Pat Gallant-Charette flew to Wellington, New Zealand from her home in the state of Maine and was itching for her shot at the Cook Strait. For nearly two weeks, she remained holed up, waiting and waiting for her time to cross the Cook Strait.
And it never came.
She was never able to get in the ring; she was never able to hear the sound of the start. Months and months of waiting, training, and sacrificing for her chance to climb the Oceans Seven list, all for naught.
“I returned to Maine without a swim. The storms off the coast of New Zealand prevented me from attempting the Cook Strait,” explains nurse Gallant-Charette.
“I spoke with Philip Rush every evening and weather conditions were not favorable for a swim. I appreciated Philip’s honesty and insight…”
…It was disappointing not having the opportunity to swim Cook Strait. But, it comes with the territory. In 2009, I returned from Dover without an attempt of the English Channel after waiting for two weeks for the weather to improve. The owners of Varne Ridge Caravan Park David and Evelyn said,”‘The Channel will always be here. You will return and be successful.’ I carried those words with me. The Cook Strait will always be there.”
Rush offered Gallant-Charette a slot for 2014 and I accepted. So I will be returning in 2014 and I will be successful.”
But a second chance does not mean that the sting of disappointment is lessened. “I met Philip on my first day in New Zealand. He explained that he checks four different weather sites each evening and he will base his decision if it’s a “go” from that information. It was very obvious that he wants a swimmer to succeed and he will not allow a swim to take place unless the conditions are favorable. I found Phil to be a man of great honor and integrity. Every evening at 8 p.m. Phil would call me and discuss the weather forecast. Storms off the coast caused increased tidal flow. My crew and I witnessed the effect of storms on Cook Strait. Philip was accurate with his decision not to allow my swim to take place. It was very treacherous conditions. I highly respect his insight and knowledge of Cook Strait.”
Her disappointment may still sting, but her wisdom still shines through and through. “It will be an added expense to return to New Zealand but it’s the price we pay for an adventure of a lifetime.
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