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
- Support Personnel
- Swim Parameters
- Swim Data & GPS
- Observer Report
- Weather Data
- Name: Angel More
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 15
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: San Carlos, California
- 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
Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
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)
LongSwimsDB: Round-Trip Angel Island
- Start: 2 September 2018, 05:28:30 (America/Los_Angeles, UTC-7).
- Finish: 2 September 2018, 16:27:45
- Elapsed: 10 hours, 59 minutes, 15 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||61||62|
|Air Temp (F)||56||59|
Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
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.
by Angel More
Last year I put on layers and layers of thick, white, fishy-smelling Desitin on every inch of my body, only to be told that I would not able to start my swim. So you can imagine the nervousness I had putting Desitin in anticipation of the same swim a year later, hoping it would not be called off. The reason I was putting on Desitin, more commonly known as diaper rash cream, was mainly to protect my skin from the sun, but also from the polluted water of San Francisco Bay. For some reason I was not nervous for the swim itself, it was just supposed to be a 10-mile swim to Angel Island and around the island and back. I had heard about other people completing, thought to myself “How hard could it be?” I was all greased up with Destin, I had my cap and goggles on, and I was ready to swim. I stood on the shore waiting for the “OK,” to start. In times like these, waiting to get into the water, when I wonder why I attempt such extravagant, complex, and technical swims. They are long and hard, and really can be monotonous at times. Sometimes I think I am crazy for swimming miles in the ocean beginning at the earliest hours, but at this point, there really wasn’t anything I could do. Just swim.
I stepped into the water and it was warmer than I expected. Around me were other swimmers in their bathing suits cheering me on. They were going out for a swim since the flood current was going to be strong and help push them from Golden Gate to Bay Bridge. As I submerged myself in the water, I thought that this was going to be a quick, 7 hours swim, there was nothing to worry about.
Within 30 minutes I was out next to Alcatraz. I had swum in the water so many times, I knew it by heart. It was one of my talents, drop me anywhere in between the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge and I would be able to find my way home. My crew on the boat were cheering me on, yelling “You are doing so well, you are going so fast.” Lisa, the crew chief, even joked “the Coastal Guard gave you a speeding ticket.” I was gliding through the water, having an enjoyable time. I thought about what I would say when I finished and couldn’t decide between “I wish all my swims were that easy,” “Literally could do this in my sleep.” I continued to make progress and 1 hour in the sun started to rise. The best part of all my swims was when the sun rose. The orange, yellow glow of the sky reflecting on the ocean, was the most beautiful sight. The water always felt warmer in the sun, oh and I could actually see.
I split the swim into 6 parts. First would be swimming to Alcatraz. Then would be the swim from Alcatraz to Angel Island. Third, the portion around Angel Island. Next back to Alcatraz from Angel Island. Fifth a simple Alcatraz to shore swim. And finally, the last 1000 meters of the swim where I am so, so close to finishing, but still not yet there. I had easily swam to Alcatraz and was now working my way to Angel Island. It was a tad bit difficult because the wind was creating waves which we hitting me in the face, but like everything, I got through it. By the time I reached Angel Island, I had been swimming for 3 and a half hours; I was quote “ahead of schedule.” I rounded the corner of Angel Island and the wind instantly died down.
I thought for awhile about how my name is Angel and how the island name is Angel. There was not much besides our names relating, but it was a nice anecdote to think about. I watched the trees on the backside of Angel Island fly past me. I really like swimming, because I get to see how things look from a various perspective. I have seen the San Francisco cityscape from the water at 3 am, 6 am, 12 pm, 9 pm. Each time it is changes and different parts of the city are highlighted. It is really something you can only understand from the water. I thought about this as I rounded Angel Island, how everyone sees the front part of the island, but I saw how it looks from the back. It made me feel special like I was in on a secret. I also thought about the Spongebob meme and created a meme about this swim: RoUNDtRiP AngEL ISLaNd iS a HaRD SwiM. I laughed (in my head) about it for a while. That’s when I started to slow down. I had spoken too soon and the Ocean Gods need to humble me. They pushed waves at my face, gradually decreased the water temperature, made me swim on a treadmill for a little bit. But it was nothing I have not handled before, so I got through it. Lisa said, “Hey Angel, get to Alcatraz, and it is all downhill from there!” It was not all downhill from there, in fact, it was uphill, a steep, neverending, dreadful uphill.
I had reached Alcatraz and since I had swum from Alcatraz 51 times before, this was sure to be easy. But on the contrary, I was not going anywhere, anytime soon. I was 20 feet away from the island and was not moving one bit. I was kicking the hardest I had ever kicked. I was putting in so much effort and I was not moving. I swam closer to the island, 10 feet away, 5 feet away, nearly touching the island and I was not making any progress. I was getting a little-pissed off. No, actually I was legitimately pissed off. My crew was on the boat having the time of their lives while I was simply not moving. Waves were hitting me in my face, going up my nose and down my mouth. I started raging. I WAS NOT MOVING! At times, I was actually moving backward. I started to scream in the water, a bunch of swear words, to say the least. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life.
I later found out that I was in the same exact place for 2 hours. Do you know how that feels? To feel like you are working so hard to not drowning and to feel helpless, but to still have to find the inner fire to keep swimming. Then after crossing that section I swam back towards to Aquatic Park. But I was pushed towards the Bay Bridge and had to swim a few extra miles against the current before reaching the opening.
Throughout the swim I wondered if my crew was thinking of calling the swim and picking up out of the water. I knew for sure that I was not getting out since I had spent so much energy and I did not want to have to do the swim again. I was not getting out of the water until I walked out. And I did walk out the water 11 hours after I walked back in.
I want to thank my outstanding crew!!
- John Morrison was a fantastic kayaker. I was in awe that he was on the kayak for 11 hours in the super rough water!
- Lisa Amorao, as always, came through and was a great crew chief as usual.
- Evan Morrison was the observer from Marathon Swimmers Federation and ensured my swim was on track despite the winds, tides and - other challenges!
- Brent McLain was the captain of the boat.
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.
Via NOAA Station FTPC1 - Fort Point, San Francisco, CA
(gust = dotted line)