Remembering Penny Palfrey’s Bridging The Cayman Islands On WOWSA Live
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Penny Palfrey, a mother of three and a grandmother of one from Townsville, Queensland, Australia, committed to the Bridging The Cayman Islands in June 2011 in the Cayman Islands after failing at completing two attempts of swimming from the islands of Oahu to Kauai in the state of Hawaii in 2010.
The inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, originally from England with dual citizenship of Australia, was a former world-class pool swimmer who subsequently set records in the Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel and Santa Barbara Channel as well as completed channel swims in the Cook Strait, English Channel, Catalina Channel and various other marathon swims.
The Bridging The Cayman Islands, organized and sponsored by Frank Flowers with the help of his daughter Dara Flowers-Burke and a large number of volunteers, was originally estimated to take Palfrey between 30-40 hours of non-stop swimming where she encountered waves, winds, currents and marine life including sharks and jellyfish. “The Bridging The Cayman Islands was originally unimaginable, certainly unpredictable, and remains unprecedented,” recalls Steven Munatones who retold the backstory of her adventure on today’s edition of WOWSA Live.
Along the way, she was escorted by an 65-foot mothership with medical staff, media and support crew. She was escorted by a second 65-foot boat from Red Sail and a smaller rubber boat. Her husband Chris Palfrey was on the 65-foot escort boat with a crew of seasoned support watermen from 11 different countries. Penny was always sandwiched between the escort boats and her kayakers that included Jeff Kozlovich of Hawaii and Richard Clifford of New York who constantly guided, fed and hydrated her. The entire 40-hour adventure remained a focused and intense as she encountered textured conditions, sharks, jellyfish, currents, hyperthermia, extreme macerated skin, internal swelling, external inflammation, extreme sunburn, and fatigued muscles.
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