Sunday, March 27, 2011

Swim, Swim!!

So let's see...We've both been busy doing work things but got a nice surprise when a friend of a friend that we met last year, Gerry, announced that he was in from the States and taking a break from his home construction in Nevis. He ended up taking us out for dinner (thanks Gerry!), so we thought we'd try a new restaurant called the Copper Chimney (not online yet). The Indian restaurant is located in the old Jack Tar resort (now Royal St. Kitts - across from the Marriott) and has had nothing but good reviews from the people we know who've gone there so far. There was actually an entire menu page of veggie dishes and we're not used to having choices anymore, so had no idea what to get. The owner was a really nice guy who spent a lot of time making sure everyone was happy and recommending various food combos. We ended up with some garlic naan bread (the garlic part wasn't on the menu, but they made it for us), and a bunch of stuff I couldn't identify but was delicious. These veggie balls came out first and for some reason our plates were placed upside down initially (maybe we haven't eaten out enough to understand this latest etiquette). Michael was so beat from a really long two weeks (with one more to go), that this is what happened.

Oops! Oh well, it tasted the same. Once Michael flipped the plate over, we also had a cauliflower and bean dish and some interesting rice, while Gerry had some spicy chicken and coconut fish. Prices were reasonable and the service was good, so we highly recommend the place. Apparently the owner's cousin owns an Indian restaurant in Nevis too, so I'm guessing it would be a good place to check out as well.

Today was the StarMile 2.5 Nevis~St Kitts Cross Channel Swim. (9th Annual Bente Weber Memorial). Our pals Kat (of course) and Tina were in it, as well as one of Michael's contractors who just happened to be in town from Canada. I, of course, decided to play photographer instead (somebody's got to do it). So Tina and Ron (on the kayak brigade) picked Kat and me up at 6am (ugh) and off we went toward our rendezvous with everyone else at Reggae Beach (Michael enjoyed a much needed sleep in (of course, he later had to change a flat tire, so there went his zen moment).

This was new.

Mr. X from Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack & Tours sponsored the transportation of everyone between the islands (pre and post swim), and they were only a little late...

I think we should have gotten on the smaller boat.

Why? Because the big one got wet. Really wet. Brrrr! This was a rather hard way to discover that the swimmers and kayakers were going to have a rather rough time of it out there.

And then we were there, Oaulie Beach and the start of the race. Let the butterflies in the stomach start fluttering.

Kayakers pick your kayaks!

Swimmers start your warm up!

Look at all these crazy people getting ready to jump in! Most of the participants were Ross students, but there were some triathlon/biking athletes from Nevis in there, and just "regular" folks like our friends as well.

Ron's ready too.

And go!!!

Kayakers going their thing, herding the swimmers in the right direction.

It was so windy, that this boat had to be pulled off the dock by the dinghy. At least they didn't have to swim in that crap!

Even the Coast Guard participated this time making sure swimmers didn't get too off course. Last year, a number of competitors ended up at Major's Bay, which was not quite the right beach. Of course, this time everyone overcompensated the other way and for a while there, we thought a few might end up in St. Barths.

Speaking of swimmers, before we knew it two were waaaaay in the lead. We wanted to get up there, so gunned it. Waaaaahoooooo! We have the need for speed!

Then we were watching a do or die race to the finish between two guys (you can see how high the swells were in some of these pictures). The guy in the back could really sprint. And they're neck and neck!!!

Just as the 2nd guy became the 1st, he took a break!!!!! A break, I tell you!!

About 20 minutes later, it was time for the two to rumble again. They had diverged paths a bit and we kept yelling to the guy on the right that he was getting off course, but he probably couldn't hear us over his ragged breathing.

You're almost there - pant, pant!!

Here they come!!!!

In the end, the guy who had been in the lead most of the time won, but he actually waited for his friend to catch up.

What a team. They both sauntered to the finish line, with a time of 58 minutes. I think last year, a female came in first at 1 hour 14 minutes, so this was pretty impressive. Of course, being kazillion-time Ironman and triathlete winners pretty much meant a sure win, but we'll give it to them anyway.

The youngest swimmer made great time too.

Kat made her way to shore...

and then Tina (yes, a few people did the trek with snorkel gear - it still counts - and I would have added a noodle and been proud of it). You go girls!!!!

A lot of swimmers came in close to each other, so there was quite a bit of chasing going on.

Mr. X and I, along with the other spotter boats, stayed out to watch for the remaining swimmers until they all came in.

Can you see the head in this picture? It's in front of us, but barely visible. It was kind of scary motoring around looking for these guys, because they'd just come up out of a wave seemingly out of nowhere.

This tired, and apparently thirsty, swimmer was quite happy to take a water break.

We stumbled upon one of the last 5 swimmers a bit off course and had her ask us 4 times where the heck the beach was. I give her credit, she stuck with it (I would have asked for a tow line) and finished strong.

I'm not aware of anyone dropping out (although we did see a couple of kayakers towed in). I was a bit disappointed that we didn't see any marine life - no dolphins, no whales, no turtles. Not even flying fish. I'm pretty sure the 3 Ross students who spotted a hammerhead shark on the sea bottom below them would have gladly passed on that particular sighting though.

So there it is. We came back and got in some much needed grocery shopping and I went back to work (sigh). Next weekend is a hash, but Sunday I'm hoping both Michael & I can really relax and do absolutely nothing. NOTHING!!