A Big Swim Through A Marine Sanctuary

A Big Swim Through A Marine Sanctuary

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Many adventure swimmers, marathon swimmers, and channel swimmers around the world plan and complete their charity swims in order to raise money and awareness and spur positive action for ecological or environmental causes or non-profit groups.

It would be essentially appropriate in a designated marine sanctuary.

The Big Swim was one of the early charity swims within the national marine sanctuary along the California coast. But it was not your traditional channel crossing. Instead, 55 open water swimmers donated funds to benefit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Heal the Ocean and took off on a 26-mile (42 km) crossing that was organized by Emilio Casanueva, founder of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association.

The swimmers all gathered on a single large boat and took turns to swim from Santa Cruz Island. Some wanted to swim at night; some wanted to swim for a few minutes; some wanted to swim with wetsuits; some wanted to swim traditionally. The swimmers who donated the most received the opportunity to make their choice of when to swim first.

With great food and great conversation among the large group of swimmers and volunteer support crew, it was an outstanding charity swim from Santa Cruz Island to East Beach in Santa Barbara that raised tens of thousands of dollars. Occasionally, the low-pressure swim relay took stops along the way as the swimmers and crew marveled at the beauty of the California Channel Islands.

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a reserve area off the California coast that provides protection to its extraordinary natural and cultural resources so that nature can thrive, historic shipwrecks and artifacts remain respectfully in place, cultural connections remain strong, and careful public use and enjoyment can be sustained. Designated in 1980 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the sanctuary spans 1,470 square miles surrounding five of the Channel Islands: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association