Do you ever get restless back home, where everything is settled and feeling the urge to change scenery sometimes, to test yourself and your capabilities? It is a driving force for many to go out and do things. A force giving you the “power” to see beautiful places and meet extraordinary people. And, who knows, it might sometimes even change the way you look at things a little bit. It’s certainly one of the forces driving me being part of The Swim.
At first, this project can feel a bit overwhelming. There is a lot of water, time and challenges to overcome. It can be hot and humid like the last few days, and together with 35knts upwind sailing, seawater leaking on your pillow, sleep deprivation, and no swimming, it can be difficult to keep a good mindset. Those are the con’ s of an expedition like this. The pro’s are that you share those experiences with an awesome group of people, all willing to do that extra step for each other. Our backgrounds are different but our goal is the same: escorting Ben across the Pacific and raising awareness about the way we treat our oceans. Giving the plastic I see floating every day, I know we are not done here yet and we have to keep on pushing.
As a medic, keeping Ben and the crew healthy and give them the best treatment when they are not, remains the primary goal. Especially here, where conditions are less ideal compared with a hospital, preventing is better than curing and it is good to see that everybody looks after each other. As a result, no major accidents happened so far and I hope we can keep it that way.
Of course, even with the good team we have, 6 months at sea (and who knows maybe more) without seeing land, is not done by a lot of people. To wrap your mind around something like that is difficult. Inspired by Ben, who is focused on swimming 8 hours a day, not minding the number of miles he covered (that’s only a distraction) I’m taking it day by day. By doing that consequently, time almost feels irrelevant and the impossible becomes possible.
Maks Romeijn, 28, Dutchie
Expedition Medic/ Researcher
‘Since my graduation from medical school in Leiden, I worked in several fields of acute medicine including cardiology and intensive care. I’m interested in the provision of optimum health care in situations outside the hospital. After following an expedition medicine course organized by World Extreme Medicine, it was only a matter of time before I would head off for an expedition.
Having sailed from a young age and kite surfing year round whenever there is wind, water always played an important role in my life. To dedicate my time to preserve the oceans, while being an expedition doctor on a Pacific crossing, is an absolute dream and I didn’t need to think long about joining The Swim. Together with Lauren and our on-shore medical team, I will take care of all people on board and monitor Ben during the swim. Also, we will lead the medical research projects, including imaging studies of Ben’s heart in collaboration with NASA.
Besides the safe and sound return of the crew, I hope that we make people think more about the use of plastic and the effects it is having on our planet.’