Bryan's Swim

from Catalina Island

Bryan’s Swim from Catalina Island

This would be Bryan’s final swim in the Triple Crown!
Manhattan Island and England Channel have already been completed.

The Catalina Channel Swim which represents a gruelling 20+ Mile Open Water Marathon Swim.
Bryan will depart Catalina Island at its northern tip and swim to Point Vicente Lighthouse, south of Los Angeles on the mainland, landing somewhere between the lighthouse and Long Point.

To date only about 150 people have ever completed this successfully.

greasing up

greasing up

THE FIVE CHALLENGES OF THE CATALINA CHANNEL SWIM As told on The Catalina Channel Swimming Federation website

While training for a Catalina Channel attempt, swimmers must consider how they intend to approach FIVE CHALLENGES that test an athlete’s stamina and courage. Each year, they witness swimmers make an unsuccessful attempt because they have not properly prepared. Some of those athletes overestimated their skills but underestimated these five challenges:

1. Distance
The Catalina Channel is a little more than 20-miles at its shortest distance.

2. Temperatures
Temperatures fluctuate in the Channel from one day to the next. Surface temperatures will change throughout the day – colder in the morning and warm under the afternoon sun. Also, they regularly see warmer water near the island. Often, the temperature will dramatically drop several degrees (and as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit –- a 5 Celsius change in temp) in the 3-miles nearest the California mainland.

Fred gets in on the action

Fred gets in on the action

3. Sea sickness
Before the swim begins, there is a two-hour plus boat ride to reach Catalina Island. Seasickness must be avoided during this trip. Nausea often incapacitates an athlete.

4. Night Swimming
A midnight start – avoiding the blustery afternoon winds, requires several hours of nighttime swimming. Vertigo and nausea are common complaints from swimmers and will compromise any attempt.

5. Currents
Currents are unpredictable and can be swift. The vast majority of Catalina crossings occur during neap tides, when it is believed the tidal currents will be minimal.

How did Bryan Prepare??

There were two main issues concerning Bryan for this swim:

1) The Waves. He knew from his practice on Venice Beach every day,  that the entry through the surf was quite an ordeal, as the waves were huge. Not just the height but in terms of how long it takes them to come in too. Following a 12 hour swim, Bryan is going to be a bit tired to say the least and to get through these waves to swim back to the boat at the end, will take quite some effort.

Getting out of the water on the other hand was going to be quite different. Bryan would normally ride the waves in to the beach, body surfing. This was not an option here as the breaking waves not only broke about 10 to 15 metres off shore, they carried the white surf quite some distance which caused the effect of pulling him down.

getting ready

getting ready

Bryan had also tried swimming in the early evening to give the training variety, but only to find out that in the afternoons the winds picked up and so did the waves. He had tried to swim in these afternoon waves but they had beaten him. Too large and too many.  What Bryan did not realise is that this session, which only laster 4 minutes, would plague him during his swim.

2) The ocean life. Not knowing what to expect or what he will face during his swim. But that is the case with all these long swims.

But with just over 24 hours to go, Bryan is ready, food is prepared and ready, Jody’s ready, boat ready, crew ready. We’re good to go!

7:15pm We met the rest of the swim crew, the other Official Observer; Dan (we had picked Mallory up on the way in the car) and the boat crew at the edge of the Marina.

The Support crew are:

the fabulous crew

the fabulous crew

Jody Fry – Swimmer Support
Forrest Nelson – Swimmer Support

Dan Simonelli – Official Observer
Mallory Mead – Assistant Observer

Dawn Brooks – Kayaker
Patricio Libenson – Kayaker

The Bottom-Scratcher – Boat
Greg, Brett & Danny pilots

Here is how the swim evolved

Thursday 15th October 2015

20:10 Following the safety briefing from Greg the skipper, we set off. He says it will take 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the start.

Dan did a safety talk to everyone once we were on the move and confirmed we all knew the rules for the swim. It gave us all a chance to ask questions and make sure we understood exactly what was involved.

22:15 We made good time on the boat trip but the seas were quite big and the water very choppy indeed.
Bryan got greased up with vaseline (it’s to stop chaffing – not to keep him warm) and he prepared to enter the water
Patricio got his Kayak in to the water. It was dark. Very dark. Even though there was a new moon it was a pitch black sky.

little green dot

little green dot

22:30  Bryan entered the water and swam to the island. Greg had a huge spotlight on the Bottom Scratcher that he shone on Bryan all the way to the shore.

The water was crystal clear, he could see the bottom, the fish and the kelp, and as he got closer the kelp got closer until he was swimming so close it was almost touching him.  Lynne Cox had mentioned about the kelp so Bryan was prepared for this.

22:35 Bryan cleared the waterline on the island.
Upon reaching shore he got out turned around, paused for a moment to take in what he was about to do, and wondered “why do I do this?”

22:37  Bryan gave the signal he was ready and off he went,
A few strokes and then bang! Bryan hits the kayaker. It was so dark it was hard to see anything, even though the kayaker was covered in glow sticks and lit up like a Christmas tree

Okay. Back swimming again and this time, every time his hands entered the water, the bioluminescent plankton that his hands went though – lit up. It was quite magical and he was memorised by the blue colours and how they passed through his hands. It’s a shame that none of this could be seen at all from the boat.

To Bryan, what was also apparent was how bioluminescent plankton made the water come alive. The crystal clear waters were so dark but it was still impossible to see anything in the water underneath him, which was quite a concern for the first couple of hours. It does go though your mind during the long swim, WHAT IF? and what would you do.  To be honest it is your own fear that worries you more so, and the fear that others have that get passed on to you.  But being in the water, in the dark, bioluminescent plankton all around you it does start your mind wandering. This is the struggle that all long distance swimmers face and have to conquer.

feeding time

feeding time

23:10 1st feed. 150ml of SIS orange
Stroke count 53
Bryan gave a score for how he was feeling as 10/10

23:40 2nd feed. 150ml of SIS blackcurrant
Stroke count 51
Bryan gave a score for how he was feeling as 10/10

Dawn and Mallory are asleep below as they will take the second shift
Forrest says we have covered 2 miles which is excellent

It’s now Friday 16th October

00:20 Jody went for a quick sleep after the last feed, and having gone through the next two hours of the feed programme with Forrest who would take over until she came back, she figured this soon into the swim was the best strategy and she would be more awake for support if Bryan needed it later.

Soon after his next feed, the shelter provided by Catalina Island faded and the wind came in from the west causing the swell of the waves to pick up, and after another feed the rest of the crew decided it was safer for Bryan to feed from the Kayak as the boat being tossed around by the waves too much.

first feed

first feed

Unbeknown to the crew on the boat, Bryan was starting to have problems.  With the swell of the waves coming from behind him, for him it had the the effect of being picked up by the waves, carried for a short while and then being dragged down.  Which felt like the waves were pulling him under. This was happening time and time again. It felt like he was being swallowed by the ocean.  With the training on Venice beach and the huge waves pulling him under this started a catalyst of events in his head, no longer was he thinking straight.  He stopped and wondered where Jody was and was told she was resting below. He asked for her to come up straight away.

01:45 Coincidentally Jody woke up at this time and was back on deck feeling much better.
Forrest updated her on the last 90 minutes and on Bryan’s state of mind. Saying he had been fighting some demons.

Now Bryan was swimming in the dark, and bad thoughts were going through his head.  But the swim was beautiful, it was dark the stars from Orion’s belt in the sky gave him direction and the bioluminescent plankton was still shining in the waters

02:37 This was the 4hour mark and time for Bryan to take a longer break as he fed.

It was also time for the Kayakers to swap over as they must take a break every 4 hours.

Dawn was due to take over and had intended to just use the kayak that Patricio had been using as it was already in the water. However, Patricio told Dawn that it would need bailing out as the rough waves had caused the Kayak to take on water. It wasn’t in danger of sinking but there was rather a lot of it in there.

This meant a last minute change of mind and they decided to put Dawns dry kayak in.

Forrest Dan & Dawn

Forrest Dan & Dawn

It also meant a much longer change over and Patricio didn’t give Bryan any feed before he got out. Not realising it was because he had run out, as we had given him enough for several feeds, there was a lot of shouting from Bryan about where his feed was understandably, but also with the commotion on board trying to get Patricio and his kayak out and Dawn and her kayak in, it was a couple of minutes before Dawn could get to him with his next feed.

Meanwhile in the water, everything seemed like chaos to Bryan. People shouting on the boat, the kayakers all over the place and what was worse was Bryan shouted to the support, “Where is my food, HELLO remember me I’m the swimmer?”  The boat was being thrown around by the waves and as such the crew and kayakers were having a hard time, this was the first change over and it wasn’t going well.

In terms of the feeding plan it meant that we just had to make a slight adjustment to the plan to bring it back into order.

In terms of Bryan, it meant that he was stressed by the commotion and because he didn’t get his feed straight away. Unfortunately, he could not understand at that point why the exchange took so long and why we were all shouting. The noise from the engines was so loud we could only make ourselves heard on the boat by shouting to each other, and the strong wind had made taking the kayaks in and out difficult as they were being blown around so badly.

feeding station

feeding station

Jody had been unable to make herself heard by him also. So once the swim was underway again, she had a word with Dan the Observer and asked that we could nominate one person to talk to the kayaker next time.

Down at the water level, Bryan thought the commotion was everyone arguing and he was upset by it. Even though it wasn’t true.

Jody & Forrest also decided that the feeds should now switch back to the boat but we had given Dawn plenty of gel packs as these are easier to give Bryan from the kayak.

There are messages coming in on Facebook now as England is waking up.

Good Luck”  from Cheryl

03:10  This feed was much smoother and very calm. Jody made sure it was!
Bryan gave a 7/10 for how he was feeling.

Jody & Dawn

Jody & Dawn

03:40 This feed should have been flat coke but the feed got lost when the lid came off the top of the bottle and mixed with the salt water of the sea.
Bryan took some SIS instead and we will make sure he gets that next feed.
Bryan gave an 8/10
Stroke count 50

The water temperature is 74 degrees

“Good Luck Bryan, we are with you all the way – Mum & Dad
“Good Luck Bryan” – Cathryn Robbins
“Have a great swim Bryan, One stroke at a time” – Richard Dutton

Shona McMaster Bruce, Joan Fowler, Wowsie Baldwin, Collyn Brohier, Mum, Dad, Cheryl Ann Payne, Stephanie Hamilton, Andrew Smith & Steve Williams have all liked your facebook thread and are following you.

You also had several people following you on the tracker.

The rest of the crew are all taking shifts; the current crew is Mallory, Dawn, Jody, Forrest & Brett. Everyone else is sleeping.

The wind has dropped a lot now and the sea is much calmer. Not flat, but calmer.

04:00 Bryan asked for a gel feed. He didn’t take one at his last feed of SIS so i’m not surprised he needs one now before his next feed is due,

The Bottom Scratcher - the name of the boat

The Bottom Scratcher – the name of the boat

04:10  Bryan said he was not feeling to good, cramp and not getting in to his stroke were the main problems. He rested up on his back for a couple of minutes & then carried on.

Then he hit a bad patch.

It lasted for an hour and he had us all worried

Bryan stopped swimming.

Jody went to the edge of the boat to talk to him and he complained he didn’t feel right. He wasn’t feeling the swim and he wanted to stop.

STOP!! We couldn’t let him do that. He had been going 6 hours and was more than half way. Of course if he did stop we would think no less of him but more importantly, Jody knew if he did stop, 10 minutes on the boat and he would feel terrible about stopping and would deeply regret it.

Jody managed to persuade him to give it another half an hour and we would talk about it then.

But then he complained again about cramp in his feet. Was this real or was it in his head. It seemed as if he was making it up just to stop.

Dawn - great kayaker

Dawn – great kayaker

This time it was big time wanting to stop for Bryan. He spoke to Dawn the kayaker and said he needed to stop. Dawn rightly asked, “what do you need? Shouting at? Encouragement?”
Bryan just did not know, all he knew was that he wanted to stop and give up.  Dawn said to Bryan, “but what about the ending, what are you going to do?”

On board Greg the Captain asked Jody if playing his bagpipes would help cheer him up and Jody said yes please – Bryan would love that. Greg gave us a few minutes of Scotland The Brave as we bobbed up and down in the dark. If it hadn’t been such a desperate attempt to try and cheer Bryan up it would have been funny.

We also gave him some of his beloved Jelly Babies that Jody had brought from England for him, and that picked him up a bit too.

Down in the dark water Bryan heard the bagpipes playing on the boat. This really did pick him up and pushed Bryan on for 30 minutes to the next feed.

We started verbally relaying the messages people had sent through to him on Facebook which also seemed to help. Knowing that he wasn’t alone in the water, that everyone was with him, also seemed to help. Unfortunately the people he really wanted messages from; his children, were not there and that made him very sad.

He swam a bit longer but during this period Bryan could not stop from worrying about the crashing waves on the shore and the large rocks that he would have to face at the end of the swim, more importantly he would be very tired. Now this was playing a big part of his troubles and messing with his head.

Dan - the official observer

Dan – the official observer

04:30 Bryan is determined to stop.

He stopped once again, this time floating on his
back, looking up and the stars wondering “what the hell am I doing here? I’m not ready for this swim, I can’t keep going for another 6 to 8 hours like this”.

He turned around and started to head for the back of the boat and said he was getting out.

Jody begged him not to as he had never quit on any challenge before. Jody pleaded “please don’t stop”.
Someone opened the back of the boat as if to say, come on Bryan it’s over.
Then Jody shouted to him, “You’ve never given up on anything before and you’ve never failed anything you’ve attempted before so don’t start now”.

That was the turning point.

Something got through to him and he is carrying on. Bryan set off again for another 30 minutes.

Although Bryan has a rule not to talk to him whilst he was swimming as it distracts him. Jody felt he needed distracting from whatever was going on in his head. Of course at this time she didn’t know what was going on in his head but every now and again she would shout out something she hoped he would find encouraging.

She yelled to him (remember it’s very noisy so yelling at this point was the only way to be heard) that soon the sun would be up and everything would feel so much better in the light. Of course she knew that sunrise was still one and half hours away but Bryan didn’t. We just had to get him through whatever demons were gnawing away at him.

By now we had stopped asking the question about a score out of 10 for how he was feeling as it seemed a bit of a waste of time. He had made it quite clear how he was feeling.



Jody asked around on the boat to see if there was a music system we could play to him. She thought that playing some music would distract him from the demons but unfortunately, there was none on board.

05:40  Feeding time again, this time the strong currents caused the boat to do a complete 180 spin and when Bryan and the kayaker set off again, they were heading back to Catalina!

Everyone on the boat shouted, “WRONG WAY”, they doubled back and the boat did a huge circle around them to go in the right direction too.

We kept urging him on; telling him to look for the sun rise. Jody said to Forrest that she hoped to goodness this was not going to be the one day the sun chose not to rise and make her out to be a liar. We were just stretching the when a little bit.

All the time Bryan was thinking where is this sun?  It was cloudy and grey at around 6am, no sunrise, not that it could be seen.  At this point you could see nothing, no main land, no Catalina, the lighthouse had gone.  Bryan asked Forrest, how far? Forrest held up 5 fingers.  Bryan wondered, five feeds? five miles? five hours? five what?
What ever it was it was still a long way to go.

Bryan could also feel his neck chaffing now, due skin on skin with his arms. He changed his stroke to stop the rubbing which seemed to help – until his stroke returned back to normal and started to rub again.

come on Bryan

come on Bryan

06:10 Finally the sun has started to lighten the sky. Sorry Bryan we didn’t know it would take this long. Keep going you’re doing really well.

At this feed Bryan gave a 9/10. That’s more like it Bryan!
We checked his stroke count as he seems to be in a better place now and it is back up to 53. Yeahy!

From the water, Bryan could finally see the greyness of the sky and the shore could just about be seen. He felt his stroke was good and his feeding was good.

Sunrise was good!

06:40 At this feed Bryan also gave a 9/10. Come on Bryan!

07:10 At this feed he gave an 8/10 as he is starting to feel tired
His pace is a steady 55

You’re looking good Hunny!

07:40 Bryan had his rice pudding at this feed.
He also said he wants a feed every 20 minutes from now on as he could feel his energy levels dropping.  This worked out really well and gave the final boost for what Bryan needed.

At this point, Jody who hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday, decided to grab her pizza left over from yesterday’s dinner. And someone else has wolfed it!
She couldn’t find it anywhere and no one was owning up to it either! Grrr!!
She did manage to grab her first cup of tea in over 36 hours though. Phew!

come on Bryan

come on Bryan

08:00 On the dot for the next feed – sugar water and a gel pack
Bryan gave 8/10

08:20 Next feed & land seems so close now. That’s alright for those of us who aren’t swimming it to say of course.
Bryan took SIS blackcurrant
His stroke count is holding at 52

More facebook messages. Now it’s light we can hold them up on the white board for him to read.

“Good Luck Bryan, what a crazy man xx” – Helga Davis

“Good Luck Bryan, you can do it xxxx” – Deb Hunt
“You must be within touching distance, stretch stretch xxxx” – Lorraine Mackie

“Go Bryan, one hand in front of the other until it’s over!” – Douglas McConnell
“Go Bryan, Good Luck” – Barbara Eulert

More people are following you too; Kevin Harper & Joe Chin (your pilot on the MIMS)

08:40 Bryan had mango shake and gave 8/9 out of 10

08:55 Dolphin sighting right behind you.
It circled before swimming off
Even the dolphins are egging you on now too.

09:00 SIS orange – 8/10

misty shores

misty shores

09:20 Bryan wanted hot tea at this feed but it came open & got wasted.
Not going to use those bottles any more.

09:27 More hot tea ready. Jody tasted it and added cold water but Bryan said it was still too hot for him as his tongue is super sensitive due to all the salt water it has taken on.

Two miles from shore and Forrest said the currents are strong here and you’ll need to push through.  Bryan’s head went down and for the next hour he picked up his stroke and did not look up except to feed.

09:40 Banana shake. Bryan gave 8/10

Dan also had a short conversation with Bryan about whether he was peeing often.
It might seem like a weird thing to talk about but with taking all this fluid on, it is important to pee often to avoid kidney problems. Bryan says he has peed. TMI we know!

“Keep rotating, eat more custard!” – Lorraine Mackie

10:00 Custard and more sugar water to feed – Bryan gave an 8/10

Everyone else is up now – no one sleeping below decks.
We can all sense the finish is near.

Patricio is kneeling up on his kayak and sitting on odd positions. He is probably getting a stiff bottom!

Forrest & Jody chatted about the Indonesian boat trip. You remember that. As soon as Jody started to talk about it, it brought the smell of that boat straight back. YUK!

another feed

another feed

“Bryan, excited for your swim, proud of the turn around you made at 5 in the morning. Working with Jody has been a treat. 
The winds didn’t quite cooperate as much as they could have, they gusted thru a lot of the night. It didn’t seem to bother you so when you hit a mental low before sunrise, i was caught off guard. 
On a personal note, your feeds look utterly disgusting though i do have a soft spot for flat coke!
That and day old pizza! Could sustain me for a channel!
Cheers” – Forrest

10:30 It is now time for the kayakers to swap over again.
However, Dawn does not know these waters and beaches as well as Patricio, so Dan decided Patricio should stay in until the end.

Patricio told Jody later that he was so tired and achy he had been kneeling to try and stop himself from going completely dead from the bottom up and had been so looking forward to the shift change and had been counting down the minutes!
He understood the reason for not swapping though and was happy to go to the end
Sorry Patricio  🙁

10:40 Custard & mouthwash this time – not together though.  Bryan is getting through a lot of custard and Jody dashes to the galley to make more.
The mouthwash helps with the salt overload in his mouth.

Forrest was just telling Dan how well Jody had been throwing the bottles in, when she threw the mouthwash in and hit Bryan on the head! Whoops!
Just testing his reflexes really 🙂

This is the 12 hour mark.

Bryan wants rice pudding again next feed.

11:00 Nope – he just took a gel from the kayak. Saving the rice pudding for when you get out eh Bryan?

Hulk Hogan or Custard Beard???

Hulk Hogan or Custard Beard???

Cheryl sends her love and hopes you finish soon xxx

“Bryan, it’s been an honour to observe your swim. You’ve been doing a stalwort job of fighting the continuous south current. 
You’re almost there now”
– Dan

Bryan, all swims have exciting challenges. Congratulations on overcoming them to FINISH!!!
Listening to my singing on the kayak and bagpipes! @ 4am
Good luck on your next adventure”
– Dawn Brooks

11:10 Mallory has entered the water with him now.
The boat stays half a mile from shore as it can’t get any closer because of the rocks.
As Mallory got in to the water, Forrest distracted Jody so Patricio could kayak back to the boat and pick up Bryan’s red dry-bag.

Mallory is swimming to the finish line with Bryan to motivate him on and to assist with exiting the water. The waves here can be huge and and injuries are common as swimmers are at their most tired as they get out. She will help him judge the waves safely. We hope!

Mallory in to spur him on to the finish

Mallory in to spur him on to the finish

Everyone has gone to the front of the boat to watch Bryan, Mallory & Patricio go to shore. Forrest urged Jody right to the front for a better view. She doesn’t see what difference a few feet make this far away but obliges him anyway.

Bryan now made a big push for shore. Patricio was encouraging Bryan to swim near him as he would guide him in safely.  Bryan and Mallory could now see the shore line, and also see the waves crashing on to the rock at the edge of the cove, they rose up some 10 meters into the sky. These were no small waves.

Bryan’s fears grew stronger that the exit was not going to be easy and that he would get hurt.

On board the boat, everyone seems concerned that Jody has her camera with her. “Have you got a good zoom on that?” they ask. They all seem a bit fussy and overbearing about it!

11:32 Everyone is holding their breath as Bryan and Mallory reach the shoreline. The big waves hide them when they are close to the beach.

big waves at the shore

big waves at the shore

Forrest and Dan seem most concerned about the waves. “This is gonna hurt” Jody hears them say.

From down in the water, they had reached Pelican Cove. The waves had subsided to small manageable waves and getting out for Bryan was not the worry he had feared all along.  The kelp reached out from the bottom of the ocean 50 feet below then the bottom became visible, then the rocks could be seen, now the time had come.

Bryan was watching the waves coming in and judging when to go for it, the first wave picked him up and carried him in a little way, he paused this was not the right one. Mallory agreed.

He waited for the next, it was much bigger and again it picked him up, this time after the wave had released him he tried to reach for the shore with his feet, it was too deep.  Looking back again, the next wave came along and swept him close to the shore, this time Bryan caught the rocks in his hands and as the water retraced from the shorelines he held on tight.  This time he knew that the next wave would take him in. The next wave came crashing in and sure enough it picked him up and took him in to shore.  Staying on all fours he crawled up the shore until he was clear of the wet rocks and stood up, waving his arms.  OMG, I did it.

Mallory out too

Mallory out too

11:33 On board the boat, everyone breathes a sigh of relief when Bryan & Mallory exit the water safely.

They clear the water line – CONGRATULATIONS BRYAN!!! YOU’VE DONE IT!!!

Mallory gives him a big hug

Bryan takes a few moments to get his breath.

11:34 Mallory gives Bryan his red dry-bag which apparently she took and swam in with. Not sure why he would need his towel just yet – he has to swim back to the boat. Maybe he has some energy gel packs in there. Whatever; they spend a few moments fiddling about with it.

11:35 As Jody watches through her camera lens, Bryan starts to unroll a white banner. Whatever it was she hadn’t seen it before.

decision time Jody!!!

decision time Jody!!!

He holds it up and turns it around.

it says;

will you

Jody is shocked into silence for a moment. Everyone on the boat is asking her “can you read what it says?” Some of them were asking “what is it he is holding up?” All of them acting dumb when every last one of them was in on it!
The rotters!!

At first she is frozen in shock and just carries on watching through her camera lense. On the shore, Bryan isn’t sure she has seen it so holds it higher.

Then Jody waves to Bryan that she has seen it but from this distance she doesn’t answer. Mainly because she is struck dumb!

Greg starts up with his bagpipes again and Bryan swims back to the boat hanging on to the back of Patricio’s kayak as he is exhausted!

back on the boat

back on the boat

11:48 Bryan is back on the boat now but he wouldn’t look Jody in the eye.  Jody noticed this which made her unsure what to do next – hug him and congratulate him on his swim or hug him because of the proposal. She hugs him anyway 🙂

At this point in time, Jody is concerned that his monumental effort of the swim and the congratulations deserved for that, will get lost in the new event that has unfolded and she really wants him to get some credit for his swim first.

11:49 Bryan takes Jody to the front of the boat then on the bow of the BottomScratcher with everyone looking on, Bryan produces a little turquoise box with a ring in it. Jody is in shock! All this was pre arranged and the whole crew knew about it. The buggers!

the one knee treatment

the one knee treatment

Bryan then got down on one knee and said, “Jody will you marry me?”

She said “You silly bugger, YES, how could I possibly say no”.

Greg starts up with his bagpipes again and we get another rousing serenade of “Scotland the Brave” Thanks Greg that was brilliant and very appropriate. We loved it!

At this stage we leave the ring in the box as we don’t want to lose it over the edge of the boat and we are struggling to hold on and stand upright. In the photos it looks like Jody is trying to strangle Bryan but she isn’t really.

Bagpipe serenade

Bagpipe serenade

The boat has moved off again and Bryan can finally relax, get a hot shower and go for a lie down. He deserves it!

Jody goes down to the sleeping quarters with him and finally now we have some privacy, we try the ring on. It seems a bit tight but that may just be because her hands are swollen from having been wet for 13 hours. We can try it on again in the morning and see.

It isn’t a traditional looking engagement ring. Bryan explained how he agonised over choosing it knowing we were travelling through South America. He had looked at diamonds but decided the safest option was something less obvious.

He went on to explain it is from the Infinity collection which is very symbolic in itself. It has the infinity symbol all around it and Jody loves it. She wholeheartedly agrees with his decision for choosing it and she certainly doesn’t want to find herself on the wrong end of a street mugging in Bogota for sure.

the ring

the ring

13:15 and we are all back on dry land.

Time to celebrate properly maybe?

Not on your nelly!

We are exhausted and the only place we are going is home for a shower and to catch up on our sleep. Although we did find time to heat up 2 day old pasta for dinner with a cup of tea..

We know how to celebrate in style!!

Unofficial time 12 hours 54 minutes

What a day this has turned out to be 🙂


  •    Wiltshire, England

  •    Tel: +44 117 2 302030

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  •    Wiltshire, England

  •    Tel: +44 117 2 302030


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