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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Great Whites Meet Great Irish - No Falsehood In The Bay

Ned Denison gave himself a Christmas present by flying to the shark's den of False Bay in South Africa. Instead of merely sight-seeing and vacationing as others do, Denison decided to plunge in the treacherously dangerous waters and swim 20 miles across False Bay.

His start time was early Sunday morning. His swim is being covered live by Owen O'Keefe on his blog here.

Swimming 20 miles across the English Channel or Catalina Channel is one thing, doing it in the company of the greatest congregation of Great White Sharks in the world is entirely a different story. Especially since there have been a slew (19 and counting) shark sightings in recent days along Denison's course. But sharks do not comprise of the entire story. The water temperature can vary from a low of 9°C to a high of 20°C depending on the wind direction. Known as one of the world's greatest bays, the grandiose venue of False Bay is situated near the Cape of Good Hope. True to his preference for difficult challenges, Denison has selected the traditional course across False Bay that can only be defined as tricky and bumpy at best due to strong cross winds.

According to the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, coastal swims were previously the swim of choice because the water is considerably warmer than that of the Atlantic Ocean and there is generally fewer ocean swells. Swims from Simonstown to Muizenberg were organized fairly regularly, but true crossings of False Bay take a swimmer from Rooi Els to Miller's Point, a distance of 35 km. Denison will attempt the 21st swim in history. Before him, only four swimmers have completed the 35 km course: Annemie Landmeters in 1989, Steven Klugman in 2004, Carina Bruwer in 2006, and Barend Nortje in 2007.

Recommended to Denison by the venerable Kevin Murphy and South African Carina Bruwer, the challenge always tugged at Denison's heart strings. With a rip-roaring fast crossing of the Catalina Channel in September, Denison was in tip-top shape and mentally prepared to face the Great White Sharks. The timing was right to follow-up with the urging of Murphy and Bruwer. "I wanted to sneak in another marathon swim during the long Irish winter. Plus, back in 2011, I tied the speed record for the 8 Cape Point swim where the last 6 km were in False Bay. I enjoyed the experience and always wanted to go back."

Follow the most shark-occupied swim course on the globe here, covered live by Owen O'Keefe.

What Denison may see underwater:

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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