Date: May 2015
Start: St.Andrews West, Ontario ( near Cornwall )
Finish: South Lancaster, Ontario
Distance: Approximately 44 kilometers
Conditions: Water temperature is about 5 to 9 degrees Celsius. It was a sunny, no wind.
My swim started in St.Andrews West, Ontario. I started only 25 meters from where the famous Canadian Explorer Simon Fraser is buried. It must have been amazing to think about the times that Simon experienced as he was exploring the Canadian West! His thoughts are with me as I started.
The first few kilometers were impossible to swim.. The River was too shallow. I had to walk and walk and walk in the River. So many Rocks, and sandy, muddy areas too. I started to swim as the River level got deeper, but again, more rocks. Eventually I made it to the first town, Martintown, where I had to portage the Rapids area.
The locals thought I am nuts. They ask me what I’m doing, ask me if I’m a diver. I said. “No, I’m swimming not diving”. Some ask me “Don’t you think the water is too cold?” I said “Yes, kinda cold, but I have a good wet suit and thermal gear, and I’m well planned for this”.
I continue to swim some, then walk some, for the next few kilometers as the water started again to get shallow then deep. Rocks. Everywhere! My feet are getting really sore, my hands are getting cold and sore from the rocks. I picked up some bruises on my elbows, knees, shoulders, but I kept going.
My crew was great, giving me my food and drinks as they followed me in the car. The River can be seen from the roads in many places.
I approach the next town, Williamstown, Ontario, a beautiful historical place in Eastern Ontario. There was a home owner who was burning dead brush along the River, as I pass the smoke and fire, I was in trouble. The smoke from his fire took my oxygen, for sometime I had trouble. After several moments I got my air back. More rocks & more bruises, it seems like it took forever to get there.
From Williamstown to South Lancaster was enjoyable, there were no more dangerous rocks to contend with. The River opens up and I saw my first boater, he was shocked to see a swimmer in the River at this time of year. He told me from a distance he thought I was a seal swimming in the water, I started laughing. The laughter cheered me up!
Before the end of my swim my crew had to leave me, the road didn’t follow the river for last 5 kilometers, I am now on my own. I swan under a busy highway 401. Scary to hear all the cars and trucks whizzing by above me.
Finally at the end I meet up with my crew… the swim is done! I am cold and hungry.
Raisin River Swim… Conquered… May 2015.
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