Article printed with permission from the Sitka Sentinel
Hope printing it out works better than reading it online. The swimmer who covered the distance from Kruzof Island (Inner Point) to Baranof Island (Halibut Point Rec. Area) is Claudia Rose. Claudia is an accomplished distance swimmer who has completed the 21-mile English Channel, the 21-mile Catalina Crossing (Catalina Island to Los Angeles) and a race around Manhattan Island. She was interested in another Alaskan swim and was recommended Sitka Sound by the race director of the Pennock Island Challenge, Willie Schulz.
Another story is beginning to weave together...
Swimming naked (without a wetsuit) Claudia completed the first-ever recorded swim of Sitka Sound. This was on Saturday August 22, 2009. One week before, she had swam in the Pennock Island Challenge (Ketchikan, AK) which is 8.2 miles. Pennock is a fund raiser for the American Diabetes Association.
Weaving more connections...
Claudia was supported by John Dunlap with Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures. I was also on that boat and that is creating its on story. That is why it has made it on the No Limits page being typed by the ultimate non-swimmer on the planet!
The swim would take her south of Bieli rocks and Middle Island and through a jellyfish armada. At times she felt like she was "swimming in a jellyfish tank." She endured several painful stings along the way, but arrived safely at Halibut Point Rec. Area. In the 54-degree water she had kayak support from Ralph Lufkin. After 4 hours and 36 minutes and 8 miles, she triumphantly stepped onto the rocky shore of Baranof Island. Rose hopes news of the swim will inspire others to swim in Alaska.
I love the endurance angle and being a part of those achieving great things. "It's an amazing thing to hear or read about," Dunlap said. "Having actually seen it, I marvel at what a test of endurance it was." Well said. I was impressed at the achievement and of the stories that would
follow as I spent a lot of time with Claudia, Ralph and Al (her mate). Through the discussion would take a side-stroke toward a possible Sitka open water swim next summer. That is where we are at right now. I am in discussion with many in the swimming community about having an open water swim in Sitka to benefit diabetes. I will keep posting as this unusual but exciting story continues to come together. A little thinking outside the box helps the non-swimmer see a wave of possiblities.
I am still behind on adventure updates. Will try and share some more tales soon.
Please let me know if you have any interest in participating as a swimmer, volunteer or donor for the coming(?) Sitka open water swim.