dave, Terry, and W!

Great write up Dave. I might be doing the relay on the Labor day weekend with some folks at my swim club, should be fun. Jules, if you want to do the swim you can. I've sum with folks who've had physical limitations and you don't have to strictly follow channel rules to do a swim like this so long as everyone on the team is willing to go this route. The water temp in Hawaii is manageable for a newbie open water swimmer however you'll need to learn how to swim in swells and possible choppy water, which takes time but can be done.

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2010
Ken B Ken B is offline
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Ken B
Default Sunburn

David

Housekeeping question; 5 hours is a long time in the midday sun, in NZ it would be considered a lethal dose, what do you do about sun protection?

Ken
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2010
naj naj is offline
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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naj
Unhappy Oh boy!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken B View Post
David

Housekeeping question; 5 hours is a long time in the midday sun, in NZ it would be considered a lethal dose, what do you do about sun protection?

Ken
Holy Smokes ken if 5 hours is bad what am I gonna do when I'm in for well over 8 or 9 crossing The Cook Strait in 2013???!!!

Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #8  
Old 03-27-2010
DavidBarra DavidBarra is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York's Mid Hudson Valley
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DavidBarra
Default

ken,
i used straight zinc oxide, but still caught a bit more of a tan than i would have liked. willie and terry used some sport sunscreens that seemed to work better, but any spots missed were obvious.

jules,
1. i don't think that would be a problem

2. certainly. our boat had a platform at water level that was very easy to enter/exit

3. membership to USMS might be required but many swim "unattached"

4. anything that will increase your comfort level in the OW will be beneficial.
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