Sunday, April 12, 2009

Kapas Marang Swimathon 2009: Rough Seas

Reaching pulau kapas...

From the usual marang jetty...

We were bunched up in Makcik Gemuk resort...guess what...I met the real owner and she's not really gemuk.


Decided to go kayaking...with Bujal...kind of impromptu. We were just hoping not to capsized..not because we don't have life jackets...but we have phones with us.

Destination Pulau Gemia..which is a privately owned island.

There's one resort here...

The front pool is a man made pool with seawater pumped in..

Finally reaching...the water beneath is teeming with soft corals...and also fishes. Extremely clear.

Some sea turtles eating a fish head...You could hold them...

The other side of pulau gemia

After finishing the tough swim...went observing the rest coming in.

The waves were really crashing in. I could only stand, when reaching the shore line, and not a few meters back as last year.

This dude is smilling. Must have been happy to just see the arch.

Stupe...after 4 hours...well done.

He was surprised to see most of us. Shazly finished the race as well.

Kam in the kayak. He had been out there, kayaking from Kapas and escorting swimmers all the way.


This years swimathon started with a bit surprise. I think the first two buoys were lost during the night. I wasn't worried about the navigation because, roughly I knew where to land. But I was concerned with the new guys doing this. Navigation is top priority, because once you are out there alone, you'll need to know exactly where to go.

After the usual Mr Chan's introduction of eminent swimmers, we were all let go for a long swim back Marang. Initially, as usual, bumping with other swimmers. We were supposed to use the marine boat as replacement for the first 1 or 2 km. I've set my sights on some mountain landmark, so I didn't bother much with following others or the marine patrol boat.

The seas wasn't rough for the first 3 or 4km. Nor was there lots of sea lice. No jellyfish encountered. All I saw was green water ahead. I was pedalling at a fast and strong rate, which I was surprised that I was able to sustained. I think it was the high heart rate zone I've been pushing myself into. It did help as I was not tired. Able to catch up with some swimmers at the front. And I did look back just to see if anyone's following. Some did.

But I soon realized I was heading too far north of the landing point when a boat came and one of the men asked me to head towards the canopies. What canopies? Then I scanned the horizon, and saw small white dots all aligned, and finally saw the red big balloon. Ok, so I've been swimming too far right.

So I set my direction a bit to the left, and powered on. I was hoping to make it before 2 hours.

With 2km to go, I think, I could really see the balloon hanging. But here is where it gets worse. I pedalled strongly, but it seems like I can't move forward, or moving slowly. And I was drifting way left of the landing. This seems weird...

I knew then, the current was pushing us south and maybe out towards the sea. It would be a battle to just cut through. So, I jammed in the hands for a higher gear, and soon some progress was seen. As I inch closer, the waves was 1.5 meters high, and was crashing down.

Finally I got my footing on the beach. Glad that was over. My time was 2 hour 35. Last year's was 2:21. With this kind of condition, I think it is pretty ok.


Later I was out scanning the sea with Shazly, Azmar, and Upiq looking out for the rest of the swimmers. The current was so strong, I think the furthest swimmers was pushed 3km south from the landing point! And we saw rescue boats dropping off those who can't make it. Even kayaks were overturned by the furious waves.

Finally Nurina made it back. She said she was like 1km from the landing but the current has pushed her out. Stupe made it back in 4 hours. But mostly for first timers, it was not a day to be.
Oh well, next year then :)

Video showing swimmers coming back after being rescued. The sea was the roughest I have seen so far in 3 years.


zulhassan said...

cograt yip... boringnya tahun ni tak leh nak join korang swim. Tahniah buat semua yang tamat atau tidak.

Simon said...

Great job, sounds tough.

Upiq said...


To finish with the timing in such atrocious condition is truly an amazing feat...

You are strong...

yipwt said...


This year very tough...I pity the first timers.

Exceptionally tougher this year. Come join next year.

Not strong la...just managed to survive. By the way...well done. Next year try again.

Raymond said...

sounds scary. u did a great time! Well done!