Mark Makes Molokai

Mark Makes Molokai

After Mark Sowerby of Australia successfully completed the 34 km Derwent River Big Swim in Tasmania in 8 hours 55 minutes in March, he flew off to Hawaii to attempt a 42 km crossing of the Molokai Channel from Molokai to Oahu.

Earlier today, the 51-year-old completed a solid 14 hour 23 minute crossing of the channel, escorted by Michael Twigg-Smith who summed up his swim, “We started at Papohako Beach [on Molokai] at 5:20 pm last night and ended at Alan Davis Beach [on Oahu] at 7:43 am this morning. At the end, there was a little bit of current from the north, but other than that, there were no major jellyfish stings, no sealife sightings except for some humpback whales.

The most remarkable thing about Mark’s swim was his time of 14 hours 23 minutes because his English Channel crossing seven years ago was 14 hours 24 minutes.”

Sowerby said, “Captain Mike and his team of Shelley, Riley, Kainoa and Chris were absolute stars. They were professional from the start. It’s always nice to know when you hit the water the support team have so much a experience. They are superb kayakers with plenty of fully charged Shark Shields.

My coach Tim Denyer from Red Top Swim in the UK flew over to be there which was comforting. He is such an experienced open water swim coach. It is nice knowing he’s on the boat to adapt to the changing needs as the swim progresses and conditions inevitably change. He’s just one of those people you want in the trenches with you. 

My wife Heidi joined us and this was the first time she had been involved in a long swim. She was blown away by what’s involved and how tricky it gets – big swell, feeding, unexpected currents, difficult navigation, swimming and supporting in the dark, and just the duration of the event.

I was really lucky to escape without any major jellyfish stings and through the early to mid part of the swim the sting swell gave me a nice push. I would rather be lucky than smart. 

The finish at dawn was spectacular. What an incredible part of the world. My last 30 minutes was in crystal clear water over reef with incredible visibility. Swimming into Alan Davis Beach with Coach Tim, Captain Mike, and most of his team was one of the best memories of my life. Their authentic joy at getting this done reminds you once again how getting these big swims is such a team effort.”

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Steven Munatones