24/2/2018 – An early morning
I was ‘lucky’ enough to be marginally involved in the famous Rottnest Channel Swim via David who paddles as support for the four swimmers in his team, and two of his brothers who actually swim. I delivered him and his brother to the start point with kayak, and retreated safely to a quiet spot where I could get some good photos. (Actually there were no quiet spots).
I found this all very interesting, never having been present at the start before. Literally hundreds of people, kayaks, cars, officials, milling around at 5.30am around Cottesloe Beach. The swimmers leave in ‘waves’ according to their group delineation. ie Women under 25 teams, single swimmers, men over 55 teams, etc.
The paddlers are all waiting on the north and south boundary trying to see their swimmer, they are supposed to pick them up (not literally) at the end of the lane ropes. The kayak and swimmer then pick up their support boat at the tall ship in the distance. However, kayak has to find swimmer, and boat has to find kayak and swimmer and it looks like organized chaos. Above is a ‘wave’ of inexperienced swimmers, see how they have move en masse over to the south side of the channel, so many swimmers, they were getting feet and arms in their faces, it looked like a giant washing machine. And how are they going to find their kayak when they are still within the lane ropes. Swimmers who have not found their support boat by the time they reach the tall ship are taken from the water and not allowed to continue.
Above picture shows two groups, the pink hats and the green hats, more experienced older swimmers, they have lined up evenly, you can still see the group before in the distance slightly to the left still bunched up.
Now you can see that these swimmers are following a much more sensible path, just swimming out away from the beach, when they get to the end of the rope their paddlers will pick them up and go with them. David’s brother Simon was in this group, Simon always swims straight up the middle of the field and David can easily pick him out and meet up with him when he gets to the rope end. After taking this photo I was off back to bed.
Here is a shot of David taken from their support boat, with his niece Ellie swimming past the 17 kms buoy.
And a shot of the unfortunate boat that sank near them, everybody was taken safely off the craft, but we never found out exactly what happened and why the boat sank. Here endeth my experience with the Rottnest Swim and that is as close as I will get to being involved.