Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pulau Kapas Swimathon 2007: The Swim

Every journey has a starting point. And to go to Marang Terengganu, it's a bus. KL swimmers who opt to choose the bus, gathered at Pasar Rakyat 11pm. The bus journey proves that besides the 6.5km swim, we swimmers have to endure 8 hours of breathing diesel fumes. Yep, bad luck sitting at the back of the bus.

(nice morning view at the jetty)

We reached marang jetty at about 7am, weary and tired (not enough sleep). Then we all headed to have some breakfast at some stalls nearby. Oh ya, if you ever go to Terengganu, you have to try out nasi dagang. Besides that, I got one bottle of mineral water. It's double the price on kapas island, so might as well get one here.

(before boarding the boat...)

(Mr Supra & me...he's the guy I followed most of the swim.)

(on our boat ... no turning back.)

At around 9am, more buses arrived from JB, and we had ourselves registered. Participation was RM 40.00. Then we gathered our stuff, and head to the jetty to board a speed boat to kapas island. We only had one way ticket to kapas. The other ticket is...swim. :)

Halfway to kapas, there was a marine naval ship. We asked why they need to do checking, and the boat skipper mentioned some check needed to be done on the number of passengers. Good
thing about that, since there's been a few accidents involving ferry boats in the past.

(pulau kapas from afar..."swim this far? hell no")

The boat ride was not that long, perhaps like 15 minutes. It was very fast, at times, the boat flew over air and crashed on the next wave. And looking at the side of the boat, at the passing sea, reminds me what I need to go through.

(reaching the jetty...nice beach)

Once on land, we get ourselves to the accomodation center. And at this part, I think I've got to consider myself lucky. Abang Jo, another veteran swimmer has booked the place earlier. And we got ourselves a chalet nearby to the starting point, plus aircond. For folks who want to come here, I advised better get a chalet with aircond, and some mosquito repellant. The mosquitos are huge, and very hungry.

(me at the jetty....)

(lots of fishes in the sea...)

(the starting point...)

(there's a scuba class going on..)

(a view of the other side...)

The island was nice, with crystal clear water, and lots of fishes at the jetty. There were some corals nearby shore. Some of us tried swimming at around noon. But there's one thing I did not expect when going into sea. It's sea lice. It's so small you can't see it. But if you get stung, it's kind of like a sharp mosquito bite. Pretty harmless, depending on your body reaction. You might get bad rashes if your body overreactes. So that cut short my exploration in the sea. It's just too annoying. Once you are in water, they will sting.

We had some briefing at 4pm. Mr Chan, who is one of the main organiser, gave some tips on what to do, and what not to do. There's one rule to remember, your swim will be disqualified if you didn't land at the right location at the mainland (pantai kelulut...not a nice name). So you just can't swim to the shore, and run back to the finish line :)

After the briefing, I had some fun swim in the sea. Met with some other swimmers as well. The mood was kind of positive for everyone.

At 7:30pm, we had dinner. Everyone was eating a huge portion, including myself. Swimming 6.5km needs it's better to carbo load...

Morning comes, and we had breakfast at 5:30am, and registered at 6:30am. So all swimmers got some numbers written at their body. Mine was 295.

(monkeying around at the registration..)

(better eat your powerbar...)

(small banner for the swim...)

7:30am, and we all started the long swim to the other side. I tried to tread slowly in the water, as there were sharp corals beneath. Don't want to get hurt now.

My goal was to finish, with no target timing as this is my first. So I swam at a moderate pace. Luckily not many sea lice, although there were, but not enough to hurt so much.

At first, I could see the bottom of the sea, some corals & fishes. But after that, it was all sand. And soon, I can't see a thing. Just bottomless green ocean. I tried to stave off the thought of cramping, and just focusing on swimming instead.

At first, there were a bunch of us swimming, but soon I found out the group swimmers has thinned considerably. Those fast ones, would have easily gone forward. At one point, my swimming cap went off, and a few swimmers alerted me. I had to get a kayaker to help put it back on. It's for safety purpose.

When reaching the buoy (there's 4 of them), I saw that there's actually a powerbar advertisement on it...So you know what, everytime after that, I just put it in my mind....get the next powerbar...err..not buoy. Good subconcious advertising.

In the middle of the swim, you can actually feel waves passing by. So to look at the next buoy, you have to wait a few times for the wave to pass, then only you can spot it.

After the forth buoy, there's another 1.7km. They had mentioned a big red ballon was up. But at this distance, I can hardly discern the location. So I just put the faith of finding the way by following the front swimmers. At least following somebody is better than alone. The waves were getting stronger. Good thing I had reserved most of my energy. Overcoming the waves would require harder strokes. And there's only 1 or 2 swimmers at the front.

The shoreline started to get bigger and bigger, and soon I could see the balloon. It was like a tiny speck, but that tiny speck is a big difference in direction. But it's one thing to know your direction, and to swim at the same target. Waves would change your course, and if you don't look up again, you will find that you have gone the wrong direction. A few times, I saw swimmers going the wrong direction.

Finally after some time, I could clearly see the beach, and landed on shore. The waves were crashing. It feels good to stand at the other side. So, to finish, I ran to the finish line, got myself in a t-shirt ( i have no idea why they require us to wear t-shirt before finishing), and had a medal on my neck..hehe...

My time was 3:42. It had been a great swim. Just looking back at Kapas island, makes you wonder that it's no small feat.

Can't wait for next year...

( far far away...)


Raymond Hee said...

hey Steven!Excellent write up!!!
U did well for being a first timer,hope to catch up with u soon!

ana said...

Congratulations on your first Kapas Marang Swimathon. I salute all who even dared to do this race, finish or not;-)

Azman said...


I am in awe. 6km swim. Goodness... even hearing it is daunting enough. COngratulations!

steven said...

To ana & azman,

thanks for your comments... can do it one..hati mau kuat-kuat...yeah!

Steve said...

Congrats for sticking through it. I know it is a terribly unconfortable feeling to keep swimming, but once you are 4km out, what choice do you have! I had to paddle 25km in addition to swimming, so my neck and shoulders sore now.

yipwt said...

hi steve,

Glad you made it through too...

I had sore armpits..hehe...which i still have not figured out why...maybe too much paddling too.

Anonymous said...

I thought the french guy drafting Daniel was ethically incorrect

Boon Keat said...


Nice meeting u in this event. i will join it again next year. lets rock the sea again!

yipwt said...

hi anonymous,

drafting is actually allowed. Even in ironman.

Hi Boon keat,

Great meeting you there...yup...let's go again next year...hopefully can finish faster

Anonymous said...

Dear Yip WT
You have missed the point. I realise that drafting is not illegal in triathlon or ironman, but what I said was that I thought it was ethically incorrect. Daniel deserved to win having pulled the French man along for 6.5km, only to have the French man sprint past him at the finish line to beat him by one second. Do you know how much energy drafting can save? I plan to get drafting made illegal for this race next year. Count on it.

PrincessRen said...

sigh. i can never do this :( honestly. I can't even finish a 1 lap without stopping. huhu.. and i want so much to be a triathlete.

yipwt said...

hi princessren,

just start with training...sure can one...

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