Kimberley Chambers became the 27th person in history and the first person from New Zealand to complete a solo Molokai Channel crossing today.

It was anything but easy.

She left Kalua Koi on Molokai, normally a much further north point than the usual Laau Point at 8:23 pm yesterday. After enjoying a good first four hours, the conditions went south in a hurry soon after midnight.

Winds picked up to over 30 miles per hour and the seas became swollen with 8-10 foot white water.

Not that those Force 5 conditions were too difficult for Chambers to continue on for another 12 hours, but it did cause severe seasickness for her entire support crew who were hanging on as best they could during the rock n roll crossing. Up and over, left and right, tossed like a sock in a dryer, Chambers had to constantly adjust her stroke and breathing, but she was not about to get out. Captain Matt Buckman had enough confidence in her to get her across the Kaiwi Channel (or the Channel of Bones in English).

But the currents and winds were just too strong to finish on the closest and traditional finish on Sandy Beach. Like Stephen Redmond and Michael Venture’s swims to the far side, Captain Buckman was able to guide Chambers around Hanauma Bay over the swollen, angry ocean and into the calmer, flatter Maunalua Bay.

Once inside the bay, Chambers was able to climb out at China Walls at 3:50 pm in the afternoon after a battle of 19 hours 27 minutes (shown above). “It was horrendous. It was the hardest swim of my life. The waves were just massive and I had to fight currents most of the night. It by far the most difficult challenge so far,” quietly explained the usually gregarious Kiwi. It was painfully obvious why only after she struggled out from the sea cliffs at China Walls with swollen lips. Whip-like lashes all over her body showed that over an estimated 50 Portuguese man of war stings under Force 5 conditions had caused her suffering beyond belief.

She now has two Oceans Seven swims crossed off her list and is #25 on the all-time list.

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

Upper photo of Kimberley Chambers by Brett Hillyard. Second photo of Chambers at China Walls byHawaii News Now. Reported by Linda Kaiser.



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