5am and the iPhone began chiming away indicating it was time to get up and move. By 5:45 a group of Isle of Wight Adventure Activities staff were gathered in Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight staring out at glassy seas and the early morning sun beginning illuminating Hurst Spit. I’d been tracking the weather on my way over to the Island last night as a foot passenger (my sea kayak on it’s trusty trolley) and this was about as near to perfect conditions as it could get.
I was there to act as a solent swim safety boat for the swim section of Race to Midnight. 16 athletes were about to start a race from the Isle of Wight to London. The swim section would take them from the Island to Hurst, followed by bikes from Hurst to Richmond Park after which the last leg would see them running into Central London and an exclusive ‘private members club’ for a Ball. Not sure I would fancy dancing until the wee hours after all of that but each to their own.
All too soon, the large motorboat that was also providing support arrived with the swimmers on board. After a swift safety briefing it was into the water and off. We had started maybe only 10-15 minutes late but even that was enough for the infamous ‘Trap’ off Hurst to get going and I felt for the swimmers as they swam a huge ‘S’ shaped path that added significant distance when compared to an ‘as the crow flies’ trip across the Solent.
Despite this, and with all swimmers safely ashore the safety boat team enjoyed a relaxed paddle across an increasingly bouncy Solent back to Colwell Bay.
As I type this, I am back on the mainland, about to head out Open Canoeing with my Son. The competitors, on the other hand, are somewhere in Hampshire chewing up the miles on their bikes.
Huge respect goes out the various competitors as they toil away raising money for their respective charities. Huge thanks go to the ‘extra’ paddlers who travelled down with the competitors to ensure we had adequate cover on the water. A thoroughly enjoyable start to the day!