Three open water swimmers rounded Cape St Francis Point and Shark Point on Saturday 26 April in an unprecedented swim in Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
Brenton Williams, who swam butterfly the whole swim, Kendal Wright and Kyle Harris entered the ocean on the wild side of the Cape St Francis Lighhouse and proceeded to swim around the Cape St Francis point, known for the number of ships that have been wrecked on the unforgiving reefs that lay just offshore.
In 17 C water the three modern day adventurers took on the swell and surface chop where nobody has ever swam before. With the wind behind them, the swimmers took 1 hour 45 minutes to reach Shark Point and at that stage, the elements started to turn against them.
“We had a nice swim across the bay between Cape St Francis and Shark Point and made good time with the wind assisting us,” said Brenton Williams, who was doing the swim to raise funds and awareness for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust. “Once we rounded Shark Point, we swam right into a strong current and the wind picked up and was cross shore instead of behind us,” added Williams.
Under the expert guidance of boatman John Hendrick, the swimmers battled through the current and the big swells breaking on the headland to eventually make it into the safety of the port in a time of 3 hours 38 minutes.
“Once the swimmers reached Shark Point, the whole ambience of the swim changed,” said Cheryl Gibson-Dicks, who was the observer for the swim. “One could see how all the support crew became more alert and the swimmers started to dig deeper to take on the current and the wind that had turned against them. It was a phenomenal effort from the brave swimmers who never knew quite what to expect as the swim has never been attempted before.”
The distance of the unprecedented swim was 8 km and all three swimmers complied with Channel rules, which meant they could only swim in a speedo type costume, goggles and a swim cap. “An unchartered swim like Cape St Francis is definitely a team effort and the knowledge of local conditions that our boatman John Hendrick had, and support of our paddlers Mark Paarman, Daryl Staples and Terry Olivier, the swim would never have been a success,” added Williams.
St Francis Safari’s also put a boat in the water, while the paddlers were assisted by the St Francis Bay NSRI.
The swim formed part of the St Francis Bay Nautical Capital Festival and was in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, an organisation supporting children with cancer and their families across South Africa. More information about Little Fighters can be found on their website www.littlefighters.org.za.
Brenton has dedicated all his butterfly swims in support of Little Fighters and will also be attempting an unprecedented butterfly rounding of Cape Point during May.
Donations can be made to Little Fighters via http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/flying-for-little-fighters