Yep I survived.
We all entered the water at 10 am, in sunny warm conditions, our brief from Ned was to swim twice round the island, but in the opposite direction. This was to be our first test then, but I set off hoping I could sight clearly enough to save swimming too wide.
Following the 2 laps as I swam towards the slipway, I was woken from my daydream by Eddie and Owen in a little inflatable, suggesting I might like to swim around the boat 10 times! This I did, but not before beaching on the rocks we had all drifted onto! Eddie claimed it was all part of the training (whatever!!). After this I followed the boat on a magical mystery tour around the Cove, which I found to be a real treat having swam around the island all week. Having said my thankyou's, I headed back for a feed and was rewarded with a lovely drop of maxim and sent off for another lap of the island, with instructions to come back in after that lap. Being the ever obedient swimmer, this I did, whereupon Lisa Cummins tells me to put in a fast lap, I set off thinking this is me doing fast!!
Back in for a feed to be told I was off on an adventure with the rib, and what an adventure. We headed out off Sandy Cove and I was told to aim for the black rocks sloping into the water, fair enough thinks I and off I set. The swell out off the Cove was, in Nick Adams' words "a little cheeky", and brought back memories of my Channel swim in 2008, but far from being worried this insired me to work through the waves and press on, knowing I could cope. We eventually reached the point and I was rewarded by another feed from Lisa and was told to head home and aim for the red house, I was too polite to say what "bloody red house", and set off aiming for the trees in the distance which I recognised. It was harder going back than on the way out but eventually I could make out the red house in Sandy Cove and dug deeper, finally being pulled up as I entered the Cove. Lisa fed me again and said swim into the horse box, which I was tempted to question, because how the hell could I swim up the slipway especially with the tide out? I also felt that now I've had another feed that I would be told to head back out around the island for another million laps, so imagine my joy when I saw everyone was out and I was told it was all over.
In all I did about 5 hours 15 min and apparently was the last out, that'll teach me to be so slow.
Thanks must go to Ned, Lisa, Eddie and Owen as my main torturers, as well as all those involved the the support of all us swimmers. Mick, your burgers are a joy to eat.