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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jennifer Figge And Crew Safely Traverse The Atlantic

Risk is inherent in every open water swim. Swimmers and their crews know to expect the unexpected as swimming in the ocean, even close to shore, can be fraught with peril.

Sharks, jellyfish, waves, winds, currents; the elements that can be a catalyst for danger are well-known in the open water swimming community.

And the further away from shore the adventure is staged, the greater those elements loom over the safety of the swimmer and crew.

Jennifer Figge of Colorado certainly takes her swims to the extreme limit as she attempted once again to conduct a continuous stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean with a small crew and one escort boat. It was certainly an adventure as the preliminary reports of her daily swims shows below.

In summary, Figge swam a total distance of 257.5 nautical miles (477 km) over the course of 32 days (her unofficial record that is undergoing confirmation is below for reference).

The Colorado resident departed from Cape Verde off the coast of west Africa on April 8th and landed on the shores of Antigua in the Caribbean sea on May 9th escorted the entire distance by her escort boat Pearl under the leadership of Captain Tamas Hamor and First Mate Sara Hajdu.

Her crew was happy to announce that the nearly ideal conditions allowed Figge to swim every single day they were out at sea. Furthermore, she was to beat her mileage from her third stage swim (called AC3) of 250.7 nautical miles in total. "With every crossing it just keeps getting better and better," Figge said in a phone call from Antigua. "We added a GPS locator on my ankle on the second day in case that I got separated from the boat, but things went well. But this is really a gift that I was able to swim every day. I think I want to cross the Caribbean next, from Antigua to Mexico just so I can connect the dots."

"Early in the swim on April 17th, I saw some super unique jellyfish that looked like a segmented colon, outlined in purplish red, the length and diameter of my leg. In five ocean crossings of the Atlantic, it is the first one I have ever seen something like this. At other times, the Atlantic was like a giant swimming pool. I saw fins, thousands of tuna, big marlins deep under me, encountered some Portuguese man o war, dolphin, mahi-mahi, tons of fish, a humpback whale, 5 pilot whales, and swam through 2 time zones.

The humpback whale was approximately 40 feet and 50,000 lbs, although we didn't weight him...the whale surfaced right next to the boat, about 20 feet from me. He showed off for us with tale slapping, fin waving and jumping and rolling for about half an hour. It was absolutely thrilling." A thrilling adventure to say the least.

Her unofficial record of the continuous stage swim is below:

April 8: swam 2.7 nm in 1.5 hours under 25-33 knots and 15' choppy seas, 73ºF
April 9: swam 6.2 nm in 4.5 hours under 18-22 knots and 6-9' seas, 72ºF
April 10: swam 8.8 nm in 4.5 hours
April 11: swam 9.1 nm in 5 hours under 20-25 knots and 8-12' rough conditions and many man o war, 74ºF
April 12: swam 9 nm in 4.5 hours under 18-20 knots and 6-8' seas, 73ºF
April 13: swam 9.1 nm in 5 hours under 18-20 knots and 6-8' cloudy seas, 73ºF
April 14: swam 10.6 nm in 5 hours under 16-20 knots and 6-8' seas, 73ºF
April 15: swam 4.7 nm in 3 hours
April 16: swam 10.4 nm in 4 hours 45 minutes
April 17: swam 8.8 nm in 4 hours 50 minutes under 14-18 knots and 4-6' seas, 73ºF
April 18: swam 9 nm in 4.5 hours under 16-20 knots and 6-9' seas, 73ºF
April 19: swam 9.5 nm in 5 hours under 12-14 knots and 2-4' seas, 74ºF
April 20: swam 9.9 nm in 4.45 hours under 10-12 knots and 2-4' seas 74-75ºF
April 21: swam 8.6 nm in 4.45 hours under 4-6 knots and 0-2' seas, 75ºF
April 22: swam 9.8 nm in 5 hours under 8-10 knots and 2' seas, 75ºF
April 23: swam 7.3 nm in 4.5 hours under 5 knots and 3' seas, 76ºF
April 24: swam 11.3 nm in 4.45 hours under 14-16 knots and 3-5' seas, 73ºF [1,077 nm traversed, 1,071 km to go]
April 25: swam 7 nm in 4.55 hours under 12-14 knots and 3-6' seas, 76ºF
April 26: swam 9.8 nm in 4.40 hours under 8-12 knots and 2-4' seas, 76ºF
April 27: swam 7.5 nm in 4.5 hours under 6-8 knots and 0-2' seas, 77ºF
April 28: swam 8.8 nm in 4.45 hours under 10-12 knots and 3-5' seas, 77ºF
April 29: swam 11 nm in 4.45 hours under 12-14 knots and 4-6' seas, 77ºF
April 30: swam 7.8 nm in 4 hours under 12-14 knots and 6-8' seas, 77ºF
May 1: swam 7.4 nm in 4.3 hours under 18-20 knots and 6-10' seas, 77ºF
May 2: swam 10.9 nm in 5 hours under 18-20 knots and 10-12' seas, 78ºF
May 3: swam 8.3 nm in 4.5 hours under 14-18 knots and 8-12' seas, 78ºF
May 4: swam 5 nm in 3 hours under 15-16 knots and 8-10' seas, 78ºF
May 5: swam 6.5 nm in 3 hours 45 minutes under 12-14 knots and 4-6' seas, 78ºF [saw a frigate bird, a sign that land is near]
May 6: swam 6.5 nm in 3.5 hours under 6-8 knots and 0-2' seas, 79ºF
May 7: swam 8.1 nm in 3 hours 45 minutes under 10-12 knots and 4-6' seas, 79ºF
May 8: swam 8.1 nm in 3 hours
May 9: Landed on Pigeon Beach in Antigua

Upper photo shows Jennifer Figge in Antigua after the swim. The lower photo shows her escort boat crew including from left to right Zoltan Horvath (videographer), Dr Ewa Gorzzczyk (physician), Zoltan Hamor (engineer), Sara Hajdu (First Mate) and Captain Tamas Hamor.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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