On July the 3rd I woke up in a very special place, today, after two months Im still celebrating!
Tarifa, Spain. July 3rd, 2015
Today I woke up in a very special place… with a huge smile and floating, really floating… It seemed I had slept as if flying above the water with the satisfaction of having achieved a dream in my life… a dream that started long time ago and was postponed for a while. A while that allowed us to live with Eduardo his last year of life, enjoying and loving him, not knowing he would go so soon. Just two months ago, he passed away… but with a swollen heart full of love, so much love he received from his family and friends, and also with a peaceful smile.
Today, I woke celebrating that yesterday, Lalo my son and I, swam across the Strait of Gibraltar, with Andrea that joined us and cheered us from the escort boat and with very dear friends who supported us by swimming along: Nora Toledano and Antonio Arguelles two great open water swimmers of all times! Also, from the escort boat Gela Limonchi and Paty Kohlmann.
I can´t believe how quickly everything happened! !t took us a bit more than 10 hours to fly from Mexico City to Madrid, where we had to wait 5 hours until our next flight to Malaga. One hour from Madrid to Malaga and a little more than two hours by car to get to Tarifa. Finally, after a long trip of almost 24 hours we got to Tarifa at about 22:30 hours, and as soon as we got out of the car, all tired and hungry, we were received with the news that the wind and atmospheric conditions were looking good to swim the next day! My mind started spinning… Tomorrow! So soon! The swim was planned to begin 9:30 and 10:30 hours… Lalo started getting nervous and that hit me hard, I started feeling anxious and nervous too! At 2:00am, I was still awake, I couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about everything that this swim meant in my life. I was worried about Lalo, I really wanted him to finish the swim, it was so important for him…. he was going to swim Gibraltar to honor Eduardo his dad. I did not sleep well, just a couple of hours feeling pressured and nervous for what was to come…
When we got to the dock to get on board and start the swim, I felt Lalo nervous but less than me. Everyone could notice I was worried, anxious and nervous. A swim like this with your son can make you feel soooooo tense! Nora, Paty and Gela were preparing everything we were going to need during the swim. A few minutes later, Toño Arguelles arrived with his nephew Pablo who would be our photographer and Oswaldo Toledano, Nora’s brother who would film the swim. It seemed everything was ready and in a few minutes we would board to begin the swim from the Punta Palomas Lighthouse of Tarifa Island. Those minutes seemed so long and my anguish continued… a moment later the four swimmers gathered and Toño said the exact words I needed to hear to calm down, “I suggest we all swim to support Lalo so he can finish his swim, his first big crossing, the Strait of Gibraltar”… and Nora said she would. When Lalo, heard this, he gave us a big smile and immediately calmed down. Listening to these words, my eyes filled with tears but a big smile appeared on my face. We boarded and sailed a few minutes to get to the Light house. Before diving into the water I hugged Andrea and Lalo and told them we were doing the swim in memory of their dad Eduardo with all our love for him and with special strength, care and friendship.
The swim was spectacular! A beautiful day, with a beautiful sky and the sun shining all the time. Company inside the water could not be better, thanks Toño and Nora, each stroke shared with you means so much. Help from Gela and Paty from the Zodiac guaranteed everything was going to turn out great, I am sure Pablo’s photos and Oswaldo’s video are amazing, but the best thing: the smile and cheers of Andrea on the Zodiac and the way Lalo swam, impressive!
When I got in the water, I could not help myself and cried for a while, half way through I was still worried everything went ok and Lalo was able to finish, while worrying I did not realize how well he was swimming, when we were about to get to shore, I was swimming a little bit behind everyone else and saw Toño and Nora stopped, I also saw Lalo… Toño said, “Mariel you and Lalo should get there first” that gesture was a way to acknowledge Lalo’s effort. Immediately, Lalo said “come on mom, bring it on let’s give it all out until we get to Morocco’s shore…” Those last few minutes I swam enjoying the beautiful blue sea, enjoying every stroke besides Lalo and when we got to Morocco I hugged him and we both cried but with a big smile and our heart full of love. Honoring Eduardo’s life this way, swimming the Strait of Gibraltar, has strengthen us and we feel his love form wherever he is.
From Europe to Africa we strengthened and Lalo and Andrea strengthened me! Our strokes transformed our lives, this time thanks to Fundación Roshfrans we will be helping kids with cancer from Casa de la Amistad! It is such a blessing to be able to swim to strengthen others. I can only say Thanks!
Today I woke up floating in the blue sea where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet, in the blue sea on the Strait of Gibraltar.