Ned Denison is surely one of Cork’s, and indeed Ireland’s, most prolific open water and marathon swimmers, despite being a “blow-in” from Vermont! It is no surprise then that, having already completed the HBF Rottnest Channel Swim and the Catalina Channel, he is trying to squeeze one more iconic marathon swim into 2012. It is rare that any swimmer can take on a swim that the King of the English Channel, Kevin Murphy, was unable to complete. Kevin issued this daring challenge a few years back (along with a few others still on Ned’s list): the 35 km across False Bay, South Africa.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the ocean currents on South Africa’s coasts, Ned will have to be prepared for temperatures of anywhere between 12ºC and 20ºC, and possibly big temperature variations during the swim! False Bay is rich in marine life due to a ban on netting, and feeding on the rich fish stocks are large numbers of Cape fur seals, including a breeding colony of 75,000 seals on Seal Rock. However, the Bay is more widely known for what feeds on the seals: a resident population of 200 great white sharks, surely the most beautiful and awe-inspiring marine predator…
Ned leaves for Cape Town on Christmas Day, on what he claims is the only reasonably priced flight of the year. Once the weather comes right for the swim, he will meet local English Channel swimmer, Hugh Tucker of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, and his wife, who will both crew for him. They also crewed on Ned’s three South African swims last year, which included a 6 km swim around Cape Point and into False Bay. See the video here:
The video starts showing Hugh’s shark cage, built a few years back for this very swim. Ned will not be using the cage, instead opting for a Shark Shield. This is a simple electronic device that creates a strong electric field in the water, the shark senses this through its highly developed ampullae of Lorenzini and is hopefully deterred by the unpleasant sensation.
Ned will also be using the Sandycove Island SC tracker, so we can all keep track of his progress during the swim. I will update with details of how to follow him once he gets confirmation of the swim date. It’s worth remembering that only four swimmers have ever completed this swim, we all wish him the best to become the fifth. In a calm, warm Catalina Channel this September, Ned covered the same distance in 8 hours and 50 minutes – it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll complete False Bay as fast…
Keep an eye on the blog for an announcement of the swim start and instructions on how to follow Ned’s progress online. In the mean-time, a very Happy Christmas!
- Update: Ned hopeful of False Bay attempt tomorrow morning… (FermoyFish.com)
- Ned Denison’s False Bay Swim LIVE (FermoyFish.com)