You Don’t Say…

You Don’t Say
by Janet Hinkle, Independent Observer

As an “official” observer, it’s my job, along with co-observe Roger McVeigh, to make sure Diana obey’s rules associated with this competitive swim. Her handlers can feed her, rub chafing cream on her shoulders, apply sunscreen to her lips, and make sure she has enough water to stay hydrated. What is strictly taboo is giving her any assistance with making progress on the swim – hanging on boats, etc. It’s a rule that everyone takes seriously – Diana in particular.

But there’s another rule that’s just as important. It’s not in any rule book. It’s one of Diana’s own making. “She never, ever wants to know what time it is or how far she has gone,” says Bonnie Stoll, Diana’s most trusted handler. “It’s a psychological thing,” adds navigator John Bartlett.

Crew members tell stories of training swims where someone broke “Diana’s rule.” It wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say Diana wasn’t happy.

“She’s always been that way,” says Bonnie. “She has her own way of doing things.”

As an observer it’s my job to take notes on the progress of the trip. I get most of my information from navigator John Bartlett. Wind direction, boat speed, course changes, Diana’s feeding breaks, any significant event are all a part of the log I am keeping.

I gather this information mostly from whispered conversations aboard Voyager during three hour shifts. I whisper because I don’t want to be the one to break Diana’s cardinal rule.


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