Joe Locke Farallon Swim 2013

edited April 7 in Cheering Section
My fellow Sharks et al,

Joe Locke is making good progress swimming from the Farallons to San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge)...been swimming for about 5 hours ..they say 53f at the Devils Teeth...Can track him on

or here



  • edited June 2013
    Last year's episode, for informational purposes:

    Go Joe!
  • Wow, he is kicking it! Looks like starting at the islands and swimming in to SF is the right direction. It only can get warmer, right? Go Joe!
  • oxooxo
    edited June 2013
  • Any communication with crew personnel at all??

    On the tracker, it looks like he's making great progress.
  • Sharko here,

    Simon Dominguez on the pilot boat reported an hour or so ago that Joe is a machine....water is going from 53f to 58f which is the right direction for this swim...
  • Thanks for the update!!! Very exciting!
  • Go Joe! Definitely gonna join the ranks of Ted Erikson and Col. Stewart Evans!
  • oxooxo
    edited June 2013
    If I'm reading it correctly, the tidal currents are about to change in Joe's favor:

    with the most recent 'realtime' data lagging by a few hours (for 1hr@6km, most recent is 01:00UTC)

    1mph = 45cm/s
  • Update from the boat: he's been pulled.
  • how long was the swim?
  • 10 hr 54 minutes a hell of an effort in those temperatures
  • Nice work Joe. Glad to have read that you've been recovering at home and not a hospital -- those temps can be unforgiving.
  • edited June 2013
    I don't agree with the touching of the land as the swim starts or finishes from a buoy (maybe it should finish by touching another man-made structure such as the spansion of the bridge or finishing on land), but from all accords, evidence of a neoprene cap is non-existent! Ask Ted and he will tell you that he did not use one (he had a neoprene flap on his neck however from what I understand) and ask Col Stewart's family and they will tell you he did not use one either. All other rules are justified and by English Channel Standards...regardless this is a hardcore swim and is not taken lightly!
  • Joe definitely did not have a neoprene cap. I was just referencing what the Federation allows. When I gave it a go last May, I wanted to go with the standard rules as well and only wore one silicone cap, a square cut bathing suit, and unfortunately dark tinted goggles! :o) I don't know the full history of the swimmers in 1966 (the likes of Ike Papke) but they too went "traditional". I Agree @OWSmile...Joe is incredible and keeps going further and further with each go! There is no doubt that he will nail this on his next attempt!
  • edited July 12
    I hope whoever achieves the first solo success since Ted Erikson will do it without neoprene. Given that the federation currently cannot claim any solo successes, I would say the policies regarding swimwear are not yet set in stone.
  • This swim has some special problems....Water temperature is very cold most of the year at the Farallons with the best temperatures usually occurring after the White Tippers come back from vacation in Mid July according to the naturalist I met with....the other is where do you land...if you land at Bolinas Point you avoid the extreme currents of the San Francisco Bay and you wind up swimming about 21 miles in a straight line....if you land at Pt Bonita the swim distance is 26 miles. It is over 30 miles to walk up on the beach at Aquatic Park and into the South End Sauna and if you don't hit the tide right you will be affected out say 5 miles from the Pt..that is why it is much easier to go to Bolinas....If all of the attempts are going to be done early because of the fear factor then probably the shortest distance will give the opportunity to more swimmers making for a real "Farallons Channel Swimming Association" or "Bubble Cap Channel Swimming Association".... Note both of the successful swims were done in Late August and in September...A successful solo, without neoprene but bubble ok, will require a good weather day and water temperature the body can tolerate for say 12 to 15 bubble cap is off to the one that does it...I think it is possible to slip in north of Pt Bonita and use the N to S pump action to round the Pt even before the flood starts....a lot of cold water training, logistics & luck...
  • oxooxo
    edited June 2013
    @Sharko - thanks for adding pertinent details.

    Back to Joe's swim, I've a question of curiosity that I was hoping someone with local knowledge would address. I had read somewhere that due to the currents, there was no possibility of actually completing the swim given the start time.

    On the other hand, the COCMP surface currents, which are observations not forecasts, show the surface currents changing in his favor right around 9pm PDT on the 10th (4am UTC on the 11th) and staying that way for the next 4+ hours.

    Here is a map of the COCMP observations:

    and here is a timezone converter for PDT and UTC:

  • I am not a tide current expert...but know from experience that when there is a tide starts along the two shorelines it can still be ebbing in the shipping channel while along the northerly and southerly shorelines it will start flooding...I will see if I can get a graphic of these currents as it is really mystifying based upon so many contention is that a swimmer needs to get out of the shipping channel until a real flood starts and my supposition is that the swimmer head north of Pt Bonita and then ride a prevailing N/S current to Pt Bonita and if it is still ebbing it will be easier to swim near shore as the flood will be starting there first...There are graphics of the currents in the bay...I just need to find them
  • oxooxo
    edited June 2013
    I'd be interested in the charts.

    '... starts along the two shorelines first ...' that makes sense considering inertia (not a dominating factor along the N/S Beaches). In fact that may explain all of it, I imagine, since the offset would induce large-scale, weakly predictable eddies in the channel until the flood is well underway. In this sense, Joe was ahead of his time.
  • edited April 7
    Just a note on the Farallon swims....I remember speaking to Fred Rogers many years ago about his swim from the Farallons in, I think 1955....around the time he swam the legnth of Tahoe....I don't think Fred should be forgotten and someone should do some research on Fred....there are a few old timers that will know

  • oxooxo
    edited June 2013
    Article about Fred Rogers by Steve Yingling on 2003-10-28 in the Tahoe Daily Tribune

    Google cache shows it intact ...

    and a little bit more about Fred Rogers in another Steve Yingling article on 2005-08-11

  • Very confusing. DID Fred indeed swim the distance between island and mainland as the article indicates or was the first crossing by Col. Evans? I wouldn't think there would have been such a scrambling in 1966-67 to be the pioneer if this in fact happened.
  • Sharko" said:
    I remember speaking to Fred Rogers many years ago about his swim from the Farallons in, I think 1955....around the time he swam the legnth of Tahoe....I don't think Fred should be forgotten and someone should do some research on Fred....there are a few old timers that will know
    This issue (and its resolution) was recently discussed on the South End email list. Phil Cutti found this in the San Jose Mercury News:
    But, in 1968, Rogers went to extremes to take on a challenge - he tried to swim from the Farrallon Islands to Stinson Beach. He has a framed black-and-white photo to prove it. He also has newspaper clippings of his mother, Matilda, standing holding a pair of binoculars on Stinson Beach. She's crying.

    Rogers was unable to complete the trip. One of the support boats got lost in the fog, the tide changed and Rogers was repeatedly stung by jellyfish. He was pulled out of the water a mile and a half from Stinson Beach after spending more than 18 hours in the ocean. Rogers was more mad than sad, especially when a newspaper article detailing the swim insisted Rogers "cried in terror."

    Seeing this, Rogers confronted the reporter, pointed at his own eyes and sternly asked, "Do you see any tears?"
  • edited July 12
    I am delighted to report that Joe Locke today completed the first solo swim from the Farallones to the Golden Gate Bridge (29.7 statute miles) since Ted Erikson in 1967. His time was a new record, 13 hours 58 minutes. This was his seventh attempt.

    I was the observer on the swim; more details to follow.
  • Congrats Joe.... way to persevere!
    Quiet and sneaky this time.
  • Two fins up!!!! This is great swim!!!
  • Holy crap. Incredible time and incredible swim. Congrats Joe!
  • Amazing! Congrats Joe!
  • Awesome! Inspiring! Congratulations, Joe Locke!
  • Fantastic achievement! Congrats, Joe!

  • I never would've dreamed we'd have two successful Farallones attempts in the same year, and a speed record to boot.

    Then again, I never would've thought we'd have a slew of successful North Channel attempts as we experienced last year.

    The sport is changing................
  • Here's the observer report for Joe's swim:
  • A super report! Great job well done by swimmer, crew and whoever the observer fella is.

    "one got in my mouth". I've been stung what must be many hundred of times. Never got one of the little bastards in my mouth though! That's an experience I will happily forego.
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