When I opened an email to find I had been invited to participate in a fund raising Round Cape Point swim I almost leapt for joy!! I love swimming and one of my Bucket List swims has always been to swim around Cape Point. And I love swimming even more if I can donate to a meaningful charity while swimming. Little Fighters, being a childhood cancer charity is very close to my heart. I have known, and know several youngsters facing this terrible ordeal! I then looked at all those invited to swim and I did a double take: I was by far the oldest. weakest and slowest swimmer. Why me? But excitement swept in! Then Richard Child joined us from Jo’burg and I was no longer the oldest, but still the slowest!
Speaking to Arend Grondman, the boat organiser, I realised that this was going to be no easy swim. He has accompanied me on various swims so knows my abilities. He said Dias Beach would be very rough and I would have to swim very hard if I was to get around the point. Oh my! As the time for standby came nearer so my nerves got steadily worse!
Standby dates came and went and then Argus Cycle Tour, which I was due to cycle, loomed ahead. But in the Spirit of our crazy, wonderful sport, the only window for our swim was on the Thursday prior to Argus! Never mind, I thought, let’s see what happens!
On the morning of the swim I woke and felt surprisingly calm and excited. I was one of the swimmers who had opted for a dry start. I did not relish swimming through the waves at Dias Beach twice! Once I saw the surf I heaved a huge sigh of thanks. There was no way I could have swum that twice without injuring myself.
Once I take my glasses off I am severely hard of vision: I have very little depth perception, so cannot tell how far apart waves are. Anything I see is a blur and, suffering from double vision, I am not always certain that I am seeing any “object” as it really is. I had to place my trust completely in two people I had never met: my boatman, Ian and my second, Tania! When there was a gap in these monster waves we were told to Go! Go! Go!… I went … and got dumped landing back on the beach. I have never in my life been so grateful to see another swimmer Monika did not make it through the waves! Together we ran in, ran out, got dumped, waited, ran in, ran out, got dumped. I could not believe I was not in a total state of panic! My legs were exhausted and I was frightened. Our timekeeper, Tony Selmeyer eventually yelled Go! Go! Go! I didn’t see Monika again, but I got under and through the waves! What a relief.
At my boat I was given some powerade and took a few minutes for my legs to recover from feeling like two blobs of jelly. This rest had to happen while not touching the boat. Then we were off through the mist, the huge swell and the cold, though I was so pumped with adrenalin by then that I did not feel the cold! Poor Tania and Ian kept yelling “Swim left!”; “Keep left”. Having to rely solely on my boat crew for direction I am unable to wear ear plugs: I must be able to hear what they are saying to me. I think they dreamt those directions that night!
I swam and swam and concentrated and looked at the mist shrouded rocks. I could not believe how beautiful it all was even to me. Up, up the swell went and down the trough on the other side we were flung, all the while swimming freestyle! Ian had sensibly told me that I must not follow the direction that his boat would take, because with the currents and waves he would actually be going crab-wise! Suddenly I heard Tania screaming and yelling “Yay! Yay! Yay! We did it ! You are round the point!” What a blissful moment, and I was able to sigh, knowing that I had just completed my scariest section of any swim I had done. Now to relax and swim 6+km up the coast.
This took me forever, but slowly we reached calmer and warmer waters and eventually I was told Buffelsbay was in sight. I had a wonderful moment when many of the swimmers going back to Miller’s Point by boat came and circled me, cheering me on. That was a great encouragement and greatly appreciated. Then for a jolt! I thought I was about to leave the boat to swim for shore only to discover that I still had a while to swim! What a setback! But we kept going and at last I could see Tony Selmeyer in the distance. As I realised I could stand and walk the rest I saw some of my family waiting for me! What a joy, what a great moment when Tony said we were all finished. My Granddaughter (5) asked me where I came from and my Grandson (3) commented that I was all wet!
I might have finished long after the others but, my oh my, what a privilege to swim around Cape Point, our beautiful inheritance.
Thank you one and all!! Thank you Ian and Tania! Thank you Carina and Little Fighters Trust. I love being part of the group and part of this special swim! One is still able to donate to Little Fighters” Trust fund- just check out their web-page for details.
And yes, I rode Argus, together with a few of the others involved, in the wind on Sunday and finished!
Lindsay de Kock
For an epic swim by another of our local swimming champs, Liz Webb, see