June 5th 2018
It was a day loaded with emotions; I was finally going to start the swim after so many years dreaming about it and 7 years of tumultuous preparations, I couldn’t be more excited about it. But it was also difficult to know that I was leaving my friends and family behind.
During the drive to the beach, my children and my wife didn’t say much, it was an intense quiet moment, no word could have made the situation less painful. Once we got to the beach it wasn’t our moment anymore, the press was present asking me questions and the local public and officials came to wish me a safe swim. I hugged my wife one last time, no words were exchanged, I asked Ana and Max, my children, to wait until I was ready in the water to join me and swim the first 50 meters with me. The water was cold, I wore a wetsuit but they did not. Max was a little hesitant at the beginning then he dove and lead Ana and me toward the open ocean. I had to grab his leg twice to put him in the right direction as he was swimming straight toward some big rocks. Once we were out I stopped them and the three of us hugged one last time. They turned around and I waited for them to reach the beach before swimming off.
That was it, I was on my own with my thoughts and swimming on top of my streamline that leads me in the right direction.
Within the first 30 minutes, I was back into my routine, keeping a steady pace, stretching my shoulders to glide as much as possible and focusing on my streamline. Already in the first hour, I was reliving the moment I spent on the beach few minutes before, everything happened so fast I wanted to remember and relive some moments that I didn’t have the time to enjoy.
In the second hour, the water temperature started to drop and it became uncomfortable as the day progressed.
In the fifth hour, my support RHIB got a call from Seeker to let us know that they had spotted a 5 foot long shark. They were sending out our medic Maks on a kayak to bring us our shark protection device. Before Maks got to us I saw a 3 foot long shark swimming right below me in the opposite direction. I stopped to look around but couldn’t see anything, I had limited visibility. Paul and Ty who were on the RHIB asked if I wanted to get out of the water but I decided it was safe to continue swimming so I just did.
Few moments later Maks joined us with the kayak and asked me few questions to access my state, he took my pulse and felt my hands and decide that I was getting cold and asked me to stop, he said “Ben it was a good day, you swam for 6 hours, it is good start, let’s not over do it”.
So I jumped in the RHIB and got back to Seeker to start my first night onboard. My stomach was a little upset and I could not hold much food at the beginning but it got better through out the night and wake up few times for a night snake.
Tomorrow will be another day.
Start position: 35°43.220N
Stop position: 140°52.208E
Start time: 09:00am local / 00:00 UTC
Stop time: 03:00pm local / 06:04 UTC
Miles covered: approx 9.6nm