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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bon Bini Aruba, Planning An Unprecedented Swim

There are literally millions of swims around the Planet Earth that have not yet been planned, attempted or completed. Swimming around or across the thousands of islands in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean are alternatives. Swimming around Aruba, a 20-mile long island in the Caribbean Sea is another.

A circumnavigation around the 6-mile-wide island in the southern Caribbean would be a rough, warm water swim of at least 50 miles. It would not be easy at all with the ever-present trade winds of the island. While you might be lucky on half of the swim, the other half would most likely be rough as can be.

But, if you are swimming on a perfect day under the balmy warm weather in turquoise Caribbean Sea, the swim might make it easier than a circumnavigation around Catalina Island (a la Cindy Cleveland and Forrest Nelson).

The winds are steady, but the island is outside the hurricane belt about 15 miles from the Venezuelan coast. So the timing of the potential circumnavigation could fit a motivated swimmer’s schedule. There are other advantages for the committed marathoner:

As a very popular Caribbean vacation spot, there are plenty of sea-worthy vessels and reliable, experienced mariners in town who could serve as an escort boat pilot and experienced local crew. These mariners could tell you the optimal starting point and conditions to make this unprecedented swim.

On the leeward (western) side, there are long stretches of pristine sand beaches. On the windward (eastern) side, the constant presence causes waves to crash against rocky bluffs. One strategy for a circumnavigation is to tackle the Wild Side (windward) side first while you are fresh, and then finish off the marathon swim on the Mild Side (leeward) side when you tire.

Since most Arubans speak Dutch, English and Spanish, many swimmers can feel comfortable speaking in their native tongue.

Bon bini means welcome in Papiamento, the local language that is a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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