Swimming Around The World

Swimming Around The World

In the English Channel swimming Google Group, a question was posed about the difference between the English Channel and other marathon swims. The venerable Kevin explained to the delight of marathon swimmers worldwide.

In his own humble words of wisdom based on decades of hard-earned experience, Kevin shared his perspectives of famous open water swimming venues around the globe:

English Channel (between England and France) – Strong tides which can be difficult to cross, unpredictable weather, short sharp waves, increasing swells in Force 5 or above, moderately cold, last five miles can take a long time. Swimmer is crossing, often at a diagonal, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world which is why the coastguards demand a high degree of qualification from pilots

North Channel (between Scotland and Ireland) – Very strong tides, unpredictable weather.

Cold sea temperatures (10°C/50°F to 14°C/56°F), lots of very toxic jellyfish, can be very rough very quickly (these are seas that once stove in the stern of a ferry and sank it). Just off the County Down coast there are islands where the tide runs nine-hours in one direction, four hours the other.

Catalina Channel (off the coast of California) – Can be big swells, start in the dark which is intimidating for swimmers unused to the idea of large marine life with sharp teeth, offshore headwinds during the day which make life difficult for a slow swimmer.

Santa Barbara Channel (off the coast of California) – Brilliant weather when I did it, but I’m sure it can be the same as Catalina.

Round Manhattan Island (New York City) – Very strong tides but they’re with the swimmer as long you get to the corners on time. Can be very turbulent in the Hudson. Thunderstorms are an issue – I had to get out when there was lightning about then get back in again when the storm had passed.

Round Jersey (in the English Channel) – Very, very strong tides but with the swimmer as long as you get to the corners on time. Can be very rough. Very rocky and dangerous if a pilot doesn’t know the waters.

Lake Tahoe (between California and Nevada) – Lack of buoyancy. Feels as if you are sinking all the time. Altitude issues.

Round the Isle of Wight (in the English Channel) – Very, very strong tides, with the swimmer most of the time but there comes a point where you’re likely to go backwards for six hours. Can be very very turbulent off St Catherine’s Point

Chicago Shoreline (Lake Michigan) – A long way and unexpected currents which appear to be wind driven.

Lake Balaton (Hungary)- Same as for Chicago shoreline.

Strait of Gibraltar (between Spain and Morocco) – Very, very strong tides side-on to the swimmer and twice as fast west to east as they are east to west. Rough seas and a very rocky strongly tidal, with whirlpools, landing on the North African coast.

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