Day 5/ Swim 2: Spike Island Prison Swim
So how did this prison swim happen, well you know me it starts with an email, ” anyone want to swim Spike Island, one of the triple crown of prison swims?”, the email arrived from Ned 2 weeks ago, I scanned the email and replied, ” I’m in for a bust out”, after sending it I pondered…” wonder how far that isand where”? It was not to matter as the reply was that I was on the wait list and I thought no more of it, then yesterday Ned emailed again, “Spike Island, you’re in”.
So that’s how it came about, now we are on route to Cork Harbor with Barbara from California, Paul from the UK, me, Robbin and Ned driving the boat……..
The view of Cobn from the boat is stunning, we travel up the port scanning for places to swim in to land…..
Ned points out numerous landing spots ranging from steps to ramps, we drive the boat alongside the wharf to check them out, the water is calm, as we motor past the dock wall we hear a hiss and a plop, we turn just in time to see raw sewerage spewing out into the harbor water below, I turn and look the other way, ” what you don’t see can’t hurt you”, I think, I decide to focus on the massive church and spike Island in the other direction.
We pull into a set of steps and pick up the final three swimmers, including the super star swimmer of the day, on to the boat climb, Nora, Eddie and their son Neddy, today he will become the youngest swimmer to swim Spike Island to Cobn, he is 9 years old, we motor towards the Island.
The conditions are terrific, we all get ready to jump off the boat and swim to the island, once clear of the water on the island, we reenter the water and the swim will begin, Nora, Eddie and Neddy swim in first, then Barbara, Paul and I follow after they have started, ” Channel rules apply Neddie, no touching the boat or another swimmer, clear the water at the other side”, Ned shouts with an enthusiastic smile, they are off, Paul and me enter the water and swim into the island to start out swim…..
Once on land we enter the water, our Spike Island swim begins, we stroke away from the island, I imagine breaking out, our plan is to ziz zag behind Neddy and his parents on the way over, Barbara swims ahead to get photos, the view is fantastic….
Neddy and his parents are making good progress, Paul and I swim figure 8’s criss crossing in front of each other, we edge our way closer to Cobn and the landing stairs, I look at the white star line building where the passengers boarded to get on the Titanic, it is now converted into a Titanic Tour and gift shop….
Soon we are close to the port, Neddy is swimming in bursts, hard for 20-30 meters, then pulling up for a break, I can see his Dad encouraging him, Neddy fights on, the tide has now turned, he is fighting a bit of a current, he is tiring, down but not out. More words of encouragement from Dad and Neddy gives it one last push, he makes it to the steps but not yet out of the water, he is breathing hard and clutching the steps….
Ned pulls out a “Youngest Spike Island Swimmer” Trophy, Paul swims it in and presents it to Neddy on the steps, a crowd above us has gathered, they all cheer loudly, what a swim…..
We all clamor back into the boat, time to head back to get ready for swim number 3 of the day, what a fun swim and privilege to be in the water with this family and gutsy young swimmer, way to go Neddy, oh and how far was the swim 2km as the crow flies, the water 55 degrees fahrenheit.
We unload the boat, time to drive back to Kinsale, 45 minutes, just in time to change into a dry suit, eat and head out to Sandycove Island for tonight’s swim an Island Race, we all meet at 5;45pm, race instructions are quickly dished out, it is a handicap start, with 5 groups, group 5 starts first then 10 minutes later group 4, followed 3 minutes later by group 3 and on until it is my turn in group 1. The swim is hard and fast, we all jostle around the island and finish red cheeked, swim 3 complete.
What’s up next?An early start tomorrow, Sandycove Island at 6am
Bad weather is rolling in will tomorrow’s evening swim get relocated due to massive swells? I’ll keep you posted
( Congratulations Neddy)