Monday, April 14, 2008

Pulau Kapas Swimathon 2008

Truth be said, I was mentally prepared for the race, but was looking at it from a holiday point of view.
The trip is just meant to chill out from the hustle and bustle of KL. As for timing, I was aiming for sub 3 hours.

This time the bus trip was way better than last years smoke filled air. Most of us were able to sleep while on the trip to Merang jetty. At arrival, we did the usual registration (rm 50) a tad more expensive than last year. While waiting for our boat, it was great to chat with usual and new friends found. The ones I have met include Yeoh, Phyllis, Wai wai, Vincent and gf, Joe and family, the S guy (you know who you are), Asmov (Dr Ray's fren), Ngae, Jacky, Leonard (finally met in person), Mejar Kalam, Leong, Fredie, Sue and Andy, Han, and Zulhassan. The new comers were anxious for sure.

We were bunched up in Makcik Gemuk resort. It's a bit walking distance to the jetty, but has quite a bit to offer in terms of beach, and beauty. Remarkably, the sea surrounding the area has some nice fishes, and some corals. Not as nice as Redang, but the usual Parrot fish, damsels, green chromis, Nemo, anemones, sea urchins are to be found. The sun was scorching hot, but Vincent, Asmov, and I headed for some exploration on the northern side of the island. Across the tip was another resort build on a smaller island, which I think it's within swimmable distance. I did have a thought of crossing over, but didn't have the guts to do so.

Alright, as for the briefing, we were told, there was 2 starting buoys, and a police marine ship will be stationed midway. There was also going to be another buoy 200 meters from the finishing line. And there's a big red balloon hanged high up above the area. Now, this year, I tried to set my own strategy on direction, and not blindly following others. From the island, one can almost find the location of the balloon. But that's not enough. I remembered where the slope of the background mountain was, just in case I can't find the balloon. It would serve invaluable later. There was also the issue of water current going southwards. I concluded that it's best to angle 10 degrees north from the finishing area, to compensate for current.


Dinner, however was a dissappointment. I think it could have been better. While eating, they had a video on TV, showing last years kapas event. You could see the waves were really crashing on last years swim.

D-day. 5.00 sharp, and we were out heading for carbo loading breakfast. I had some eggs, rice, but didn't really eat too much. There was much fanfare as swimmers were branded with black marker numbers, like a bunch of cows for slaughter. I did a few dips in the ocean to acclimatise with the water temperature. It was not really that cold. As usual Mr Chan introduced a few popular swimmers (Kimberley Yap, Mr Han for veteran, and an Austrian guy pro ironman Elmar Schuberth).

As the gun went pop, 196 swimmers embraced the ocean for a long journey across. I started slow. The sea was rough, and kept pushing back. I tried to find a right consistent pace in the midst of swimmers and high waves. As I reached the 1st buoy in around 20 minutes, I was a bit elated. That means 1.2km covered. But instead of gunning for the second buoy, I set my sight on the tiny red balloon. I knew where it was, so the rest of the buoys were not that important.

I did some lookup for direction correction, and true enough, I was drifting southwards. So, I tried to make sure I swam while aiming higher up the landing.

As I reached the second buoy, I tried to scout for other swimmers, but the most I could see was 1 or 2 swimmers. Where was the others? Rather than panic, I keep on doing strokes. Once in awhile, I would bump into another swimmer.

Now we were told the marine police boat is stationed midway. However, I found out that this would be terribly misleading. It was actually moving. If you were targeting the boat, you would have been tricked. It would be like shooting a moving target. And yes, knowing where you need to land is the best bet. So I ignore the moving boat.

As I swam, beneath me, the sea offers quite a spectacular view. There were numerous bright blue dots, flashing from beneath. It look as though the sea was filled with blue dust floating all around. There was the occasional cloud of annoying sea bugs. Nothing much I could do except cursing.

Funny, at this point, I was feeling strong. And the sea calmed down. I was able to swim strongly and kept on pushing. As the balloon got bigger, I could hear the announcer spoke. It means I was really close. It was so close, I could see the sandy beach 1 meter deep, but I kept on stroking hard, as the guy next to me was doing breaststroke. When I couldn't paddle anymore, I jumped and hopped across the water to finish. It was great, as I did it in 2 hr 21 minutes, so much better than 3:42 last year.

Vincent Tiong did a superb 2:04, while Ngae did 2:26 if I am not mistaken. As I scanned the horizon, I could see how far to the south some swimmers had drifted, from the outline of kayaks surrounding the swimmers.

This year swimathon proved to be the most finishers, 191 out of 196. It had been a blast.


==

Sunrise at Merang jetty..


Vincent Tiong, and myself...he's one damn fast runner.



yy...who just practically "slept" through the course...




No turning back....

Welcome to pulau kapas....





This is where we swim....and the landing area lies left of the triangle shaped mountain.


paradise...paradise...paradise...



the calm before the swim....

It's far...really...

Sue..who won 3rd prize....

Elmar Schuberth from Austria winning his category.

Mr Jacky...

Kimberley Yap...the fastest swimmer overall.

Mr Han winning the mens veteran..



This is how the sea looks at the beach...quite calm.

18 comments:

zulhassan said...

i am anxious.thanks to u yip sebab bagi few tips.Selamat gak aku dan taniah, masa ko memang hebat.

Anonymous said...

hey this eric yip ur bro, wow cool man u getting impove. Wish u could break another record bext time.Gambate Chya

Anonymous said...

If last year the current slowed us 30minutes, this year if you navagated it smartly, can save 30minutes on the swim. It was fun as expected. S

yipwt said...

zul,

congrats on finishing the swim. Hope you'll be more experience next year.

Hi bro,
thanks...wanna try to swim?

hi s,
Nice meeting you there. I agree on the current. I think it did some how helped if you know your way :)

Lets go for a 84km run sometime this month or next.

galnexdor said...

hi...i just found out ure the impossible is null guy..:)
nice meeting u at KL the other day. i pop by this blog once in a while. now that i know you i'll pop by more...:)

so you're going for sundown? i think i'm done with marathons for a while...haha i'll do standard chartered in december la.

Anonymous said...

Keep on swimmin..keep on swimmin...wonder what was going on in our minds during the 6.5k swim (besides the blue kelip-kelips floating around).

LOL

Nice pics you have there, mate ! Keep in touch, and hope to see you at AFamosa !!

Andy & Sue

yipwt said...

hi karen,

Sundown am going for 84k, once you are bored with marathons, you might want to run further :)

sue & andy,
Sue, congrats for finishing 3rd. that's very very fast. I was just thinking of landing on the other side asap.

Raymond said...

Well Done!
The most important is u really enjoyed the race as can see from the report n pics taken.Hey,i remembered I actually waded across another island some time ago,it was quite adventurous,u guys shud try it that day or did u?

yipwt said...

raymond,

Thanks. Was thinking of crossing over. The distance is around 700 meters only. It's definitely reachable, but I don't think swimming alone will be a good idea.

If you are going kapas next year...we could try it.

Anonymous said...

The other island north from Kapas is named Gem Island. It has one nice resort, like 4* small place, 3 small beaches. Swim to it, don't walk, as tons of coral and sea urchins. I stayed there last year and kayaked and snorkeled to it this year. S

cRAzYtoMatOmaN-D said...

hey ultraman yip!
congrats! could see that you really had a 'kaw-kaw lat' swim.
blue fun ya? hehe!

Raymond said...

I swear to go next year after seeing u guys having hell of fun this year!If not my greediness of wishing to get that bloody backpack which was not existence this yr fr larian oren,i would hv boarded the bus to fantasy with u guys hahaha

le_runner said...

Well done !!

Your timing rocks me !!
Hope to join this event next year...

...and see ya in sundown !!

yipwt said...

hi tomatoman,

Good luck in A Fomosa...

Raymond, if u swim..sure sub 2 hour

Hi victor,...sure..come join us next year..

Anonymous said...

hey dude~ i cant believe i found your blog here... cool. remember me? ck here. i met you last year too. But i didnt finish last year, i think this year is much easier coz of current is quite ok. anyway, you can message me whizzkid_cool@hotmail.com. Talk to you soon dude!

sgloong said...

congrats Yip... looks like the distance is doable eh....

yipwt said...

hi ck...congrats on finishing...yep...i think it's the current issue. But moreover, you had the experience last year, so mentally, it'll be doable this year.

Enguene, sure it is...trylah next year.

Dancing Ciken said...

wowww congrats yip! crazy!