Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finish to the Season, Paradise Style

September 4th, 2010     

Place: the Maui (Auau) Channel between the islands, Lanai and Maui, Hawaii
Race Start: 8am

On Friday, the day before the swim, we flew over the channel, into Maui Airport. From the small propeller plane, the water below was, 'as calm as could be'. Oh, we hoped this was a sign for the following day. Even as we traveled to the evening pre-race meeting, the sea was calm.

We woke early, to travel to meet our pilot, Paul Payne, a local fisherman/captain.

At 6:30am, the boat launch is rocking. Escort boats were traveling into the 2 piers to pick up their swimmers and crew.
I had 3 crew members, Janet Galya (partner and crew chief), Joanne Davila (my oldest sister who lives on the island Kauai) and Bob Perkowski (brother-in-law, ready for an adventure).

We left the harbor, on calm seas, traveling the 8 nautical miles quickly and without any chop disturbing our progress. Paul, is a quick sort of man, not much talk.

Lanai is an island that is mostly a nature preserve. As we arrived to the beach for the start, the boats had to stay about 300 yards away from shore, because of the beautiful coral reef that was just below us. I jumped into the water and used my water camera to take a couple of pictures of my crew before giving the camera back and swimming off to shore for the race to begin. There are 40 relays and 20 solo swimming competing today.

I told Paul I would stay far to the left, in order to stay away from the crowd. The swimmers lined up after a quick prayer. Next to me, I surprisingly find out, was Marty Palfrey, the brother-in-law of my friend Penny. He's from Australia and a swimming family, so Marty must be in that category.

As the race began, the wind followed suit, no more flat seas, we were going to earn this crossing.  

Everyone was rolling up and down over the turbulent seas, an average of a continual 2 foot wave, with periods of gusting wind creating 6 foot swells. Many times, I would breathe and only see a wall of water coming toward or away me, preventing me to see the escort boat, and vise versa, my crew couldn't see me either.

I had company for the 1st hour of the swim, Marty and I seemed to swim at the same pace, but when I take my 1st feed, his boat took him on another course, and I would swim the remainder alone.

Today, the southerly course, did not work, and even created slower swimming as we had to finish the course against the current and the wind.

I, again, fell back on my past swim experience to continue on in these conditions and my lack of progress. The final 1.6 nautical miles took over an hour and 1/2. It was so frustrating.

After 6 hours and 44 minutes, I finally walked onto the shores of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

All in all, it was a fantastic workout but I was not impressed with the directors of swim. I will leave those comments out, just to say, ALOHA was missing.

Was there any big wildlife?: Yes, a Tiger Shark visited a relay team, no incident but everyone was nerved up and they decided to pull out the race.

Will I do this swim again?: probably Not.

...but the location was BEAUTIFUL.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

2015 ... Swimming for Homes for the Brave

After spending the past 20 years paddling from Dover to France, it is time to venture into new waters, while helping some special people.
Soon, I will be traveling with my A-team to Scotland to swim the length of the famous Loch Ness.
As always, I try to help a Foundation raise funds and awareness and I thank you for interest and support.
I am deeply troubled with the thought of homeless individuals, especially in our US Veteran population.

That is why I am teaming up with our Connecticut-based “Homes for the Brave”. Can you imagine not having a place to call home?

Here is more information about Homes for the Brave! -Facebook pages –

- Annual Appeal with more information about our financials and programs-

-Check donations can be mailed to the following address:
Homes for the Brave
655 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

- Donations can be made online as well:

Please write “Loch Ness Swim/Marcy” to track your donation.

I will always be dedicating my swimming to all those battling cancer and in the memory of 4 special people in my life. Cancer first hit my family when I was young. My grand-aunt Eleanor Kersavage, passed away with uterine cancer and my Auntie Bea Halchak battled with brain cancer.

On January 1, 2002, our LEHY family lost Nikki Giampolo to bone cancer, just turning 16 years old. Her spirit still lives on in our East Hartford swim team.

In July of 2009, my brother-in-law, Gregory Allen Urban, who passed away, after a valient battle with lung cancer. I can see him now, talking about cars and projects around the house, music and his family.

I know Aunties, Eleanor and Bea, Nikki, Greg and all the angels will help me CUT through all this water this summer.

The St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, based in Bridgeport, CT provides financial support for the needs that Health insurance companies don't cover, in addition to providing affordable cancer screening, wigs, medication and other things to make life easier for those suffering with cancer and their families.

Please make a donation, and thank you.

Online donations can be made at:

or you can send a check through the post to:

Swim Across the Sound
St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation
2800 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606

Thank you so very much, peace and good health to all.