Today is the BIG DAY

My sister Maeve had a milestone birthday this year and decided along with 4 friends, to swim the English Channel from Dover in the UK to Calais in France.  They are paying the full cost of the swim themselves and are raising funds for sick kids at the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin – the national hospital for sick kids in Ireland.  Any and all donations are welcome 🙂

The Mermaids testing the water in Dover yesterday.  My sister Maeve is back row on the left.

The Mermaids testing the water in Dover yesterday. My sister Maeve is back row on the left.

This swim is no paddle, let me tell ya.  The English Channel separates England from France and is recognized as one of the busiest commercial shipping waters in the world with over 500 ships sailing through these waters daily.  It’s open sea and forms part of the Atlantic Ocean, so it will be no mean feat to swim the narrowest section of the Channel – Dover to Calais, 33km.

The ladies are swimming in relay and expect to complete the swim in about 15 hours.  The first swimmer will get in the water, swim for an hour, hand over to the next swimmer who in turn will swim for an hour .. and so on.  It’s estimated each swimmer will be in the water for 3 turns … but it will all depend on weather, tides and how busy the shipping lanes are.

In order to quality the relay swim as an official English Channel Swim, there are many rules to comply to, so besides getting training in the ocean over the past few months, they have also had to practice the handover from one swimmer to another, and ensure the pilot boat follows the rules when providing support.  Complex stuff!  And you definitely do not want the swim to go unrecognized over a technicality, now would you?!

They just got confirmation from the association that they can start their swim at 10.30am GMT on Friday August 1.  You can follow progress and see some photos here – the Munster Mermaids Facebook page.

I wish them a successful and safe swim!

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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3 Responses to Today is the BIG DAY

  1. Gary Lutke says:

    Are all the Coffey girls crazy??? Between your freaky mountain climbing and Maeve dodging the tankers while swimming the Channel it makes me wonder if there is something missing upstairs. Just sayin’……

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