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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Try And Try Again, The Pain And Drive Of Explorers

Stephen Redmond sits on the shore of Tsugaru Channel, dreaming and envisioning constantly of completing the final hurdle of the Oceans Seven. "I have to get this done. Too many people have supported me on this," he said as his eyes gaze off across the Tsugaru Channel in Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

"What can I do? This place has it out for me."

That is apparently does. At least yesterday in a swim that started out promising. Two hours into his swim as he swam a steady pace, it seemed like all hell came loose. The smooth surface of the Sea of Japan, gently pushing Redmond toward his goal, turned into a turbulent mess that was compounded by a current estimated to be at least 5 knots.

If Redmond stopped if a feeding, he immediately moved away from boat like a man caught in a raging river. "He would swim right up to the escort boat, go vertical to stop for a feeding and then immediately get sweep at least one meter per second," explained friend and trainer Noel Browne who was on his boat. "We use a long rope attached to his water bottle and it snapped a few times within 2-3 seconds because he was being moved so quickly in the current."

"I can't go home," pleaded Redmond with an obviously deep sense of obligation to all those people who have supported his drive to complete 7 of the world's greatest channels. "I just can't. This place will be the death of me." That intense drive and profound sense of gratitude is indicative of the engine behind Redmond's pursuit of the Oceans Seven.

"What can I do?"

"He needs to swim faster in order to be able to cut across the Tsugaru Current" offered Steven Munatones who observed Redmond's third attempt at the 20 km waterway between Honshu and Hokkaido. "He needs to kick although I know he was fighting cramps in his legs. Although the distance is not great and the water temperature is very warm for a swimmer like Stephen, this channel requires as much speed as it does endurance. This is why he started on the extreme west of the channel with the plan that he would be naturally sweep eastward. However, he still needs the speed to get through the famed Tsugaru Current that runs through the middle of the channel. "It appears that the weather might clear, the winds will go down this weekend. Redmond will give it another try on the 14th, 15th or 16th with a swim most likely coming on the 15th," according to his boat captain Mizushima who has lived and fished on the channel all his life.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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