Alyssa Langlais - Boon Island to York

Boon Island to Long Sands Beach, York

12 km (7.5 miles)

5 hours, 21 minutes on 17 July 2021

Observed and documented by Amanda Smith-Dakowicz

First documented swim



  • Name: Alyssa Langlais
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 44
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: Merrimac, Massachusetts

Support Personnel

  • Peter Witham - captain
  • Bob Fernald - coach, navigation, crew
  • Andrea Hrynchuk - kayaker, crew
  • Amanda Smith-Dakowicz - observer

Observer Qualifications: Amanda has completed several marathon swims (10Ks / unobserved 10 mile), and coaches the Portsmouth HS swim team.

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
Blue Moon Downeast hard-topj Great Bay Marina, Newington, NH

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Sporti one-piece), ear plugs, Omid goggles, silicone swim cap, Sharkbanz (ankle and wrist).

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Gulf of Maine, Atlantic Ocean
  • Route Type: one-way channel crossing
  • Start Location: Boon Island (43.120764, -70.476138)
  • Finish Location: Long Sands Beach, York, Maine (43.163148, -70.616731)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles) (map)


We know of one other person, Jeff Patten a York lifeguard, who has made the swim a few times in the 1980’s and 1990’s, unobserved and in a wetsuit. He is working on the details of his swims and this information will be submitted separately.

Swim Data

  • Start: 17 July 2021, 10:21:00 (Eastern Daylight, America/New_York, UTC-4).
  • Finish: 17 July 2021, 15:41:00
  • Elapsed: 5 hours, 21 minutes, 0 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 64 66
Air Temp (F) 82 84
Wind (mph) 4.8 (NE) 10 (NE)

GPS Track

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

Click to expand map.

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Infinit electrolyte and protein mix. Occasional cookie.

Observer Log

Download PDF


by Alyssa Langlais

I planned this swim with Bob Fernald as part of a series of 3 New England Lighthouse swims. Originally born from a conversation between Bob and Elaine Howley and dubbed the “Gulf of Maine Lighthouse Hat Trick” the trio of 6.5 to 8 mile, marathon swims includes the following:

  • White Island Light, Isles of Shoals, NH to Wallis Sands, Rye, NH (6.7 miles)
  • Boon Island Light, Boon Island, ME to Long Sands, York, ME (7.55 miles)
  • The historic Boston Light Swim, Boston, MA (8 miles)

I completed the White Is. Light swim on August 22, 2020, Boon Island Light swim on July 17, 2021, and the Boston Light swim 3 weeks after Boon on August 7, 2021. Bob Fernald was my support and coach for all 3 swims and I am indebted to him for his generosity and contagious love of open water swimming. My Boon Island swim is, to our knowledge the first observed swim from Boon Island Light to Long Sands.

Planning for the swim was somewhat challenging given my competing priorities for the season. I had planned the Boon swim based on the tides and when crew could be available. This ended up being only 1 week before My 25K/15.5 mi. swim in the Northeast Kingdom, VT. Given the unseasonably cool ocean temperatures in southern NH and my need to train for distance, I spent most of the spring and early summer in lakes with only a few ocean swims. With only about 3 weeks before the Boon swim and my target long training swim of 12 miles in the lake under by belt, I switched to exclusively ocean swims and cold water for the next few weeks. We anticipated a possible low water temperature in the high 50’s, but ended up pleasantly surprised at mid 60’s temperatures for the swim.

On day before the swim, we saw reports of a “white shark” feeding on a dead whale off mother’s beach in Kennebunk, Maine, just a few miles away from Boon Island. My crew was unaware as to whether I had seen this news, so they did not mentioned it and we did not discuss it until after my successful swim. Last year, prior to my Shoals swim there had been a fatal great white attack near Casco Bay, ME. I was quite anxious last year, but somehow felt less concerned about sharks this year. I see myself as a realist when it comes to the ocean wildlife and tend to feel like they are there, regardless of whether they make the news or not.

The start was a learning experience for sure! None of the crew besides the captain had ever been to Boon Island. When we arrived just before the turn of the tide, we had to search out a spot for me to touch land at the start. The swells were bottoming out and slapping up against the ledge. The Captain reported that the ledge on other side of the Island was more treacherous and not suitable for a touch-off. We motored back and forth for a while searching out a location and discussing timing for the touch off. The seals must have heard it was going to be a beautiful day because they were out in numbers. They were lounging the island, sliding into the water and popping up next to the boat to check us out. My crew tried to turn my attention elsewhere, but their numbers were too great to ignore.

My crew finally found a location to touch off and I entered the water and headed toward the island. Unfortunately, the spot we had chosen soon was not ideal and I treaded water until my kayaker, Andrea found another location. She said go, and as I neared the ledge a swell pushed me right up onto the rocks! I looked around, a bit bewildered looking for the “ok” signal. I was aware that there were seals in the water with me as I had seen one cross under me as I was swimming toward the island, but I had no idea that they were all around me. One particular, that Andrea described as an alpha male, reared up out of the water right next to me, possibly as a challenge to my presence.

Once we were away from the island, the swim went quite well. I felt great, no seasickness like on the my shoals swim. I was very happy the entire swim and it felt very fun. Once we got closer to land, I enjoyed seeing Mt. Agamenticus and Nubble Light from the water. On Long Sands, I was met by curious onlookers and two Long Sands lifeguards, including Jeff Patten mentioned previously. He said that, to his knowledge, I was the only woman to have made the swim this far. There were several young children around (who were impressed) and it was a lovely teaching moment.


Click to enlarge.


Appendix A: NOAA Tide Prediction