DNOWS Header

Image Map

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Protective Cocoon Of An Escort Crew

Sitting in an escort boat observing Penny Palfrey attempt to swim 72 miles between the islands of Oahu and Kauai, we knew the distance was outlandishly far. If successful, Palfrey would rewrite all possibilities of channel swimming in Hawaii.

But for gigantic blooms of box jellyfish that arose to the surface at sunset and twice dashed her dreams, Palfrey was on pace to make the unprecedented 115 km crossing. Psychologically, Palfrey had to deal with not only marine life but also the enormity of the Pacific.

As we marveled at her audacity and abilities, we also experienced two different emotions out in the 10,890-foot deep (3,319 m) Kaieiewaho Channel. The first emotion was how insignificant and infinitesimal we felt between two relatively tiny dots of terra firma in the middle of the largest body of water on Earth. The Pacific seemed to swallow us up. The ocean below was miles deep; the closest islands were hours away; the sky above presented an infinity that was impossible for us to intellectually grasp.

We felt smaller than microscopically tiny. It was not even fair to make comparisons on the same scale as Mother Nature about our presence on the Kaieiewaho Channel.

Conversely, we felt safe at home on the 34-foot June Louise. We felt as one with the team that Palfrey put together: Jeff Kozlovich, Bill Goding, Chris Palfrey, and Captain Don Jones.

The June Louise rocked endlessly amid the enormous seas, but the decks on the boat were our oasis. While four men watched over an intrepid woman attempting to swim 72 miles battling against gigantic swells and wind-whipped turbulence, the boat and teamwork created a sanctuary, a protective cocoon. Looking out across the horizon from the confines of the boat, there were reasons to be nervous and worried. But looking in the eyes of our team focused on the relentlessly powerful strokes of Palfrey, there were ample reasons to feel safe and confident.

It was a remarkable paradox. On the surface, nerves were on edge. But deep within our hearts, we were enjoying the adventure even knowing that the unexpected could strike at any time. And immediately after sunset, the terrifying screams of Palfrey pierced the blackness like a celestial alarm. The venom of the box jellyfish, injected inhumanely via barbs into her waterlogged skin, was the instantaneous catalyst for action.

Hawaiian lifeguard Kozlovich who was paddling at her side when she was hit by the box jellyfish immediately stopped and got her over to the side of the boat within a minute EMT Goding assisted her onboard together with her husband Palfrey as Captain Jones stopped the engine and instigated emergency procedures.

In a blackness of night without any hint of light but the illumination on the boat, it was obvious that Palfrey had swum into a bloom of jellyfish as tentacles drenched every limb like icicles off a rooftop. Normally a stoic women with a tremendously high pain tolerance, the massive doses of venom were simply too much. "Get them off me!" she begged. "My skin is burning!" The full attention of the crew was to relieve her of this living hell.

Once her body was rid of the tentacles under the expert handling of Kozlovich and Goding, she was injected with an EpiPen and bundled up warmly as Captain Jones floored the engines for the long bumpy ride to Kauai. While the June Louise kept bouncing hard off each and every ocean swell as Captain Jones sped towards the closest harbor.

Ultimately, that protective cocoon we initially felt on deck was precisely the instrument that helped bring Palfrey safely to harbor. It was an illustrative example of how valuable an experienced crew can be out in the high seas.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA


WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB

FREE DOWNLOAD

INSTRUCTIONS:
Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine


Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
LEARN MORE

The Other Shore


The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
LEARN MORE...

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

SponsorMySwim.com

Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program