Joe and John Zemaitis - 6 Continents Tour
All swims observed by Evan Morrison.
Body of Water: Cartagena Bay, Caribbean Sea
Route: Castillogrande to Blue Apple Beach
- Beach at Calle 5 / Carrera 13, east end of Castillogrande (10.391286, -75.548857)
- Blue Apple Beach, Isla de Tierra Bomba (10.325897, -75.590917)
Distance: 10.02 km
Start: 2023-06-06 07:35:30
Elapsed: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 20 seconds
The Six Continent adventure–the Swim Brothers World Tour– kicked off in Cartagena, Colombia on June 6, 2023. Cartagena is not a hot spot for swimming so it didn’t have a developed infrastructure with pilots and swim routes. We found a pilot online and went back and forth for a couple weeks before we settled on a route that the pilot approved. While we initially hoped for a night swim, we agreed on a morning start and the adventure began. We stepped into the warm Caribbean sea and started the swim. We started off the Bocagrande and the first two miles swam across the Bay to the Isla de Tierra Bomba. The final stretch of the swim took us part way around the island counter clockwise until we arrived at Blue Apple Beach, our designated finish point. The beach made for an easy finish, a sandy beachfront with few waves. The swim was in warm, shallow water with the seafloor in view the whole way. Early in the swim we swam over a 17th century seawall. We only did two feeds, deciding to just feed on the hour since it was a short swim. We went early in the morning to stay out of the Caribbean sun as much as possible. The 87 degree water didn’t provide much relief. We had a fast swim, finishing well under three hours for the 10.2K course, checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport for our second leg.
Body of Water: Biscayne Bay, Atlantic Ocean
Route: Virginia Key circumnavigation (CW)
- Permanent navigation pole / channel marker, west of Fisher Island (25.764431, -80.150863)
Distance: 11.05 km
Start: 2023-06-07 06:45:10
Elapsed: 3 hours, 21 minutes, 5 seconds
We had another early morning swim in Florida, the North American swim for our World Tour. The course we designed was a clockwise circumnavigation of Virginia Key. We had some challenges with the route in trying to predict the tides and currents in the area. There were also some restrictions regarding where our support boat could go because of some marine sanctuaries nearby. We used a fixed marine marker as our start and finish location. We set off on a clockwise route around Virginia Key. Since we were close to shore the entire swim, it was mostly in water under 20 feet deep, and much like the South America swim we could see the bottom most of the way. Some of the marine life we saw were a couple rays, lots of smaller fish, and a few larger ones! Due to the shallow water near the shore this swim might be more easily done in the future with kayak support rather than a larger boat. We still only did two feeds, at the one hour and two hour marks. The finish of the swim had us swimming toward anchored containers ships in the harbor. We made it back to our starting point and boarded the boat to go back to the marina. We spent the rest of the day resting in the hotel before going to the airport for an evening flight to Morocco. Next stop: Casablanca!
Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean
Route: Plage David to Eden Island Beach
- Plage David (33.797535, -7.228891)
- Eden Island Beach (33.827218, -7.134600)
Distance: 10.2 km
Start: 2023-06-08 14:41:00
Elapsed: 2 hours, 41 minutes, 47 seconds
Our Africa swim was a quick in and out. We arrived in Casablanca late morning on an overnight flight from Miami. We rented a car and drove about an hour to Plage David, in Bouznika, the starting point for our Africa swim. We met our boat captain, Amine, and walked to the starting point for the swim. We walked from the town to the beach front. Even before the swim started we could see that we had a strong wind at our backs. The start of the swim was challenging as we hit some choppy water winding our way between other anchored boats and out into the open sea. As was the case with our other swims, the coastal route kept us in shallow waters, with the Moroccan coast easily visible on our right at all times. We could feel a bit of a push from the stiff breeze at our back, again taking just two feeds. Soon enough we could see the beach in front of the Eden Island Beach Club, our finish point. It was another sandy beach finish and an easy exit. We had great support from our local captain, who was piloting his first swim. He was a pro! Once we finished the swim, we were straight back to the airport in plenty of time for our midnight flight to Istanbul.
Body of Water: Sea of Marmara
Route: Maltepe to Moda
- Rock wall in front of Maltepe Beach Park, SE of marina (40.929179,, 29.113367,)
- Rock wall beyond (NW of) Moda Point (40.982182,, 29.020132)
Distance: 10.03 km
Start: 2023-06-09 09:50:34
Elapsed: 3 hours, 19 minutes, 39 seconds
We arrived in Istanbul, having coordinated our swim with Kamil Resa Alsaran, who provided terrific support for our swim. I had designed two routes in Istanbul, the first starting and finishing on the Asia side of the Bosphorus and the second starting and finishing on the Europe side. The unique location allowed us to get two continents done in the same day! We had a bit of a false start as we were just about to jump when we could see the boat was leaking oil and we had to find a different boat! With a second boat secured, we were back to our starting point and on the way. The water temperature was in the low 70s, a very comfortable temperature for the swim. The route took us east along the shore, with the right side breathing giving us a good view of the city going by. Our swim finish was a challenge. As we passed the Fenerbance, we could start to feel a current from the Bosphorus which slowed our pace considerably. The last few hundred meters were a grind, but we prevailed. We made a quick pit stop to refuel the boat, then made the quick transcontinental boat ride to the European side and prepared to start the second swim.
Body of Water: Bosporus, Sea of Marmara
Route: Atatürk Monument to Bakırköy
- Atatürk Monument (41.016122, 28.987131)
- Bakırköy ferry terminal (40.974162, 28.878527)
Distance: 11.02 km
Start: 2023-06-09 14:16:03
Elapsed: 2 hours, 59 minutes, 24 seconds
The first kilometer of the Europe swim was probably the most fun swim of the whole trip. The Blue Mosque and the Hagi Sofia were visible from the start as we started right in the old city of Istanbul. The sun was out on a beautiful summer day. There was a bit of a current push coming out of the tail end of the Bosphorus Strait and there were even a few other swimmers in the water. We shared the water with some type of “friendly” jellyfish, gelatinous blobs that were so thick at times that it felt like swimming through a ball pit. The incredible sites and sounds of the first few kilometers gave way to a more standard swim and we continued south along the coast. It felt like we were swimming through history as some of the centuries old buildings gave way to more modern architecture and beautiful waterfront parks. In the water we passed by other barges and boats that were anchored along the way. This was our longest route at just over 11K, as we neared a natural finish point at a jetty near Bakirkoy Marina. We were still in the middle of the city and there were a number of bemused locals as we came ashore, covered in Desitin. With a few hours to spare before our flight to Australia, we went to the Hagia Sofia, and the Blue Mosque, both buildings much more impressive up close then they were from the water. Next stop was the airport and a flight to Sydney, Australia.
Body of Water: Pacific Ocean
Route: Cronulla Beach to Capt. Cook Monument
- Cronulla Beach between Cronulla State Park and Greenhills Beach (-34.037181, 151.174201)
- Captain Cook monument, Kurnell (-34.004431, 151.217371)
Distance: 10.31 km
Start: 2023-06-11 19:02:50
Elapsed: 3 hours, 15 minutes, 38 seconds
A setback with our connecting flight put us behind schedule and we arrived in Sydney around sunset. At that point we weren’t really sure what day or time it was since our internal clocks were completely askew with four consecutive days of swimming and flying. Our Sydney route ended up being a night swim and started at Greenhills Beach. This route would take us north along the coast, with a fitting finish in front of the Captain Cook’s Landing Place in Botany Bay. We were rudely welcomed to Australia by a swam of Jellyfish/ManOWar that were not the friendly kind that we met in Istanbul but the “stingy kind” that left us with marks lasting for weeks. Within 15 minutes we had both been lit up pretty badly by the stings, fearing for how miserable the next few hours would be if this were a sign of things to come. Fortunately, it was our only encounter and we pushed northward toward Botany Bay. There was a lighthouse that marked the approximate halfway point. It seemed to take forever to pass the lighthouse. The energy and excitement of Istanbul seemed a world away as we were in the silent, dark night following the boat to our final stop on the Swim Brothers World Tour. We rounded the entrance into Botany Bay and came up on the finish point. We could see the Cook Landing Place monument lit up against the night sky. Unfortunately we finished at low tide and had to climb over a reef to get to the finish. Both of us cut our feet badly on the way to the finish.