Edie Markovich - Around Šolta
Counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Šolta Island from Uvala Livke
40.7 km (25.3 miles)
19 hours, 27 minutes on 10-11 August 2023
Observed and documented by Andrija Pavišić
- Name: Edie Markovich
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 17
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: North Hollywood, California
- Mate Gospodnetic - boat pilot
- Darko Radovic - kayaker
- Deni Blaise - feeder
- Maki Markovich - crew
Friend of swimmer.
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Jolyn bikini - vent top, Oreya bottom), cap, goggles (Speedo Vanquisher 2.0).
- Body of Water: Adriatic Sea
- Route Type: circumnavigation
- Start & Finish Location: Southeast edge of Uvala Livke anchorage (43.327867, 16.394065)
- Minimum Route Distance: 40.7 km (25.3 miles) (map)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 10 August 2023, 21:02 (Central European, Europe/Zagreb, UTC2).
- Finish: 11 August 2023, 16:27
- Elapsed: 19 hours, 27 minutes, 47 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||72||76.4|
|Air Temp (F)||69||79|
Trackpoint frequency: 10 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
Interview with Kayaker
by Edie Markovich
It all started two years ago when I swam from the Croatian mainland to Vis, the furthest island in the Dalmatian archipelago. Starting in the early evening, I swam southwest toward the islands of Brac and Solta, both of which are separated by the Gates of Split. By the time I reached the Gates, the sun had already fallen, and the moon illuminated the night. And, to my surprise, as I passed Solta, I was able to see the sea floor. It was then that I first had the idea to swim around Solta. I wanted to experience more of the island and the beauty it had to offer. So fast forward two years, I’m 17 years old and just about to begin my circumnavigation of Solta.
A quick distance measure on Google Earth will tell you that the swim is a bit under 26 miles long, but since no one has attempted this circumnavigation before, I couldn’t be entirely sure. Even a boat pilot that I know measured the distance and reached the same conclusion.
Regardless, I mentally (and physically) prepared myself for a 14-hour swim. Because the Adriatic is notoriously windy, my crew and I, which included my feeder, kayaker, pilot, observer, and father were constantly checking the wind forecast in the weeks prior to the swim so that we would pick the best date. Eventually, we settled on a three-day window in the middle of August. A couple weeks prior to the swim I swam a 7-hour training swim, which went really well.
On the day of the swim my crew and I met in Bobovisca (Island Brac), which is where my pilot’s boat is moored for most of the year. We would then cross the before-mentioned Gates of Split and arrive at a point on Solta, closest to Brac (the neighboring island) at around 8 o’clock pm to begin the swim at 9. Everything was going according to plan. We were able to get the kayak safely into the water and at 21:02 I began to swim counterclockwise. Lucky me, since I breathe to my left!
As soon as I left the cove at the onset of the swim, the wind picked up, but was not bothersome…yet. I stopped every half hour and tried to keep my feeds short. On the half hour, I would get something to drink, whether that be water or electrolyte and, on the hour, I would get something to eat. Prior to the swim, I decided it would be best to feed from the boat as opposed to my kayak, so all my feeds were attached to a rope and thrown to me. The system worked well.
A couple hours into the swim, the conditions started to pick up. The swell increased and the surface of the water got choppy. It would continue to be like this throughout the rest of the night, for about 7 hours or so. A current was pulling us toward the shore, but my kayaker and escort boat were both able to angle themselves diagonally to help me maintain a straight course.
At around 4:30 am, when we started to round the first bend is when the conditions really got bad. The sun was just coming up and, if you look at the map, we had to navigate between the small islands at the western tip of Solta (see the image below). It took us over an hour to navigate the very strong surface winds that made it nearly impossible for my kayaker to stay by my side. He was constantly being pulled toward the bigger of the two small islands due to whirlpool-like currents. And the extremely strong winds forced him to move to my other side, the side that I don’t breathe toward, which made it very difficult for me to keep on course.
We managed to successfully traverse this section of the swim, but the fun had just begun. When we rounded the second bend, and began to swim “down” the other side of the island, the weather abruptly subsided, only for the current to kick in. The next 4.5 hours, in which I covered only 4.2 miles, were truly difficult. With a clear view of the island, I was constantly aware of the fact that I was barely moving. My pilot had taken us too far away from the island when we rounded the second bend, to where I was at the mercy of the current that was flowing in the opposite direction and hindering my progress. After becoming aware of this, we had to make our way closer to the island to avoid the current, and then I started to make progress again.
At this point the swim was already as long as I had anticipated, but it was nowhere near complete. After overcoming the current, the Adriatic’s notorious and unique winds began to pick up and would not subside until I finished the swim over 6 hours later. Progress was slow, but mentally I was in a good place. My shoulders were throbbing, but I was able to maintain a relatively consistent pace. Oddly enough, I resorted to using my kick to help relieve pressure from my shoulders, something I rarely do. My feeds slightly deviated from my schedule as I felt the need for some sort of a pick me up, which came in the form of Coke and chocolate.
Now this is where things get interesting. It’s about 3 o’clock and around a mile away from the finish. Hours have passed since I overcame the current and since the intense winds had begun. The waves seemed to be coming from every direction which made feeds more difficult. I knew my kayaker was exhausted, well, we both were, but we had it in ourselves to keep going. And then my pilot announced that he did not want to continue. The wind was getting worse, and he was concerned for the safety of his boat. But I didn’t want to give up, which led to a bought of shouting over the wind between my mother (my feeder) and I and eventually, on my insistence and with the kayaker’s agreement, the decision was made for the boat to leave me and my kayaker and head toward the finish (the cove at the start) where the wind wasn’t as strong. Due to my kayaker’s confidence in himself in case I needed to be saved and my confidence in my ability to keep going, the boat departed, leaving us two in the middle of the wild sea.
The next hour was perhaps one of the most difficult hours of my life. My kayaker kept a close eye on me, watching for any boats, and trying his best to keep a straight course. We hugged the coast and kept going forward, that was our only mission…keep swimming. Eventually, after what seemed like a lifetime, we rounded a bend and saw our boat which was waiting for us. I swam toward the shore, the shore I departed nearly 20 hours prior, and clawed my way up the sharp, albeit moss-covered rocks that inspired this whole journey in the first place.