Long distance swimming is catching on in the Cayman Islands so it comes as no surprise that a year on a larger group is going again to brave the 5.4 mile distance between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
It is this Sunday with three or four boats supporting, involving 11 people. The intrepid swimmers are Kate Alexander, Alex Harling, Andrea Roach, Kerry Kanuga, Lizzie Berns, Felix Ebanks, Barbara Hampson (who has mentioned wanting to only swim part), Anne Jackson from the Brac, Christina Horocheck, Lexie Kelly from the USA and possibly Mr Swimming himself, Frankie Flowers. Last year it took between around two and a half to three hours.
Harling is the chief organiser. He said: “Others have asked and we have had to turn them down, for safety reasons. We did it last year because we were inspired by love of swimming and we also had such an amazingly good swim. Also, I don’t want to stop challenging myself and get old.
“We could have trained more for this. I trained just at the pool until about six weeks out, then started doing a two mile and a longer, two and a half to four mile swim a week – so two a week. Some have been more consistent, but some have done less, like Christina I think.
“It’s not a race and is definitely just a collective swim, partly for the safety of all, partly because no-one likes to be left behind and partly because if that pod of killer whales that was spotted off Brac a month after we did the swim last year comes to have a look at us, I want to increase the odds of someone else being eaten and not me!
“We had just intended to have four of five people swim, but the numbers swelled at around ten, with four or five more asking if they could do it.
“It therefore looks like it could become an annual swim, as long as there is someone around who kick starts it each year. Frankie Flowers is hoping to swim with us this year, so he might want to make it a bigger, properly recognised event in future.”
Harling raise about $3,000 for Cancer Research UK last year when he did the North Sound swim. He hopes to get donations again for this one.
Harling added that they are reliant on the goodwill of Brac boat owners and operators, the Department of Environment boat and marine police, all of whom are supporting them and so far have not asked for any compensation.
“Many people kindly sponsored me last year, for which I am thankful. If you feel your good deeds aura needs a quick top-up, please feel free to log on to http://www.justgiving.com/interislandswim to make a donation.
“For those of you unlucky enough to live in tax-paying austerity Britain, your donation counts as a tax deduction and the government also adds ‘gift aid’ to your donation, so now is you time to get your own back on the government.
“For anyone who has been affected in any way by cancer, I’m sure I don’t need to set out the importance of the cause I have chosen.”
His final request seems perfectly reasonable. “If you could also all please chum the waters near you starting on Friday to draw all sharks away from the five mile stretch of water we’ll be swimming in, that would also be appreciated.”