Northern Japan was almost mythical, as the environment surrounding the Tsugaru Channel was a habitat that seemed unchanged for thousands of years. My brother, Matthew accompanied me for the first time, and needless to say he picked the right channel. We both loved the Japanese cuisine, culture and their kindness to foreign visitors.
I started the swim by cutting my left shin, arm and hands off the start because I was stubborn and wanted to exit the water on a large boulder, versus just ‘touching the rock and go’ as instructed. As I stood there bleeding, I knew I only had one choice.
The Sea of Japan was the toughest water I had yet to face, as the majority of the 15:55 journey went through 2-3 foot surface chop. This swim was the most difficult of the seven because I was expecting about an 8-hour swim, and it turned out to be double. As the final hours crept by, I was not making any progress, as I was only paralleling the shoreline. The water temperature dropped, and I had to sprint for two-hours at the end. I was able to break through the current and finish on Hokkaido. If you never quit, eventually you will finish!