Amy Appelhans Gubser - Santa Monica Bay

Point Dume (Malibu) to Rocky Point (Palos Verdes)

43.2 km (26.8 miles)

17 hours, 6 minutes on 7-8 June 2018

Observed and documented by Jax Cole and Timettra Wellington


  • Name: Amy Appelhans Gubser
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 50
  • Nationality: US
  • Resides: Pacifica, California

Support Personnel

  • Mike Chandler - pilot
  • Matt Schubert - 2nd pilot
  • Greg Gubser - crew chief
  • Melissa King - kayaker
  • Shannon Carr-Davey - kayaker

Escort Vessel: Nicole Ann (Marina del Rey)

Swim Parameters

Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.

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

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Pacific Ocean
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Pirate’s Cove (west edge of Point Dume) (34.000874, -118.807941)
  • Finish Location: Rocky Point, near SS Dominator shipwreck (north edge of Lunada Bay) (33.773923, -118.428351)

Rocky Point and SS Dominator

  • Minimum Route Distance: 43.2 km (26.8 miles)


Forrest Nelson and Jen Schumacher completed the first known solo trans-Santa Monica Bay swims on August 16, 2013. They swam from Pt. Dume to Lunada Bay.

Swim Data

  • Start: 7 June 2018, 21:07:44, Pacific Daylight Time
  • Finish: 8 June 2018, 14:14:20
  • Elapsed: 17 hours, 6 minutes, 36 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp 59F 64F
Air Temp 60F 78F
Wind calm 10-12 knots

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 30 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Observer Log

Download PDF to view all 17 pages.

Observer Notes

  • June 7, 2018, 18:30 Pacific Daylight Time. All personnel aboard the Nicole Ann vessel. Swimmer Amy Gubser in excellent spirits. Group selfie. Rules of MSF read & understood.
  • 19:00. Bumpy ride to Pirate’s Cove. All members smashed. 18mph wind, some cresting. 4-6’ swell in Bay. 1-3’ swell at Pirate’s Cove.
  • 21:00. Review rules for start with Amy & Melissa.
  • 21:03. Melissa enters kayak. Greg: “I love you.” Amy dives into water. Melissa & Amy move to beach, Pirate’s Cove.
  • 21:07. Amy enters water from beach. Start time 21:07:44. First planned feed @ 1 hr, then every 30 min.
  • 21:30. Switch sides so Amy is on starboard. Comms w kayaker via radio. Melissa reports fish jumped into kayak!
  • 21:36. Swell 1-2’. Stars and the light from Malibu homes clearly visible. Bioluminescent glow off prop & Amy’s kick.
  • 21:48. Adjusting distance btw vessel & kayak.
  • 21:55. Carbo Pro feed bag given to Melissa.
  • 22:00. “Good job Amy!! We’re figuring this out!” Amy: “I’m feeling good, seeing so much bioluminescence is fun.”
  • 22:30. Feed 8oz water, most of ??? applesauce. “Is everyone on the boat dry?” Amy asked. Feed faster than 1 min.
  • 23:00. Feed 15 oz carbopro water mix.
  • 23:20. Wind shift to SE.
  • 23:30. Feed. “I’m fine how are you guys?”
  • Midnight. Feed. Swell down. Stroke strong, unchanged since start. Breathing R side only. Slash of L arm more audible than R.
  • 00:07. “Dolphins!” says Matt. “Let’s stay close to her,” says Greg. “They went underneath the bow,” says Matt.
  • 00:10. Amy evidently hits R arm into side of kayak and immediately adjusts course. Melissa reports 00:00 feed intake 4oz diet snapple + carbopro & applesauce. Dolphin breathes audibly besides kayak.
  • 00:42. Kayaker switch & feed. Swimmer has gone off track slightly.
  • 01:28. Kayaker & swimmer too far from boat.
  • 02:50. Dolphins off left side of boat. Water is very calm, little to no swell.
  • 03:30-03:40. Kayaker switch (Shannon for Melissa). Observer switch (Timettra for Jax). Sea glassy, moon reflection off port. Boat rocking. Dolphin squeaks periodically as diff pod of 6 dolphin leap in unison 40yd off stern.
  • 04:00. Feed. “I’m good, just tired.” Voice strong.
  • 04:21. Amy pauses, treads water, fixes cap. “I feel dizzy. I think that’s why i am so tired. My eyes keep closing & I’m dreaming.” Greg says: “I think sunrise will wake you up. This happened in Monterey too.” Amy: “I know.” Greg: “1:45-2 hrs til dawn.” Amy: “OK.”
  • 04:28. Greg says it’s unusual for Amy to be less than exuberant. Melissa agrees to pay special attention to Amy’s breathing. Stroke looks sloppy, more splash.
  • 04:36. Feed. Drinks water. Reports peeing well, still dizzy. Ate peanut butter “bonk bar.” Parallel to Marina del Rey. 11.7 nm to Lunada Bay. More than halfway. Pink light on urban horizon.
  • 05:00. Feed 6oz water. Dolphins! Amy: “I can totally hear the dolphins, my body feels good.” …. “So it’s your head, not your body?” …. Jax: “Your head is high when you breathe. Is that deliberate?” Amy: “OK, I do that sometimes. I’ll work on it.”
  • 05:10. Sky light enough to pack up headlamps. Pauses 4 times in 1 min. Tells Melissa “Not feeling great, still dizzy. Want to keep going.” Stroke is short. Kick steady.
  • 05:25. Swell height 1-3’, far apart. Amy cracks joke that makes Melissa laugh.
  • 05:30. Feed diet snapple. “It’s hard to swim when i can’t see where i’m going because i’m dizzy.I feel warm. Ears ok, earplugs still in. Just keeping up with Melissa.” … Greg: “You’re accomplishing what we’re here to do.”
  • 06:00. Feed water as planned. Requested coke. Was about to open sealed coke bottle. Drink 8oz. “I’m trying to focus on these weird blue animals but my vision is so ???? Stroke looks stronger, longer, grabbing more water.
  • 06:05. Spoke mid-stroke. “Bottom of ocean is clean.” Amy seems fresher, more energized.
  • 06:30. Diet snapple/carbo pro. Blows nose. Tempo & kick up. Greg contacts Vessel Traffic w update.
  • 06:33. Sea lion - curious pup.
  • 07:55. Swimmer is rest floating before (?).
  • 08:00. Resuming pace.
  • 08:50. Pod of white side dolphins swims right around us & Amy. At least 40-50 individuals.
  • 09:00. Dolphins are back and just hanging out with Amy.
  • 09:50. Amy drank some carbo pro.
  • 10:15. Feed & kayak switch.
  • 10:30. Matt enters for buddy swim.
  • 10:42. Blue shark juvenile spotted off port stern.
  • 10:45. Amy feeds. 4.92 miles to finish.
  • 10:50. Captain adjusts headings to outside kelp bed of Lunada Bay. Observer switch - Jax for Timettra.
  • 10:53. Matt cold, coming out. Reports her stroke looks good underwater, she just isn’t pulling much water.
  • 11:05. Coke given to Melissa.
  • 11:23. Amy drinks coke 6oz.
  • 11:48. Diet snapple/carbo pro feed 4oz. Blows nose. Lifts goggles, adjusts cap, stuffing hair back in. Greg predicts wind increase & whitecaps by 2:30pm. No appreciable current. Hard to read eddies.
  • 12:19. Amy’s pull ends @ swimsuit/hip. Feed carbo pro/snapple. Peeing frequently. Indicates good dexterity. Face swollen (salt). 2 ft west swell, short period windswell.
  • 12:34. Amy’s stroke short again. Matt: “This is ideal conditions for 12:30pm. Small craft advisory @ channel islands.
  • 13:00. “I’m not getting there. My hips hurt.” Ibuprofen taken & snapple/carbo pro. Recreational sailboats & powerboats out.
  • 13:08. Greg & Matt agree, “Amy never talks like that. Ever.” Matt preps to buddy swim to cheer her up.
  • 13:28. Discuss exact landing point. North current is pushing us away from Lunada Bay toward Dominator Beach. Agreement to go to Lunada Bay as previously established. Conditions good.
  • 13:30. Feed snapple/carbo pro. Approaching parallel to R10 buoy. Spirits better.
  • 13:38. Sailboat under power crosses our path. “Yahoos”—Greg.
  • 13:40. 600 yds from shore. Matt climbs to high point on boat to view landing. Crew is thinking, thinking, thinking… about best angle, kelp avoidance, rocks. “She hates swimming through help”—Greg.
  • 13:43. Nicole Ann pulls ahead to scout. “We’ll be back before the next feed.”
  • 13:46. Direct landing N of Lunada possible.
  • 13:50. Nicole Ann speeds back to Amy’s side. Called to confirm Evan Morrison says OK. Shannon called Baywatch to inform of our intention.
  • 13:54. Matt jumps in joining Amy. Kelp thick, boat props chew it.
  • 13:57. Shannon in full wetsuit jumps in. “I hear croaking! White seabags”—Matt. SUP civilian (friend of Amy) approaches, curious. Goodyear blimp approaches. Shannon coaches Amy, directing her around kelp.
  • 13:59. Baywatch approaches from Redondo @ full throttle.
  • 14:02. Friend Kevin on SUP is editor of Easy Rider magazine. Baywatch Redondo makes radio contact with Nicole Ann and says hi to Greg.
  • 14:14. Amy climbs rocks w hands & feet. Clears water on dry rocks. 14:14:20.
  • 14:32. Swimmer approaching boat.
  • 14:35. Amy says mantra of finish was “Fucking Forrest!”
  • 14:45. Swimmer is back on board and in good spirits. All crew aboard. One scratch on Amy’s left leg.


Click to enlarge.


Marine Weather Data

From NOAA station 46025 - Santa Monica Bay

Water Temperature

Air Temperature

Wind Speed


Download (PDF)