Propel your Body 21 Miles Across
The Strait of Dover is the Channel’s narrowest point. Relatively shallow, like a Queen’s soul, with a depth of roughly 150 feet between Dover and Calais. A dry land for most of the Pleistocene period, the Strait was created at least 180,000 years ago by catastrophic events the world hasn’t recently seen. With modernity at our backs, creating smog-riddled metropolises and melting ice caps, we press forward with a foreboding eye.
It is this narrow, 21-mile strait that has tested the mettle of man and woman. August 25, 1875, Matthew Webb set out to swim these perilous waters, completing the journey from England to France in just less than 22 hours. 50 years later, the Channel Swimming Association was founded, ready to authenticate swimmer’s claims to have swum the Chunnel.
Nearly 900 swimmers have journeyed across. 16 have gone to Calais and back. Three have then swam back to Calais. Bulgarian Petar Stoychev, a man of immense power and speedier than a bottle rocket, completed the swim in an astounding six hours, 57 minutes and 50 seconds way back in August of 2007.
“Will you beat this time?” asks Davey Chuggington of the Channel Swimming Association. “We are seeking swimmers of all proportions and have sent out our detectives to the center of the Earth to find scientists in butterfly stroke theory.”
The Strait of Dover is the busiest stretch of water in the entire world. Governed by International Law, and therefore perhaps not trustworthy, it may be imperative to go by ferry, or more likely, Chunnel Train, to safely cross these tempestuous waters.