Nothing is going according to plan. It is 5:57 a.m. on the frosty morning of October 20th, 2011, and a vile retching can suddenly be heard bellowing out from the starboard side of our boat -- a sound not unlike the primal scream a gutted hyena might make. It is a howl that summons all, from the insides of the boat to the railing.
From a distance of about 131 feet away in the pitch-black night, you can see open-water swimmer Stephen Redmond projectile vomiting what looks like the contents of a 3” fire hose on blast. It is a nasty sight: his jaw unlocks violently like a transforming werewolf from a 1980s horror film.
This is not what you want happening only four hours into an expected 13-hour swim.
This is not what you want happening only four hours into an expected 13-hour swim. Near Redmond, seasoned marathon swimmer and official observer Forrest Davis lies flat on a paddleboard whispering words of encouragement, trying to steer Redmond back in motion.
After two minutes, Redmond has collected himself. Without a word, he again begins his breaststroke, slowly, methodically, relentlessly moving -- the steady slap of his massive arms smacking against the water, sloshing ever forward. Off in the distance, Los Angeles isn’t a line or bright light, but rather a faint glow of a city shining up into the cloud cover from the black nothing of the sea. The City of Angels looks far.
Check out the January 2012 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands December 13) for more of the article. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.