Triple Crown of the "Impossible"

edited August 2013 in General Discussion
Like I said in the other post, I had lots of time yesterday while being yardwork-waterboarded to think.

It occured to me that there must be three swims that are so difficult, albeit doable, that each one would, of itself, be extraordinary. Anyone able to complete all three (channel rules) would be in a class by themselves. Here are my three suggestions:

1) North Channel - Obviously this is doable since a small number of people have done it. However, this certainly meets the extraorinary criteria. This is the "easy" (ha ha) swim of the three. Issues: Cold, jellyfish, currents, weather, rough.

2) Farrallons - Only done twice, although a few people have knocked on the door lately and that number is sure to increase slightly sometime in the near future. This is one of those swims that makes me break out into a cold sweat when I think about it. Issues: Cold, distance, weather, rough, men in grey suits.

3) To my knowledge this next one has not only never been done, but it has never even been mentioned by anyone. So you are hearing it here first: Tristan da Cunha to Nightingale Island - About 20 km from the most remote inhabited island (pop 275) in the world to it's nearest uninhabited island. (There is another island about 20 km away and another about 35 km away, but I believe they are wildlife preserves, so landing there might not be allowed.) Issues: This is the dark side of the moon - not even a guess as to what you would be up against, fairly difficult to get to, nearly impossible logistics (?).

I did not mention Cuba-Florida as it has yet to be done under "channel" rules, although I strongly suspect that with a bit of luck on currents and jellies, Penny Palfrey, et al could do it. Still...

Sea of Cortez might be a (very) worthy substitute in the near future, if/when that gets done.

The appeal of having a warm water swim to replace one of these colder swims is very strong in my mind.

Any other suggestions?

-LBJ
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot

Comments

  • NiekNiek Member
    edited August 2013
    Why only salt water?
    Lake Titicaca a 80-190 km (50 - 118 mi) wide crossing at 3,812 m (12,507 ft) altitude with a 'cosy' average surface temperature of 10 to 14 °C (50 to 57 °F) in their summer. Now that would be a first.

    No grey suits, lampreys or jellyfish :-)
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2013
    San Nicolas Island, the remotest of the California Channel Islands, and once home to the lady from Island of the Blue Dolphins.

    http://santabarbarachannelswim.org/islands/sannicolas.html

    61 statute miles to the mainland, by the shortest route. Never attempted by any route. Logistically difficult due to it being a US Navy weapons testing facility.
  • @Niek - No real reason as to only saltwater - they just happened to be the ones that I thought of as constituting "impossible." I do really like Lake Titicaca as a candidate and hadn't even thought of it.

    @Evmo - OK, that is certainly a worthy candidate. I assume that you feel that it is "doable" at some level even if it hasn't been done - getting strafed aside. I'd say "no" if the Farallons swim was kept on the list if only not to have 2 so close together.

    Still looking for a warmer water suggestion, however, since I think that would give some balance and not just favor cold water swimmers.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Three Channels, North, English, Catalina .
    Accumulated time for all three swam in any order, consecutively, includes travel time. 3 days anyone?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Still looking for a warmer water suggestion, however, since I think that would give some balance and not just favor cold water swimmers.

    Kaieiewaho Channel between Oahu & Kauai. 72 miles. Done once by a 6-person relay. Attempted twice by @PennyPalfrey but aborted both times to debilitating jellies.

    Perhaps it would be better, though, to focus on more "doable" distances in the 20-40 mile range (at least, doable by more people), where the great challenge derives mostly from conditions or psychological factors. In that case, I'd certainly endorse the Farallones & North Channel. As for the third... what about False Bay?
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    @evmo....Are you throwing your hat in the ring for any one of those you have mentioned...inquiring shark minds may want to know!!!
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited August 2013
    Warm Kokkilai Lagoon in Sri Lanka
    A 6,5 mi swim should be possible.
    But only possible during a few months of the year when the new jellyfish breed are still small and not dangerous. The sharks are kept out of the lagoon because of the sweet/brackish water.
    You should watch out for sea urchins on the shores.

    Difficult because off the timing and logistics.

    50 years ago I dived and swam in the lagoon from my fathers merchant ship. (Sweet memories)
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    Could we make this a "40 under 40" type list? 40 "impossible" swims under 40km. It would make it much more about the conditions than about the distance.

    The English Channel was once on this list. How fun would it be to see a few other get knocked off?
    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.
  • You want "warm"...here it is LBJ...Since moving to Dubai I've been searching for suitable long distance swims and one that got my attention was the Strait of Hormuz. Warm it is (breaking FINA temp rules has become my new normal here). 39km. I don't know if it has ever been swum. I don't if you'll ever get a permit to do that ...
  • Mandai said:

    Strait of Hormuz

    With all of the political aspects a swim like that could have, it's not hard to imagine that getting major international media coverage

  • Let me restate my original criteria and elaborate a bit. The original thought:

    It occured to me that there must be three swims that are so difficult, albeit doable, that each one would, of itself, be extraordinary.

    Further thoughts:
    1) I mostly was thinking along the lines of 3 swims that have a "holy #@*$%" reaction from other swimmers when they hear that someone has done one of the swims. I think that means that a given swim must have a certain recognition factor, at least within the swimming community. This would rule out some of the swims proposed that are little known or unknown. Admittedly, my third recommendation would fall into that category, but I hoped to spark some interest in what would be a very rare endevour.

    2) The swim must either have been done, albeit rarely, or be at least theoretically doable. It would be too easy to say "Swim from New York to Florida", but that is vaccuous. Likewise, it isn't just about distance or cold or whatever - any combo of factors can apply as long as it has the "holy @*&$%" factor.

    3) I want 3 swims. The idea of, say, a list of 40 swims as mentioned is certainly a great idea (and SHOULD be done as it would be a great service to the community), but I am looking for 3 that when put together will set a person apart and make them a member of a very small group.

    4) A warm water swim isn't necessary, per se, but it strikes me that being able to master that kind of temperature range is additionally impressive. That said, Mandai's suggestion that we boil the person alive might be tempting, but only if we don't like them much. Let's set the upper limit as FINA's (ill-advised) 31 C. (Tobias - You need to move from Dubai before you denature the proteins in your brain with water that hot!)

    5) The three swims should have a "reasonably wide" geographic dispersal. See my comment to @Evmo about Farallones and the CA channel swim.

    6) @Evmo - tell me about False Bay - I am having senior moment on the details.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    @Evmo - tell me about False Bay - I am having senior moment on the details.

    35km in a notoriously sharky part of South Africa. Don't know much about the conditions. Five solo successes, most recently @Ned Denison:

    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/324/false-bay-attempt-this-christmas

    Speaking of bay crossings, Monterey Bay might be a good candidate, if perhaps too geographically close to the Farallones. Still just one solo success, Cindy Cleveland in 1980.
  • Lake Michigan is my chosen "extraordinary" swim. Chicago to Saint Joseph, MI., roughly 100k.
  • AquaRobAquaRob Charter Member
    @evmo I was just thinking Monterey Bay, Farallones and a San Nicolas swim would make for a pretty serious CA madman challenge... 2 corners of the red triangle and a navy bombing range, that's pretty legit!
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    Two fins up!!! @AquaRob....and @evmo this is it!!! better consult with trouble though,,,
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    edited August 2013
    I see a common theme based on the fact that it is currently "Shark Week" here in the US....how about a swim situated in Lake Nicaragua?!?! Fresh water lake where Bull Sharks jump up the rapids from the Caribbean Sea and populate the lake...it does have a spectacular pair of volcanoes on islands in the middle!
    image
  • Round the Isle of Wight.

    It's possible as it's been done 3 times, but it's a monster of a swim.00 http://openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title=Isle_of_Wight_Circumnavigation_-_Solo
  • Hanging out there, undone, is the Irish Sea. It's about 50 miles though for the best line. Unfortunate external events stopped the first attempt on it last year by a forum member. Lion's Manes, weather and cold water, but not as severe currents as the North Channel.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2013

    Lake Michigan is my chosen "extraordinary" swim. Chicago to Saint Joseph, MI., roughly 100k.

    An extraordinary swim indeed.

    Out of curiosity, why that particular route? A nod to the famous Ted Erikson / Abou-Heif duel in 1963? That's the funny thing about lake swims - there's always a shorter route across.
  • Lake Michigan is my chosen "extraordinary" swim. Chicago to Saint Joseph, MI., roughly 100k.

    In Lake Michigan, the one I was hoping to do this summer is South Manitou Island to Leland. Sixteen miles. Beautiful area, familiar to many who live here in Michigan, but to the best of my knowledge no one has done it.

    My upcoming move to the San Luis Obispo area kept me from it this summer, but some day. . .
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited August 2013

    South Manitou Island to Leland

    Sounds good but I'm not sure if it comes into the category swims that are so difficult, albeit doable.
    Unless one has to cross 2 shipping lanes and/or similar obstacles.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Point well taken, Niek. This one isn't likely to be as difficult as any of the others listed. Still, the fact that no one has done it is interesting.
  • If the swims are soooo difficult, maybe only one or two swimmers may be capable of swimming them. The swims will seem too exclusive and risk losing interest.
    But if you link a few swims together in a theme: eg the big lakes : Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, Lough Neagh or the Channels as mentioned before: Catalina, North and English. And simply seek the quickest to swim all three (even non stop). I think it would generate much more excitement and would be practical. I guess one year, someone might swim all Oceans Seven swims inside a year. But why not three big swims in three days including travel time?
  • Haydn said:

    If the swims are soooo difficult, maybe only one or two swimmers may be capable of swimming them. The swims will seem too exclusive and risk losing interest.
    But if you link a few swims together in a theme: eg the big lakes : Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, Lough Neagh or the Channels as mentioned before: Catalina, North and English. And simply seek the quickest to swim all three (even non stop). I think it would generate much more excitement and would be practical. I guess one year, someone might swim all Oceans Seven swims inside a year. But why not three big swims in three days including travel time?

    My original point was that I was looking for something that would be extremely exclusive by way of difficulty of each swim and completing all 3 would be something extraordinary. I am not overly concerned about it being "popular" or the time frame in which it might be accomplished.

    Your idea has great merit and I think it is another triple crown of sorts, although I'm not sure what you would call it. (The Triple Crown of the Daft ???)

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Look no further than Steve Redmonds swim on August 23rd. Ireland to Wales from Rosslaire to St Davids. It's only a one way, but same distance as an English Channel 3 way.
  • Considering the success in North Channel crossings this year, I propose adding an unprecedented double crossing of the North Channel to this list.
    Lactate is for wimps.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    The Todd River in the dry season. A very hard swim, but boat crews are easily obtained.
    http://www.henleyontodd.com.au/
  • Bass Strait, Victoria to Tasmania, 97km.
    Done once by Tammy Van Wisse in 17hrs 46mins.
    1996 in the shark cage days. Possibly wetsuit as well but not sure. Her website seems to be gone.
    http://openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title=Tammy_van_Wisse
    I think the route is from Victoria to Flinders Island just north of mainland Tassie.
    White Pointers, rough, remote, coldish 14-18C.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Bump, in light of recent developments.
  • Hmmmm.... I guess now that Craig Lenning has both the Farrallons and the North Channel, which were two of my original suggestions, we need to pick a third, PDQ. I still like my original idea, Tristan da Cunha to Nightingale Island, but no one else really "bit" on that.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
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