Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Forrest Nelson Does Anacapa Island

English Channel in 10 hours and 33 minutes. Catalina Channel in 10:35. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 9:41. Molokai Channel in 15:59. Cook Strait in 11:56. Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 10:21. So what was next for experienced channel man Forrest Nelson?

A 12-mile swim to Anacapa Island.

Forrest swam from Silver Stand Beach in Ventura on the Californian coast to Anacapa Island on September 5th in 8 hours and 57 seconds. While the 63˚F (17.2˚C) waters were bearable on the temperature side, the 15-25 knot winds with 35-knot gusts presented a challenge. When combined with the shifting currents, Forrest once swam in place for 45 minutes and lost ground on another occasion when the elements proved greater than his will.

Forrest said, "Without Scott Zornig, none of this would be possible. Scott urged me to get into marathon swimming. His encouragement especially helped, last weekend, when the conditions were defeating my best efforts. Each solo swim becomes a team achievement. A special thank you goes to our crew: kayaker Alex Gray, his son Benjamin, and English Channel swimmer Gino Hanrahan. Their determination grew with the rising seas. They never gave up, nor did our boat pilot, Bob Andrieux. However, we had several moments of doubt. It’s kinda fitting that a difficult crossing would come on Labor Day weekend. My volunteer crew had not bargained for the conditions. Thankfully, as long as I was making progress, they were with me in the fight."

Upon finishing on the uninhabited natural habitat, whose Indian name means mirage island, Forrest was greeted a harem of seals to become the 16th person to successfully cross the 12-mile channel.

1 comment:

Ahelee said...

Forrest is a self-less local hero in SoCal. We love him.

Congratulations to swimmer and crew on a great swim!