DOVER, United Kingdom — Environmental lawyer Ingemar Macarine, also known as the “Pinoy Aquaman,” was about 3.8 km (2.3 miles) from this town when his swim was stopped because of bad weather.
He started his longest solo, unassisted swim at the English Channel, “Mt. Everest” for open swimming, at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, August 13, (9:30 a.m. Philippine time) after facing high winds during his swim from Dover town, United Kingdom to France.
The shortest distance between England and France over the English Channel is 34 km (21 miles).
Macarine, 41, was swimming freestyle. When he lifted his head to breathe, he could vaguely make out his destination on the horizon, Cap Gris Nez, a promontory on the French coast due to strong waves and gusty winds.
He was only wearing a latex swimming cap, an ordinary swimsuit and goggles. His shoulders and armpits, neck and crotch were coated with sunblock and petroleum jelly, to keep his muscles flexible and prevent chafing.
Had he succeeded, Macarine, an election officer of Tubigon town in Bohol province, would have been the first Filipino swimmer to swim across the Channel.
Many swimming enthusiasts were tracking Macarine’s progress on the social media.
The journey was expected to take 15 hours in a 16 degrees Celsius temperature, but Eric Hartley, skipper of the support boat from the Pathfinder Charter, called off his bid when he noticed that the wind was getting stronger and colder.
Also with Hartley in the boat was CSA observer Keith Oiller who detailed to Macarine the rules of the English Channel.
“I stopped the swim really for safety grounds. “Because wind was blowing, it’s hard to control the boat with the current condition,” Hartley said. “The wind speed is too strong than what was forecast at 3 knots. It’s important to keep him beside the boat,” said Hartley.
Hartley said the wind that was gusting and it was unsafe for everyone involved.
“Safety is always first,” he said.
There have been less than half a dozen fatalities in the 137 years that it has been taking place, the CSA said.
Last week, two fatalities were recorded.
His goal had to swim the English Channel to promote clean seas, Philippine tourism and international friendship.
Macarine – who has swum seas in the Philippines and the United States – had waited patiently for days to swim the Channel.
Since arriving in Dover on July 28, he has been practicing for two hours daily at the port.
Although he didn’t finish the swim, he said he was satisfied with what he was able to accomplish.
Macarine said he would come back next year to fulfil the ultimate swim of his life.
“Tuloy ang laban toward reaching that goal,” he added.
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