Lars Simonsen and his Swim Adventure around Denmark

The first two weeks

It was a fantastic day, friends, family and lots of press had showed up, incl. the two biggest TV stations in Denmark, to send me and my mom of on our adventure. There was only one but, which was on the very first day. I was going to swim to the island of Sylt, 16 km away. My longest swim ever had only been 7.5 km. It was an amazing feeling to finally start my swim around Denmark, and we were off to a good start, with perfect conditions.

During the first two weeks, we had some great days but also some challenges. We were crossing over from Sylt to Rømø and then strait of Listerdybet, with some of the strongest ocean currents in Denmark. Getting there my mom suddenly yells “the ferry is coming straight at us”. The currents were taking us out to sea, and I was swimming as fast as I could for the next 3 mins to get out of its way.

Getting from Rømø to Mandø, in a straight line, was about 7 km, but because we are in the Waddensea, there are sandbanks everywhere. Most of the time there wasn’t enough water for the kayak, so my mom walked a lot and I swam breaststrokes almost touching the bottom with my stomach. We reach Mandø after 15 km, 5 hours and 22 minuts, just before the sunset. Evening dinner was a bit of bread with a few Rawbites.

The next day we were hoping for a shorter and easier day, but it became the longest (6 hours and 17 km). We ended up on a beach two km from land, but we couldn’t stop there, because it would be under water a few hours later. With a little help from some young guys, we transported all the gear and kayak to safety.

The wind increases and the next four days, we were stuck on Fanø. Here we held a talk for kids with weight problems, and had an awesome day together with them. It is a great feeling when you can give something back and make people smile.

When we got back on the water, the waves were still a good size, and it was both physical and mentally hard. Especially for my mom, she is not used to big waves. When we got back on land, she was totally exhausted. And unfortunately, the next day, she was still down and said, “the west coast is too hard for me, I can’t do it”.

Since that we have been working on a different solution, and the result is that my mom is going to walk on the beach and I will be swimming alone with a little boat. I hope this will work out.

 

 

 

The first month

The first two weeks were a piece of cake compared to the next two. We are really feeling the roughness of the notorious Westcoast.

We are back on mainland Jutland and finished islands jumping for now, which is really nice. But conditions have been hard. Normally I swim about 3 km an hour, one day I swam for 3 hours and only did 3.7 km, you can’t fight mother nature.

The wind is mostly quieting down at night, so not to fight the elements, I got up at 4 am to swim before the wind increased again. Beautiful to be out there, totally alone, and seeing the sunrise from the sea. It was very misty and all I could use to navigate from was the sun, fantastic!

I also hit my first 100 km and by total coincidence, a school group was right there cheering, so I got out and gave a round of high-five and jumped back in.

There have been lots of days with wind and big waves, getting in and out from the beach is a lot of work. And swimming in 1-2 m high waves is very demanding, constantly I have to be aware of the next wave. Often, I can’t breathe when I get up to try and get some air and end up with a mouth full of salt water, yummy!! The only thing that helps, is the sweet taste of a Rawbite, to take away the nasty taste of salt water.

The tough conditions have also tested my body, and my shoulders has been sore. Every day my mom is giving me a massage and I treat my shoulders with a cold/hot treatment. The last day of the first month was fantastic, waves up to one and half meters, but I still managed to do 15 km.

For the first time since my mom stopped kayaking next to me, I had company on the water, Jan, a colleague of mine, came out to surprise me on his SUP and followed me for the last kilometres.

All in all, I did 162 km in the first month, swimming for 19 days and having 11 days on land because of bad weather. Had hoped for 200 km but can’t do much about the weather.

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