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Friday, March 19, 2010

Penny Palfrey Entering An Open Water Mosh Pit

Penny Palfrey is nailing down her final training stretch run and looking for some calm surf at the starting point of her 72-mile solo swim from the island of Oahu to the island of Kauai in Hawaii in late April.

Photo shows some heavy surf about to shatter fisherman huts in 1969.

Penny Palfrey’s starting point of her 72-mile swim from Oahu to Kauai - Ka'ena Point - is a spear-shaped protrusion into the Pacific Ocean.

It is an absolutely chaotic mosh pit of surf where massive swells of water from the north and west converge at a isolated point on Oahu. During big winter swells, Ka'ena Point regularly has waves (up to 15 meters or 49 feet in height), larger than those at the nearby renowned Waimea Bay. The intersection of towering surf from two directions creates a cacophony of turbulence and kinetic energy, effectively eliminating all human activity.

Throughout the year, most of Hawaii enjoys the beautiful calm aqua blue waters. Ka'ena Point is not this place.

Ka'ena Point is regularly bombed by the trains of gigantic ocean swells smashing into one another and crashing upon the volcantic reefs of the point. It is as if Mother Nature is being protective - warning mankind to stay away from this raw, untamed area in the middle of the Pacific. Ancient Hawaiian folklore states that Kaʻena Point is the jumping-off point for souls leaving this world.

Off-limits to most of humanity, but Penny is no mere mortal.

The real-time surf conditions at Ka'ena Point can be found here.

Of course, after Penny navigates the Ka'ena Point, she still has to deal with another 70+ miles of open water...with the possibility of meeting the Greatest Predators on Earth - the Great White Sharks - who travel from the Red Triangle near the Farallon Islands to the islands of Hawaii.


Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

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