In 2009 Pamela Vythelingum bravely undertook a daring swim of the Red Sea in Egypt, incredibly managing a total of 19Km in order to raise funds for the Guy Culverwell Childrens Trust. Here follows her report and diary from the days she swam.
Bravo, Pam! you’ve made us all very proud and thank you so much for your amazing effort and achievement!
I hope you’ll be pleased to know that I completed the Egypt swim, avoided the 18 species of shark and am back in sunny England. Thank you all so much for your support, we’ve raised £3,434.37 which includes £750 from the Barclays Matched Giving scheme and £466.37 in gift aid. I must admit that I’m blown away by this… I’d only set the target at £1500!
The swim was awesome, more beautiful but also more scarey than I could have imagined. If you’d like to know more about it I’ve included a few notes below…
I’d like to say a big thank you to you all and especially to those of you who have had to put up with me over the last few months whilst I’ve been riding the training roller coaster and been unable to have a conversation that didn’t include the words ‘pool’ or ‘swim’ or ‘training’. Particular thanks to the Reebok Girls for the early morning pep talks and hugs!!… to the EA team at BarCap for your general support… and Simon and Gail for feeding me so often!!… And of course a huge thank you to Tim and Peter at Swimming with Style for your incredible instruction, guidance and encouragement. Lastly I’d like to say thank you to all on the SwimTrek trip including John and Lizzie – you were an unbelievable bunch of people to undertake this with!
I also wanted to let you know that as a result of the swim, the party in Dec and individual donations, we’ve so far raised over £7000 in Guy’s name for IDDT. We want the money to be spent on educating children on how to manage their diabetes and we’re working with IDDT to determine how we can best spend the cash in order to achieve maximum impact. In the last couple of weeks IDDT have come up with a very exciting idea… I’ll update you on this when we’ve firmed things up a bit more.
Once again, a big thank you to all of you… you’re fab!
Swim Log – Dahab, Egypt Feb 2009:
Sunday 1st Feb… hmm the sea’s moving quite fast then…
Hotel is in an incredible location… Sea is right on the doorstep… Sitting on the beach looking at it now and I have to say its moving a lot faster and a lot more vigorously than I was expecting it to so I don’t think swimming in it will be a breeze! Really itching to get in and try but will wait for others to arrive I think as wouldn’t want to get lost at sea on day zero (Oi don’t call me a wimp!)
Monday 2nd Feb… you mean there are no lane lines in the sea and I can’t touch the bottom?
OK this is officially one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
This morning was tough… the sea was rough with biggish waves and it was a bit of an assault on all senses. The waves threw me a bit and I also had a seasick sensation when swimming with my head in the sea as it was so choppy… Swimming over a reef and going from very shallow to very deep is freaky and I got vertigo from that!!… Keeping track of where you are and also where the boat, the reef, the group and your destination is is also hard… And getting whacked in the face by waves of salt water every time you try to breathe is pretty yuck…
However John (one of the guides) suggested I use fins for a bit… that was perfect because it meant I could flip onto my back whenever I felt queasy or disorientated… chill… then flip back again and gradually I started to relax into it and stopped trying to fight the waves!
I’m really really glad to have done all that training as I’m not finding it physically hard at all yet which means I can focus on making friends with the sea…
Tuesday 3rd Feb… any rougher and they’d have pulled us out!!
Rough sea again today… Any rougher and they would have pulled us out so its a bit of a baptism of fire but hey if I can do this the rest will be fine!
I wasn’t terrified like yesterday… today I felt more in control… 2 issues I’m having are dealing with the motion of the big waves plus vertigo from being able to see the depth especially near the reef (and most of the swims are along the deep side of the reef!!)… Hopefully I’ll get used to that stuff in a couple of days. Judith and I swam together today and that was cool.. every time a big wave made me feel anxious I’d flip over and Judith would be there swimming over the peaks and troughs and her calm and consistent persistence was very inspiring!
Afternoon was lovely … swam across the Blue Hole, a famous dive site with loads of very pretty fish not scared of us at all!
Even though its tough and pushing me way way out of my comfort zone I am really enjoying this … Almost starting to love it in fact -:)
Wednesday 4th Feb… Camel Trek Day… Wow, how beautiful is this? … and Camel’s are cool!
Well today was just gorgeous !
Rode a camel for 3 hours to get there and back from the bit of coast we swam!!! That was huge for me as I have probs on horses!
Swim was wonderful… 2 x 2km swims today with not much wind so only very gentle waves… Sea beautiful with lovely fish and I felt really relaxed and could have swum for ages!
Hopefully me and the sea are becoming buddies -:)
Thursday 5th Feb… This is amazing… I just want to keep on swimming!
Swimming today was amazing… Excellent conditions and a couple of good long swims. I really got into the zone this afternoon and absolutely didn’t want to stop and can’t believe we only have one swimming day left! The sea is so lovely here…
I’ve been in the middle speed group with Judith and Molly since Monday afternoon and the last couple of days we’ve been naturally swimming at similar speeds and really working as a team… Its important as its sometimes a bit hard to stay on course when you’re swimming head down and in a rhythm and the current and waves change your direction without you realising it!
… Its good swimming side by side as you can see each other and hopefully one of the others will know where we’re going because I always seem to be heading for Saudi Arabia… followed by John shouting ‘Pamelaaaaaa!!! where are you going?’… or… ‘will someone go and get Pamelaaaa’…or the classic line today was: ‘Pamelaaa, darling, where are your support boats???’ to which I replied ‘Oh was I supposed to be swimming with those then??’ I’m blaming the luminous yellow swim hat for some of my more blonde moments this week!
Friday 6th Feb… Its all over!!!
Well that’s it… All swims complete… and now its all over awwww… but me and the sea are parting on very good terms and I reckon we’ll see each other again pretty soon!
It will be really sad to say good bye to the group too, we’ve laughed so much my jaw is aching… but I reckon we’ll def keep in touch!
This has been such an incredible experience in every way… I’ve run out of adjectives so the only thing I can say is woweeeeee!!