We had heard about this crazy 72 mile swim, and its potential start from Kaena Point, but we were not sure we'd find the start location or even make it there in time. So we started our run from the Mokuleia side of Kaena point (3 women runners) just after 7:30am. It was a stunningly blue beautiful day, strong sun, and from our view relatively calm ocean conditions. Perfect for a run or swim.
When we rounded the corner to Waianae side, we noticed a boat very close to shore- much closer than normal given the rocky coast and usual rough waters of the area. And then, even closer to shore we noticed a guy on a paddleboard, and as we ran closer, we saw a woman in a swimsuit and cap far down below in a rocky cove. She waited for a wave set to pass, bracing herself on the rocks, then took off swimming. Holymolly that's the woman swimming to Kauai!!! we said. Out 50 yards from shore, she handed her shoes to the paddleboarder (which had likely allowed her to get to this rocky remote spot hardly a typical swimmer's embark), exchanged a few words, then was off with a solid strong stroke leaving no doubt that she was in fact the Penny we had heard about. In the blue abyss of Oahu's untouched north shore, we halted our trail run to watch the odd trio--a fishing boat, a paddleboarder, and a swimmer. No photographers, no TV crew, no crowds-- we felt lucky to be witnessing the take-off of this incredible inter-island adventure. And although we had never met any of the athletes involved, we felt a deep excitement and enthusiasm for them. Go Penny!!
At which point, 2 hikers with a guide book came by and I said-- hey do you know you are seeing a woman take off on a swim to Kauai right now? They looked in disbelief at the swimmer in the distance. "What??WOW!" they exclaimed. "That's 72 miles!" my friend Toney chimed in, "That's probably not in your guide book." We all laughed.