The Great Big Swim: Stage 2

Stage 2: Patricia Bay to Swartz Bay
Date: July 5, 2020
Total swim distance: 15 km
Weather: 21C, Sunny, winds 10-15km
Water Temperature: 13-14C
Swimmers: Aly, Ben, Drew, Jasmine, Susan
Crew: Krissy, Ray, MJ, Colette, Jacob, Reg, Peter, Gord, Ingrid

Stage 2 of the Great Big Swim presenting some interesting challenges. The first part of the swim we were escorted out of the bay by a bob of seals, at least 20. Jasmine had one or two swim directly below her. It was quite something to see. The water was perfectly flat and the sun out with very little wind. It was a beautiful day.

As we made our way around the point of the bay we started to notice jelly fish in the water below us – Lions Manes – the largest jelly species in the world, and one that packs a powerful punch.

Research suggests these jellies thrive in areas impacted by human activity. Overfishing, climate change and pollution promote swarms by reducing their predators and competitors. After dodging hundreds of these guys as we swam through what I like to call the “jellyfish mines”, I can believe it.

What was remarkable throughout this swim was how the Spirit Orcas worked together to protect one another. Each time someone saw a jelly they would call out to the others and steer them out of harms way. 

Our other two obstacles were currents, some which pushed us backward, and BC Ferries – we had to cross a major terminal.

As we headed to the the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay we were about 1 hour ahead of schedule. But we soon found ourselves in a current and an hour behind. 

The total swim on this day was our longest yet – 15km. This is a very long way to go for a group that is new to marathon swims, especially when they are back to back weekends. Just prior to the terminal Drew, Ben and Jasmine became very cold and were shivering. They boarded Gord’s boat for the crossing while Aly and I waiting for safe passage and swam to the other side of the terminal. I have waited for the ferry many times, but never in the water!

Once the ferry left the terminal Aly and I were able to make the crossing safely. We were greeted by Drew, Ben and Jasmine in the water and all swam to shore together. On our way into shore Aly and I spotted the largest jellyfish I have ever seen in my life. It was a giant Lions Mane, a very very old one, that had made it’s way to shore. It is rare to see them so large, so a very special way to end our day.

A great big virtual hug to our crew for keeping us on course and out of harms way.