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Crossing the Catalina channel.

I swam for almost 8 hours in the pitch black of night.

Green glow sticks lit the silhouette of the sailboat on my left and the kayak on my right. The bioluminescence lit up the water as if I was gazing up into the multiverse.

Ferrying the crew to the island.

I met my crew at the Long Beach ferry terminal and we traveled over to Two Harbors on Catalina Island. Taking a window seat, I admired all the cranes stacking colorful grids of shipping containers. Giant ships stacked with the same colorful cargo containers littered the ocean farther than the eye could see.

Upon reaching the island we were greeted by a Jolly Roger and a hangman — all too appropriate, considering the Zatara (my observation boat) is normally crewed by lady pirates. I took a rest on a bench, and before I knew it, we were loading onto a dingy and zipping towards the Zatara. The observers went through the rules, and I was encouraged to rest some more.

It was time.

Ready, I adjusted my goggles and headed up to deck. With the guard rail unclipped, I jumped in. The water was warm at Doctor’s Cove, and I grabbed a rock for keepsake. Then, I cleared the water with my arm up, walked back in — and began to swim.

It was dark, but I felt good for a long while. And then, I was cold — and I stayed cold. I fell into a dark realm that was difficult to leave.

I was startled to see my swim buddy, and tried pacing with him, but the green light on his goggles were too bright. Cold and tired, I felt hungry. A kayak change happened but I was too cold to wait and began to drift off into the abyss. My crew yelling at me to come back, I did as I was told. When the sun rose, I felt hopeful.

I wasn’t about to give up.

Even when I thought I couldn’t go on, I pushed and kicked harder. Pain ran deep — it had been for hours — but that didn’t matter. Delighted to see my swim buddy once more, I was soon alone again before I knew it. With only a mile left to go, I gave the swim everything I had, while crawling through the seaweed.

Smugglers Cove.

A wave caught me off guard, but I stood up and begin to run ashore. I touched the golden cliff of Smugglers Cove and fell to the ground. Quickly again I stood up, knowing that the after-drop was going to take me. I get back through the waves and my kayaker tows me through the kelp forest, back to the Zatara.

I swam the Catalina channel in an unofficial time of 12 hours and 18 minutes.

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