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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It Was A Mad, Mad Swim Across The Mozambique Channel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

They did it!

They never knew where they would land in Madagascar, but they finally landed after 24 days out in the Mozambique Channel, the treacherous waterway between Mozambique and Madagascar.

Beginning on February 28th with a small crew, South Africans Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot swam every day and finally finished on March 24th after swimming 458.7 km in 155 hours total.

It was an unprecedented charity stage swim from Mozambique to Madagascar (stage swim details are posted below).

Williams and Proudfoot are true daredevils who set out on a mind-boggling adventure on the Eastern African Front like the explorers of old. Stroke by stroke, kilometer by kilometer, day by day, the South African duo accomplished their goal with David de Villiers as their escort pilot, Damien Schumann as their photographer and social media manager, and Dr. Daphne Lyell as their team physician.

They had to utilize all their courage, tenacity, physiological talents, and psychological mettle to cross the Mozambique Channel. Logistically difficult, financially expensive, geographically inviting, and inherently risky, the unprecedented crossing tested Williams and Proudfoot in unique ways where danger was present during every single moment of their journey.

"They battled hectic current," wrote Schumann. "On day 3, they were trying to get through worst part of the challenge, strongest current close to Mozambique coast. At times 3.5 to 4 knots of current that had them swimming 1 kilometer forward and 3 kilometers sideways. It really tested the skipper's navigation skills as he tried to keep them on straight line."

Williams and Proudfoot planned to swim a minimum of 20 km per day, and they ended up swimming an average of 19.12 km daily. They stopped every night and started back up again the following morning. “The currents were a major factor. The period over the summer solstice is so we aimed to be half way by March 20th,” explain the two members of the Cape Town Masters Swimming Club and Vineyard Rondebosch Swimming Club. At every level, their planning was nearly spot on and a tribute to their team including David Grier, an extreme athlete who paddled across the Mozambique Channel in 2010.

Like many swimmers in tropical marine environments, they encountered an occasional shark and abundant marine life, some large, some small, some aggressive, some venomous. “Sharks are an obvious concern, but we didn't use a shark cage.” They even met a Madagascar Patrol vessel that came across them as a suspiciously slow-moving vessel. "After a short boarding, they wished [us] well."

It never got easier and, in fact, their last day was the toughest. With counter currents, they were forced to swim 7 hours to do the last 8.2 miles to Cap st Andre on Madagascar.

The stage swim results:

Day 1 - February 28th: 9.67 km @ 3.22 kph
Day 2 - March 1st: 39.12 km @ 6.52 kph
Day 3 - March 2nd: 22.16 km @ 3.69 kph
Day 4 - March 3rd: 18.18 km @ 3.03 kph
Day 5 - March 4th: 14.43 km @ 2.31 kph
Day 6 - March 5th: 10.14 km @ 1.69 kph
Day 7 - March 6th: 11.26 km @ 1.88 kph
Day 8 - March 7th: 18.48 km @ 2.77 kph
Day 9 - March 8th: 20.17 km @ 2.77 kph
Day 10 - March 9th: 17.33 km @ 2.34 kph
Day 11 - March 10th: 13.78 km @ 2.12 kph
Day 12 - March 11th: 10.88 km @ 2.21 kph
Day 13 - March 12th: 24.89 km @ 3.32 kph
Day 14 - March 13th: 29.26 km @ 4.18 kph
Day 15 - March 14th: 11.80 km @ 2.62 kph
Day 16 - March 15th: 24.00 km @ 3.16 kph
Day 17 - March 16th: 26.82 km @ 3.58 kph
Day 18 - March 17th: 24.05 km @ 3.24 kph
Day 19 - March 18th: 23.47 km @ 3.09 kph
Day 20 - March 19th: 20.81 km @ 2.97 kph
Day 21 - March 20th: 24.53 km @ 3.42 kph
Day 22 - March 21st: 10.69 km @ 1.73 kph
Day 23 - March 22nd: 17.44 km @ 2.75 kph
Day 24 - March 23rd: 15.40 km @ 2.17 kph





Their website is here; their Facebook page is here; their tweets are here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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