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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nature Nixes Night Train, Sea Sinks Sueño

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

After a kick-off from the harbor with an escort of a huge pod of dolphins and a great start on Day One, Mother Nature had something in store for the Night Train Swimmers who were attempting to become the first relay of swimmers across the 163 km Sea of Cortez.

But as night fell and the Sueño 88 relay team powered through the night, things became increasingly difficult. Before midnight, the sea has grown to 6 feet and the wind started to gust up to 20 mph.

In one of the most diverse seas in the world, they expectedly encountered a variety of marine life en route in the darkness: turtles, marlins, dolphins, and jellyfish here and there.

But as sunrise dawned upon captains Vito Bialla, Alejandro Abarroa, and Antonio Caballero, and swimmers David Ogden, Mauricio Prieto, Luane Rowe, Richard Ernst, Shannon Navarro, and Susan Moody Prieto things started to south.

By 6 am, the team collectively decided that Mother Nature had firmly grasped the upper hand and called it a (nearly full) day.

Captain Bialla, so optimistic after being Walkerized on the Baja California side of the Sea of Cortez, reported shortly after 6 am, "Bad news. We have called it. We are facing 30 knot winds with 5-foot seas, breaking whitecaps, waves. The forecast is even worse. It is not ever safe to swim in anymore. All of us concluded that we did not want to do this for another day, another night, and maybe finishing the next evening.

We were doing 1 mph. The weather just turned horrible. Now it is whitecaps, huge whitecaps. So that is it. That's life. Everyone got through the night...and the jellyfish don't add to the equation either

But the nearly 21-hour effort was only one part of the charity swim equation. The Night Train Swimmers continue to raise money and awareness for helping at-risk youth become water safe through swim lessons. For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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