Karen and Noah played "Rock Paper Scissors" to see who would be the first lucky companion swimmer. And I mean lucky. Noah won and said, "Damn." Does that tell you the size waves that we saw this morning? The winds were up to 19 knots, so we got hammered from the beginning of the morning. Instead of having an easy swim back from the pier, it was opposite today. On our route to the pier, I thought I was China's Sun Yang, who won the 1500m freestyle at the World Championship this year and broke Grant Hackett's longtime record. It took us less than eight minutes to reach the pier. The water temperatue was 63 degrees today. When we turned around to head back, we knew we were in for a fight. Heading into the waves, we judged our progress by the various colored houses on shore. At one point I said, "We've been in front of that pink house for two minutes." It was like being in an endless pool, or the Triwizard Tournament, feeling like we were being pulled backwards by sea creatures. The route back to where our swim gear was stationed took us almost 24 minutes!
Noah and Karen switched positions for the second lap. I had my Garmin 310xt gps watch in my cap. Karen's watch told her that our average speed was 1.7 mph, for the second lap. Ouch. And they were both wearing fins and wetsuits. We never stopped to talk because one stroke of breaststroke caused you to get pushed back six or seven strokes. It wasn't worth it. The seagulls did not leave us alone again today. They went after my beach shoes when I tossed them back to Karen on shore. Again I had to yell "we're not food."
While drying off, I removed my cap without thinking twice, standing on the rocky beach. I didn't realize my Garmin watch had fallen out of my silicon swim cap and the crystal face was shattered. Ouch. Not a happy morning.
We took showers and walked into town towards the Wednesday Market. Karen bought a few prints from a local chap, who had lived in Indiana, Florida and Connecticut. We found that great pastry shop, called Joe's and Karen got her fix. Sad to lose our parking spot in front of our house, we ventured to Sandwich for lunch. Sandwich is a historic town, about seven miles to the north. Quaint like Deal with narrow streets, I thought we were in Hogsmeade. We even saw an "H" in the brick and a pig doorknocker--possibly Harry's safe house. Karen went into St. Peter's Church and bought a book for 50 pence from 1886. It is a play that we intend to act out on a rainy day. We went into a resale shop and a nice boutique and had omelettes (Noah had steak pie) at a small restaurant called Haven.
Next we drove north to Ramsgate. Noah only hit three curbs on that route. We passed a huge Pfizer plant with Sports Facility and heard they were shutting it down. They are hoping to bring in a multitude of technology companies to the gigantic site. Ramsgate is on the water and is curvy and hilly like San Francisco. With narrow streets, you don't see too many cars coming into the shopping district. It was mostly closed for foot traffic. We saw signs for "dog fouling"--a 117 pound fine and three-points for an infraction. We parked in a structure, the first we've seen. A sporting goods store was our first stop, where we picked up some London 2012 souvenirs and Noah found a sweater. All of the stores close around 5 p.m. Most open at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. Some are closed on Wednesday's and others we found are only open on MWF from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Ouch. Somewhere on the way home, we stopped to see the gigantic Viking ship. It was a replica commemorating the 1500th anniversary of the landing of the first Saxon King of Kent.
For dinner we fixed chicken and rigatoni, broccoli & cauliflower, bread, and various crudites. By lunchtime tomorrow, the rest of our crew will have arrived. We will welcome Lynn, Cheryl, Dave, and lil Jeanette.
Oh, and if you are still reading, my pilot said he will take swimmer #1 on Saturday (weather permitting), and will escort me across the English Channel on either Sunday or Tuesday.