The Alkatraz Sharkfest Swim
The Alkatraz Sharkfest Swim has been something I wanted to do for a while. I finally signed myself and my partner Alistair up for July 27th 2019.
OK, so they tell you: ‘This swim is NOT for NOVICES. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only.’ How bad could it be. 2.4 km. We had both done this distance before. About 15 C water temperature. Anything is warm when you train in Scotland! Few currents and the tides to deal with. Fine, we’ll need to do some training.
Welcome to San Francisco!
So we trained. And arrived in San Francisco. We look at Alcatraz from the mainland. And you realise how small you are! Nature makes you humble. Alistair had to face an old demon, the possibility of facing big fish with sharp teeth, it was after all called Sharkfest for a reason. I can at times be intimidated by people around me in chaos and there was >800 participants. You need to face these things sometimes to make them less critical.
And it was a once in a lifetime swim. A ferry brings you to Alcatraz where you jump from the boat and make your way to the start line. We stayed together throughout the swim. Lucky for me, Alistair led. The course is lined by boats and canoeists but sighting still wasn’t easy with the famous San Francisco har. The Golden Gate Bridge was wrapped invisible in clouds. Unlucky for me the swimmers never dispersed. I was surrounded, caged in by swimmers almost all the way. I had to concentrate and ignore the world around me. Alistair managed to keep his mind from going to creative what may happen when sharks come for the ride. He comforted himself by swimming in the middle of the bulk of swimmers. What is one’s fear is the others comfort! The bay is deep. There were crosscurrents and a strong tide. You had to aim for one spot to be carried with the tide to another, the destination.
Founding the rhythm
But it wasn’t cold. The water felt great. Once you have found your rhythm, the magical feeling of being in tune with the sea made this a very special swim. Training paid off. And you get a tremendous sense of achievement when you reach the calm of the North Shore of San Francisco mainland. We are lucky to have had the opportunity to do this! With a bit of tide and weather planning, those prisoners should have had a good chance of escaping!
(Fitness Soul Member from 2016)
Also, read Barbara’s first triathlon report!