Matt signed himself up for his first open water swim. He participated this weekend with several hundred other "swim joggers" to swim 4 km of the canal from Damme to Brugge.
The kids and I tagged along to be his cheering section. While Matt took a "Swimjogger" bus we hiked the 4 km via canal paths past idyllic windmills to the start of the race, which was quite a serene, picturesque walk, but hot. Heat wave in Belgium this week topping off at 97* most of the day, made the trek a bit of a drag coaxing 4 kids along. (But very scenic I tell you).
Just before he jumped in the canal we had him pose with the fan club.
Matt was cap # 36 and we walked alongside as he swam past lilly pads, rescue boats, other swimmers, and at times, right past Arleigh who was shouting at his lungs fullest. "Dad, when you're done, can we get an icy pop?" "Hey dad, I'm here!" "Dad, you're losing! Swim faster!" "Dad, I really want an icy pop. I'm hot! Is the water cold?"
Yes, the entire 4 km Arleigh shouted, when we weren't carrying the kid.
Emory put it best, as he picked weeds and flowers for a finish line bouquet, "Dad's a champion today!" The kids were quite proud and the event has Addie considering a possible canal swim as well.
Matt stopped occasionally to put his head up and wave hello to the kids. (He shaved down for the race but left his beard. I swear that's Matt with my kids.) He finished at the line where a canal boat marked the race end and after a few bananas and orange slices, we headed off for the beach nearby. His fan club was there when he climbed out to help him carry his gear and give him hugs. Matt says he didn't finish as well as he'd hoped, but considering that he's still recovering from a significant car/ bike accident 3 weeks ago, he did pretty darn well.
I'd never been to the Belgian coast, but Matt and the kids have. Ostende was a lot like Virginia Beach, which both disappointed and surprised me. In fact I think I prefer VAB. There was trash all over the beach at day's end and the place was crawling with vacationers. A little sad really.
After dinner the kids took an unplanned dip in the North Sea under a lovely honey coated sunset. Once fully dripping wet and covered with sand, we packed them in the car and headed home.