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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Truth About False Bay

False Bay is not for the faint-hearted. Going in, swimmers know that the dramatically beautiful bay offers white, sandy beaches, beautiful valleys, sweeping vistas and Great White Sharks.

The distance across False Bay has eluded most who have tried. Annemie Landmeters, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer, was the first to cross in 1989 in 9 hours 56 minutes.

15 years later in 2004, South African Steven Klugman successfully swam across the currently recognized longest course - 33 km from the traditional starting point of Rooi Els on the western end of the False Bay to Miller's Point (Rumbly Bay) - in 14 hours 15 minutes. Two years later, Cape Town's Carina Bruwer became the third swimmer, finishing in 11 hours 58 minutes. In 2007, Barend Nortje of South Africa set the current record in 9 hours 33 minutes.

While the swimmer and crew can gaze upon a picturesque coastline, the difficulty of this swim is underneath the water's surface. In addition to strong currents and unpredictable winds and water temperatures (from 9°C to 19°C), the swimmer is swimming among one of the highest concentrations of Great White Sharks in the world where 122 shark attacks have occurred, resulting in 36 serious injuries and 27 deaths.

While Landmeters and others like Kevin Murphy, Peter Bales, Hugh Tucker and Theodore Yach swam without protection, swimmers have used Shark Shields since 2004.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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