Day 9 : Kona, Hawaii
Distance: 10,000 meters
Location: Keauhou Bay- Kailua Bay
Today I am excited, I am closing in on my short term goal of swimming 90,000 meters in 9 days while I’m here on the Big Island, just 10k to go and the plan is to knock that out this morning before I fly back to the mainland later today and lucky for me I have boat support for today’s point to point swim, what a treat!
I met Kate Shannon earlier in my stay, she swims with a local masters group and today she is kindly coming out to paddle her outrigger canoe alongside me while I swim from Keauhou Bay to Kilua Bay in Kona.
Kate and I meet down in Kona, we drop Karlyn’s car at what will be the finish of our swim and drive up to Kleauhou Bay, Kate and I chatter along the way, she has lots of interesting stories of her paddling, I feel fortunate to have her with me today, not only is the company great but she has a good knowledge of the area and the ocean, she is a dive instructor and knows water.
We soon arrive at the beach and go about unloading her outrigger canoe, ” here is where the shark bite marks are”, she says as she sets the canoe on the beach, ” Wow”, I reply as I check it out, ” don’t worry though it got the bite before I bought it”, she adds, I laugh, ” reassuring to know it is not a recent encounter” I tell Kate.
Next up we talk about the swim, ” I follow you, if I am swimming off course, you keep on course, I will adjust to follow you, if I am not adjusting, slap the paddle at me and I’ll shift”, OK replies Kate, then we talk about feeding, ” at 25 minutes an arm circle like this to speed me up, then at 28 minutes a slow down signal and finally at 30 minutes give me a hands down signal to feed” .
We also set up a stroke count where Kate counts how many strokes I take per minute, Kate has everything down in no time and we walk out into the shallow water to launch, wouldn’t you know it a green sea turtle is cruising by to wish us bon voyage….
She’s a pearl of a day, slightly overcast skies and a light wind, I begin stroking out of the Bay, as I look at Kate I can instantly see how at ease she is in the boat, “this girl is a paddler”,I think, I feel grateful to have her by my side. Out of the Bay we go, it feels great to swim alongside the boat and I am enjoying studying the outrigger canoe, it is big and yellow and commands the water. We head out alongside the shoreline and after a bit Kate takes me away from the shallow waters of the shore to the deep. I deep water feels cozy.
30 minutes is soon up and it’s time to down my feed, down the hatch and off we go again, then in a flash another 30 minutes is gone,time to down my feed again, this time I dawdle a bit, eager to chat to Kate, ” you’re doing great Kate”, I shout, I am having fun, I swim on.
Suddenly I feel stabbing pains on my arms, it feels like I am swimming through a snow storm of mini knives, except it is not miniature knives, it is what looks like hundreds of tiny little Jelly Fish, hardly visable, to me they look like snow flakes ” horror snowflakes”, each sting hurts and after the intial stabbing sting a lingering pain in the arm. ” NOT COOL, just keep swimming and be patient the pain will subside over time and you are sure to be just minutes from getting out of this jelly fish war zone”, I reassure myself, I wait for the relief of moving out of this menacing pool of miniature jellies, I wait and I wait, time ticks by but no relief comes. I swim on regardless.
Then comes the big hit, ” Bugger Me”, I mutter underwater,” that was right down my bikini top”, I lurch my hand down my top in an effort to free myself of the offending jelly fish the goal is to pull up my top, and free the Jelly without stopping swimming.I twist and contort for a stroke or two then force my head down and swim on ” suck it up” I command myself, and that’s what I do for the next 30 minutes. “Jellies”, I say to Kate at the next feed, ” I thought you saw a big fish”, she replies, and we swim on.
Fortunately the Jelly Fish seem to have been left behind me, the stings are very manageable, now just a dull ache, the next 30 minutes seems quite uneventfull, Kate gives me my feed signal, as I grab my feed cup, Kate excitedly says, ” An Eagle Ray flew out of the water and flipped on his back, right by you, I’ve NEVER seen that before, and there were 2 whales out there, I could see their tails, did you see?” I love hearing all Kate’s marine life reports, ” would you rather be closer to shore?” Kate asks, “No let’s stay deep” I reply and swim on.
Time ticks on and I find myself starting to speculate on where I am and how far I have to go, ” dangerous stuff, just swim” I tell myself and with that I put my head down and pull hard, the wind has picked up, the sea is not as calm as it was when we started, I am starting to have to earn it. Kate and I battle on towards Kona, the last 30 minutes seems to take an eternity, the water pulls me this way and that, I feel like Kailua Bay isn’t too keen for me to land in her Bay, she is creating a problematic current and I am having to swim against it to reach the beach. Finally I am close, I know I am close because I lift my head for a peak and find the bay wall right in front of me, Yip I am swimming into it, ” over here” shouts Kate, as she points to the sandy beach, I follow her lead and there it is, that golden sand in my hands, we made it YES!
What an adventure, Jelly Fish, an Eagle Ray, Whales, a top rate “Captain Kate” to crew for me, and my 90km goal achieved, I am pleased. Kate and I say our goodbyes and I head off to shower and pack, then onto American Airlines, next stop Mainland USA
Where is my next Open Water Swim? California
What is the reported Water Temperature? 52 Degrees
How many Jelly Fish Stings did I find post swim? 23