Tuset / Denison / Vanegas - Île St Joseph, French Guiana

Île St Joseph to French Guiana mainland near Kourou

13.3 km

3 hours, 45 minutes on February 17, 2016

Observed and documented by Bruce Foulquier & Michael McCabe


These were triple-tandem solo swims off the same boat, with:

  • Jacques Tuset (France)
  • Ned Denison (Ireland)
  • Jills Vanegas (France)

Swim Route

  • Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean
  • Route Description: Île St Joseph to French Guiana mainland near Kourou
  • Start: Île St Joseph, southwest side (5.280587, -52.584282)
  • Finish: French Guiana mainland, northwest of Kourou (5.180691, -52.650902)
  • Route Distance: 13.3 km (8.3 mi)

Support Personnel

  • Escort Boat: Prelude (CY7846092)
  • Pilot: Bruce Foulquier
  • Observer: Bruce Foulquier, Michael McCabe
  • Crew: Andrea Egea, Landry Vanegas

Swim Data

  • Start: February 17, 2016, 0833 (French Guiana time: GMT-3)
  • Finish: 1218
  • Elapsed: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Historical Claims: First unassisted swim from the islands to the mainland

Summary of Conditions

  • Sea Temp: 26.6C (80F)
  • Air Temp: 30C (86F)
  • Wind Speed: Force 4-5, northeast
  • Wave Height: 2 meters


Download original (PDF)



MSF Standard, no deviations or exceptions.

Observer Log

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Narrative Account

By Ned Denison

We completed the swim today. Devil’s Island is one of 3 Prison Islands (all very close together) - and restricted access. So we swam from Ile St Joseph (where they had the prison pits). The closest distance to land is 12.7km……but of course there was NO CHANCE of going there! We landed much further up the coast. Hint we were just above Brazil…near the European Space Center.

Jills Vanegas, Jacques Tuset and I swam together and finished in just under 4 hours (I felt like 6+ hours).

There were 2 to 3 meter swells and strong wind (sort of going in our general direction). A strong current meant we sprinted for the first hour as it swept us to our right. Jills didn’t quite get the message to sprint ONLY for the first mile….so we were treated to a brisk pace setter !

Skipper: Bruce Foulquier, Crew Michael McCabe and safety crew with defib etc. THANKS all and to Jacques for setting it all up.

We understand that we are the first UNassisted to have made the swim from the Islands. Credit to Papillon who did it with a bag of coconuts, Steve McQueen who made it cool in the movie (and was the inspiration for the swim and the tattoo), 2 guys who finned and snorkeled it a few years ago in 8 hours and Jills who swam out twice. A speed record will be broken..a first can’t be.


The Start

The Swim

The Finish