Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dan Martin - Crossing It Right

British adventurer Dan Martin is crossing the Atlantic Ocean the hard way - and the right way.

An amazing adventure.

Starting in May 2010, Dan will attempt a 5,800K (3,603-mile) crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Brest in northwestern France, hoping to complete his swim in 3-4 months. But unlike the other three individuals who have crossed the Atlantic largely depending on the strength of the ocean currents, Dan's Global Triathlon ocean sea leg is going to admirably follow the standard and more restrictive rules of stage swimming. That is, instead of getting on an escort boat and floating across the ocean when he is resting, sleeping and eating, Dan is going finish each day's eight-hour swim and then mark his position by GPS. His boat will literally drop him back into the ocean to begin the next day's swim at the precise spot he finished the day before.

Impressive. Inspirational. Impossible?

While average open water swimmers get frustrated with surface chop and even waves of up to 1-2 meters, Dan is going to have to deal with huge ocean swells. If the situation gets too dangerous to swim out there in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he is going to have to get out of the water and then sit around in those same dangerous seas and jump back in the next day.

He'll have nowhere to hide.

Dangerous. Demanding. Unachievable?

Herculean, we say.

Additionally, unlike the other individuals who crossed the Atlantic, Dan is not going to wear a wetsuit, he is not going to use fins or a snorkel and he will have no benefit of a floating shark cage. No, none of that. Dan is going to attempt his swim under the standard rules of the English Channel.

But, in a nod to safety and the Man in the Gray Suit, Dan will wear a Shark Shield, used by other established marathon swimmers such as Penny Palfrey, that will emit electro-magnetic pulses to repel sharks, although Dan admittedly will rely most heavily on the vigilance of his support crew.

As Dan's Global Triathlon website promotes the challenge, "This will be the single greatest feat of human endurance, ever attempted."

We have to agree under the rules Dan has set for himself: he is a modern-day aquatic Hercules.

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