Bad weather bars ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ from crossing English Channel

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LONDON, United Kingdom (MindaNews/18 August) — For the second time around, environmental lawyer and marathon swimmer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine will return to the Philippines empty-handed this weekend after failing to cross the English Channel due to bad weather.

Last Sunday, Macarine was determined to complete the 21-mile (33.8 kilometers) swim across the channel, dubbed the “Mt. Everest” for swimmers, from Samphire Hoe Beach in Dover at 2:45 a.m. (British time; 9:45 a.m. in the Philippines), enduring the water temperature average of 17 degree Celsius.

But after swimming for 50 minutes, boat pilot Eric Hartley of Pathfinder Charter stopped him for safety reason.

“It’s hard to control the boat with the current condition. The wind speed is too strong than what was forecasted at 3 knots. It’s important to keep him near the boat. It’s always safety first. With this condition, it’s so easy to lose the swimmer with the swells and anything,” Hartley told reporters who were on the boat covering this epic swim.

Environmental lawyer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine poses for the camera on August 5, 2017 before going to his usual two-hour swim practice in Folkestone, United Kingdom. Macarine was supposed to swim from Dover in the United Kingdom to Calais in France on August 13 but after an hour was asked to stop due to bad weather. A second swim window was set for August 18 but it was canceled August 17 again due to bad weather. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

After the stoppage, Macarine was given a chance to swim this weekend but the weather forecast suggests a stormy weather and that swimmers are not allowed to swim the channel for safety reason.

But on Thursday, Macarine got a message from his boat pilot Eric Hartley that he cannot swim this weekend again.

“All swims for this neap tide are now complete and I am looking for the next chance to take you. We did not go today although the tides are small but Met Office ( UK’s weather bureau) predict the winds picking up from 11 am today and the Met Office has issued a strong wind warning,” Harley said on Wednesday afternoon.

Macarine was given another swim window on August 27 and onward by the Channel Swimming Association but he cannot afford to stay long due to his work and family obligations.

In August last year, Macarine, was forced to cancel his first attempt to cross the channel due to bad weather.

Disappointed

Macarine, who was disappointed on the notice he got from his pilot, said he will return to the country to go back to work as a Commission on Elections officer in Tubigon town in Bohol province and attend to his family.

“It’s been two years now. I’m sad and disappointed but I can’t do something about it, I gave my all for this in the hope that I will be able to cross the channel,” he said, adding, “the English Channel seems very elusive to me.”

Macarine arrived here over two weeks ago for his acclimatization training which consisted of at least two hours of swimming under cold waters and another hour of physical exercises off the water.

Intrepid swimmers across the world come here for the challenge to cross the channel.

This year, the Channel Swimming Association recorded 57 successful solo swimmers and 20 relays.

Last year 78 solos and 42 relays were completed bringing to a total of 1458 solos and 726 relays since 1875.

Swimming the English Channel is an expensive activity.

A swimmer should charter a boat which will serve as an escort boat. It will cost you at least 2900 British pounds.

Macarine, who got support from the Philippine Sports Commission for the aborted swim, has swum 33 open-water crossings in the country and in the USA.

He has a lifetime advocacy for clean seas and marine environmental protection and conservation. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)

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