Monday, May 30, 2011

Details on Penny Palfrey's Bridging the Cayman Islands 70 Mile Swim Attempt

Approx. 70 miles from Little to Grand Cayman
On June 9th, Penny Palfrey, a world record holding open water distance swimmer, will attempt a swim in the Caribbean  from  Little Cayman to Grand Cayman Island, a distance of about 70 miles. 
A few days before she will do what is actually a warm up swim for her, a five mile trip from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman Island thus bridging all the Cayman Islands and that's what this grand adventure is being called - Bridging the Cayman Islands Swim.
A few years back when I first heard Penny was coming to Hawaii to attempt a swim from Oahu to Kauai, I just had to be a part of it. I like to believe she chose me for my water skills, athletic ability and coaching experience but she keeps telling me how much she appreciates my enthusiasm. Friends and family will attest to that. A remote rocky coast, rough surf, lots of open water, sharks, jellyfish, wind, darkness and god knows what else - I love it.  I'm the boy in back of the class squirming in his seat with his hand thrust into the air saying "pick me, pick me."  
Penny swimming Oahu to Kauai

That excitement earned me a place on her team for her next Kauai attempt and her record setting swim from Molokai to Oahu. 
When she asked me to be part of this swim I was excited and also humbled to be part of such an adventure where many of the best in the business will be helping out on the most incredible swim ever.
If you want to follow this swim the best place to do that is here, of course. Also you really want to check out The Daily News of Open Water Swimming and the Open Water Source. Steve Munatones, an accomplished open water swimmer and coach, has all the answers and I think is the most knowledgeable guy in the world about open water swimming. These two sites are his way of getting that info out to the world. He has been responsible for so much of the organizing of this event and will be on the boat helping Penny during her swim. He's the most connected guy I've ever met and will be updating his sites and probably tweeting the whole swim.
Penny and Chris Palfrey also have a blog where you might want to look both before and after her swim.
I'll be blogging about all the behind the scenes stuff that makes up a big part of these adventures. 

Right now i just want to get the basics clear to all interested.

*For years the Cayman Islands have had a very popular 1 mile open water swim race. Swimming is already a big deal there.
*Steve Munatones and Frank Flowers dreamed up this 70 mile swim and pitched it to the only open water swimmer in the world who had a realistic chance of doing it. She obviously said yes.
*Steve Munatones, Frank Flowers and Lexi Kelly have inspired much confidence in how well they have organized this Swim.
*Penny picked a very experienced international crew to help her.
*Penny will start swimming at 3am on June 9th (Cayman time) from the west end of Little Cayman Island  (subject to change.)
*This will be the longest open water swim ever by the strict rules of no fins, no wetsuit and no shark cage.
*The island to island straight line distance is 67.25 miles. That is what both the Guinness Book and the International Swimming Hall of Fame will use as the distance although Penny may actually swim several miles further. 
*Penny is saying 30 to 40 hours to complete this swim.
*There will be at least 25 – 30 people on the water helping  and dozens more on land. 
*A kayak (Richard Clifford and I  paddling) will be next to Penny at all times as well as an 18ft zodiac and a larger 65 ft escort boat following along.
*Swim finish: N19 21.051 W81 05.393. 
This is where Penny will finish her swim
*According to Steve Munatones, "We will also be providing live audio updates, tweets, numerous re-tweets, Facebook updates, images taken by helicopters (that can  take close-ups from great distances) and a wide variety of other means in order to make this swim THE most well-planned and documented swim in history.  The only other comparable marathon swim in my experience was Diana Nyad’s attempt in 1978 to swim from Cuba to Florida, but we now have the technological ability to do this all in real-time." 

Check back for more.

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