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Thursday, April 8, 2010

What An Adventure In Sitka, Alaska

Kelsey Jacobsen, an AmeriCorps Member for Coastal Zone Management for the Sitka Conservation Society in Alaska, is helping organize the 10K Sitka Sound Adventure Swim in Sitka, Alaska.

The August 8th race is a, simply described, an adventure. The race can be done solo or as a 2- or 4-person relay, but the water temperature is about 55°F (12.7°C). The race will start and end on Japonski Island at the University of Alaska. The teams can be all male, all female or mixed-gender.

Because the area is so rugged and safety is always an issue, escort kayakers are required for all solo swimmers and relays. For the relays, each swimmer’s first leg is 30 minutes with 15-minute succeeding legs. If a person cannot finish his or her leg, the boat is allowed to keep its motor on only to keep present position for the duration of that swimmer’s portion. If the next swimmer enters the water before the proper time, the team will be disqualified.

The marathon swim is like no other. Sitka Sound is protected by Kruzof Island and by a natural arch in Baranof Island. Mount Edgecumbe, an extinct volcano on Kruzof Island, looms over Sitka Sound with views of the open Pacific Ocean extending as far as the eye can see.

There is a maximum of 14 individual swimmers and 6 relays in the charity swim for the American Diabetes Association. Everyone must qualify by completing a swim faster than 40 minutes for a 2K. All solo swimmers who do not wear a wetsuit must submit witnessed proof of a continuous 1-hour swim in water at or below 60°F (15.5°C).

The race was inspired by the first solo swim in the area by Claudio Rose in 2009.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones

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