Angel More - Round-Trip Angel Island

Counter-clockwise loop around Angel Island from Aquatic Park

16.1 km (10.0 miles)

10 hours, 59 minutes on 2 September 2018

Observed and documented by Evan Morrison

Youngest to complete Round-Trip Angel Island swim

Contents

Swimmer

  • Name: Angel More
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 15
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: San Carlos, California

Support Personnel

  • Capt. Brent McLain - pilot
  • Lisa Amorao - crew chief
  • John Morrison - kayaker
  • Evan Morrison - observer

Escort Vessel: Tango (San Francisco, CA) - 27’ Fletcher Rigid-Hull Inflatable


Swim Parameters

Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.

Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.

Route Definition

Start @ SERC/Dolphin beach in Aquatic Park, exit through Aquatic Park opening, counter-clockwise around Angel Island, return to SERC/Dolphin beach via Aquatic Park opening.

  • Body of Water: San Francisco Bay
  • Route Type: island loop
  • Start & Finish Location: Beach between SERC & Dolphin Club docks, Aquatic Park, San Francisco (37.808145, -122.421402)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 16.1 km (10.0 miles)

History

LongSwimsDB: Round-Trip Angel Island


Swim Data

  • Start: 2 September 2018, 05:28:30 (America/Los_Angeles).
  • Finish: 2 September 2018, 16:27:45
  • Elapsed: 10 hours, 59 minutes, 15 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 61 62
Air Temp (F) 56 59
Wind (Beaufort) F1 F5

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot


Observer Report

by Evan Morrison

  • 052830 start, SERC/DC beach. Just a breath of air.
  • 05:35 opening. Heading 20 degrees, east of Alcatraz

  • 06:00. 61W, 56A, light W wind, F2. First feed. 52 SPM
  • 0610 passing Alcatraz ferry terminal. Some twilight. Seabirds yapping on Alcatraz. Shore lights of East Bay visible, but land fogged in. Great visibility on the bay itself.
  • 0630 feed 2 - chocolate juice & GU. 51 SPM. 1.2mi S of Pt Blunt.

  • 0645 Pegasus Voyager passing between us and Angel Island. We are 0.95 mi SE of Pt Blunt.
  • 0700 feed 3 - Choc juice. 61W, 56A, F2 west wind. 0.67 mi SE of Pt Blunt. Sun glowing through fog in East Bay.
  • 0730 feed 4 - GU & choc juice. 7-9 knots W wind. 2/3 mile SE of Quarry Pt, Aiming on Simpton. No pee yet - suggest Angel needs to hydrate more.
  • 0735 “I peed.”
  • 0800 61.5W, 57A, F2.5W. 1/3 mile E of Quarry. Ebb picking up, hitting us head on. We are trying to move in closer to island. Feed 5, juice. 50 SPM

  • 0830 feed 6. 0.3 miles SE of Pt Simpton. Island blocking wind, F1. Sylvia goes by on the inside, piloting a swimmer in the opposite direction.
  • 0845 China Cove. Getting a little push now.
  • 0900 Pt Campbell. Entering Raccoon Strait. 7-8 knot headwind. 62W, 58A, 50 SPM.
  • 0910 Pt Lone. Riding the slingshot ebb, but we are well past max (i.e., running behind schedule).
  • 0930 feed 8. Just past Pt Stuart, we can see Alcatraz and SF city front. Aiming a bit west of Alcatraz to compensate for upcoming flood. Wind F2-2.5. Angel looking happy to be heading home. 4 hours elapsed.
  • 1000 feed 9. Just past Pt Knox, 2 miles N of Alcatraz W. 58A, 61W, F3 wind out of west, scattered whitecaps in distance. 51 SPM - so steady!

  • 1030 feed 10, choc juice & GU. 1.7 mi NW of Alcatraz. 11-13 knots W wind, against ebb. More whitecaps. Angel says leg is bothering her a bit.

Video by Lisa Amorao

  • 1100 feed 11, choc juice. 1.45 mi NW of Alcatraz. Windy, gusting to 15 knots. Lots of whitecaps. 62W, 58A, F4W.
  • 1130 feed 12. 1.15 mi NW of west end Alcatraz. Wind chop from W, pushing us E. Warm soup feed from boat. Aiming on Crissy Field to counteract wind push.
  • 1200 - NW of Alcatraz. F5 wind. Juice and GU. 58A, 62W, 49 SPM.
  • 1230 - Just NW of west end Alcatraz. Flood plus wind pushing us relentlessly east. Worried we will miss the west corner of Alcatraz. Angel pees.
  • 1245-1340. Dramatic struggle trying to pass the west end of Alcatraz. We are reluctant to go around to the east end and give up 500m lateral distance – it will be that much harder to make the Aquatic Park Opening. We try to move Angel close into the island where the current should be weaker - but the water is very churned up and waves are crashing against the rocks. Angel can’t stop or she’ll immediately get pushed behind the island. Conditions too rough for John to hang near Angel, so he falls back. We can only watch as she battles alone against this relentless water.

Video by Lisa Amorao

  • 1340 - Just when the cause seemed finally lost, Angel slips around the corner and into the lee. We take a few minutes to let her rest and feed while we discuss strategy. It’s still flooding hard, so it’s not a matter of whether we’ll get pushed down toward the Bay Bridge – but how much. 8h15m elapsed.
  • 1345-1445. As expected we quickly lose ground in the channel. Discussion with Capt. Brent of how much to fight and crab against it, or just head straight into shore and let the chips fall where they may. At some point we know the flood will taper off.
  • 1445 - Angel reaches the SF city front near Pier 27, about a mile and a half below Aquatic Park. She’s been swimming over 9 hours. At this point it’s not just a question of cold and physical exhaustion, but whether she has the will (after that epic battle with Alcatraz) to claw her way “upriver” along the piers to finish the true “round trip.” Without even a hint of hesitation, Angel turns and starts swimming into the wind and flood.
  • 1520 - A crowd gathered along Pier 39 is astonished to see Angel in the water and cheers her along. A Blue & Gold ferry pauses to let us cross the opening to the marina. F4 west wind, 61 water, 59 air, 49 SPM.

  • 1540 - We’re crossing the cove between Pier 39 and the Jeremiah O’Brien, and Angel is swimming in familiar waters from her early morning training swims. She’s going to make it.
  • 1605 - Angel swims past the Creakers and along the seawall protecting Hyde Street marina. Flood finally abating somewhat, but still windy.
  • 1618 - In the Opening and out of the wind. A short victory lap to the beach remains.
  • 162745 - Angel clears the water on the beach between the SERC/Dolphin piers, returning to her starting location just under 11 hours later. Her parents and sister greet her with flowers. Her crew are some combination of stunned, elated, and relieved. Angel is the 14th and youngest member of Club RTAI.

Additional Commentary by Support Crew

by Lisa Amorao, crew chief

Force 5 Angel.

I’ve watched each one of Angel’s marathon swims from her first 20K in Monterey Bay (RT Capitola- Santa Cruz), her Anacapa swim across the Santa Barbara Channel, across the Catalina Channel, and across the length of Lake Tahoe. I’ve seen her persist on many occasions, but her Roundtrip Angel Island swim was grit on a whole different level.

Angel made it to and around Angel Island no problem but on the way back to Aquatic Park, the forces of San Francisco Bay were against her. The wind and flood held her in place on the west side of Alcatraz and threatened to sweep her on the wrong side of the island. She fought with everything she had until she escaped the grip of Alcatraz. When she finally got away, the flood swept her towards the Bay Bridge and she had to swim against the tide until she reached Aquatic Park. The wind never let up. There were many times the pilot looked to the adults on the boat, “someone’s gotta make the call for her.” But as difficult as it was to watch, neither Evan nor I dared to tell Angel to stop swimming. We saw no reason to even bring it up. Her stroke count and her form were strong. She was not cold. There were zero complaints from Angel – none about the wind or the current or being tired or how many hours she’s been swimming already. Actually, she said very little during the swim. She just swam. And she swam. And she swam.

When Angel reached the Jeremiah O’Brien, she asked Evan, observer and enforcer of the route, if she could swim on the inside of the Aquatic Park seawall; to that, he firmly replied, “no.” I told Evan how mean that was, and he replied, “after having gone through all of that, why would you have her take a short cut now? Not necessary.”

Evan was right. Angel earned every meter of this epic, grown-up swim.

Well done, Angel!


by John Morrison, kayaker

The time doesn’t come close to describing this swim, which I think was expected to be in the 7-8 hour range and turned out to be the grittiest extended swim I have witnessed. I believe she was ahead of expectations on the outbound leg, but a heavy inbound tide and high winds hit her hard on the way back. At Alcatraz (already many hours into this), the tide and heavy seas continued to push her back, such that she was losing ground (er, water) as she tried to get around the windward side of the island. Her crew consulted with her on the situation, and her response was to continue to swim hard and eventually get around the point of the island, at which point the tide and wind were then strongly pushing her perpendicular to her desired course back to Aquatic Park. She got to San Francisco well inland from her destination and swam along the shore and breakwaters, directly into the tide and wind (and seas pushing her against these features) to finally reach her destination. It was humbling to see a 15-year-old persevere to her goal in these strongly adverse conditions. I was privileged to be there to see it.


Weather Data

Via NOAA Station FTPC1 - Fort Point, San Francisco, CA

Water Temperature

wtmp

Air Temperature

atmp

Wind Speed

(gust = dotted line)

wspd


Video

Angel More - Round-Trip Angel Island from MSF on Vimeo.