While Tiree remains unfinished business – and she’ll be back – long distance endurance swimmer Anna Wardley is about to tackle the last of her 5 Islands challenge swims.
In around a week’s time, she will take on the Isle of Wight – the longest swim of her life at 56 miles and an estimated 30 hours.
She was laid up with a nasty infection two weeks ago but completed her ‘long training swim’ on Monday last – a 13 hour doddle around two thirds of the island, from Ryde in its north east, starting at midnight on Sunday and ‘hoofing it down the Solent in the darkness logging a stonking 3.8 knots at one point in the Western Solent’.
She got to the famous Needles, off the south west of the island, in just under 6.5 hours, rounding the famous white rocks just after daybreak. She and her support boat then had to battle headwinds and oncoming seas all the way east to to St Catherine’s near the end of the island’s south coast. GHey made it just after 1pm. Anna says: ‘We’d hoped to get a bit further but given the sea state, it was a pretty good day in the office’.
She says she’s feeling in great shape and that her sense is ‘it’s game on’ for the Isle of Wight swim.
The charity auction
Anna swims for charity – and a snapshot of what she is capable of doing is that she got very short notice of permission to hold a auction for her chosen charities in the run up week to this last of her series of island challenges.
The charites are: the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Sail Africa and the Samaritans.
The auction is today, 13th September – at 5pm, which give you time to email Anna [Anna Wardley <firstname.lastname@example.org> ] if you want to bid for anything in the list below.
In the 48 hours she has had to get it organised, Anna has rounded up the following lots for bidding:
- Four tickets for the Opening Ceremony of the Tour de France 2014 in Yorkshire (kindly donated by Welcome to Yorkshire)
- A week of big boat sail training on a Clipper 68 ocean racing yacht worth £1085 (kindly donated by Clipper Ventures PLC)
- Afternoon tea for two with Caroline Dienenage MP at the House of Commons and a guided tour of the Palace of Westminster (kindly donated by Caroline Dinenage MP)
- Signed Harlequins rugby shirt (donated by anon)
- Two-day RYA Level 2 Powerboat course for two people – course value £299 per person (Kindly donated by Rockley Watersports)
- Pet portrait in oils including personal sitting (kindly donated by Originals by Victoria)
- Lift & Scrub at Portland Marina (kindly donated by Dean & Reddyhoff)
- 2 x classic tickets to the Wine Tasting Experience at Vinopolis, London’s premier wine tasting experience at London Bridge (kindly donated by Vinopolis)
- Dinner for two at the A Bar Bistro in Old Portsmouth with wine (kindly donated by the A Bar Bistro)
- One-day of studio/consultancy time to provide PR/Design services – value up to £600 (kindly donated by the Marine Advertising Agency)
- Bottle of Champagne signed by Dame Ellen MacArthur (kindly donated by Dame Ellen MacArthur)
- Meal for two at The Hut in Colwell Bay (kindly donated by The Hut in Colwell Bay)
- Exclusive Hugo Boss/Alex Thomson Racing fleece jacket (kindly donated by AT Racing)
- Iconic Quba & Co jacket (kindly donated by Quba & Co)
Anna says: ‘Drop me a line if you’d like to bid for one of the auction lots, and help me get ever closer to my target of raising £50,000 for charity through my swims. It’ll be a huge boost for me to raise a big chunk of the remaining £8,000 before I get in the water for the final swim of my two-year Five Island Swim Challenge, whether that is next week, or two weeks later in the second window if the first one is blown out.’
The Isle of Wight Swim
And after her dicing with the dreaded Lion’s Mane jellyfish who were waiting for her in some numbers in the waters off Tiree, Anna’s long training swim round two thirds of the Isle of Wight last Sunday, saw her meet none at all.
Talking about the way the weater and sea conditions dictate what happens, Anna says: ‘…with the help of our meteorologist friend Simon Rowell, who is providing daily updates, we are closely watching the weather.
‘At the moment it seems like 20-22 Sept might be swimmable, but with everything so unsettled, that is liable to change multiple times over the next week, leaving me a jibbering wreck in the process.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about receiving any communication as I am about getting Simon’s daily missives as so much hangs on them.
‘This time next week [20th September] I could be preparing for the longest swim of my life, which is set to take somewhere in the region of 30 hours. Or I might not be. It’s both as simple and utterly frustrating as that.’