Date: 6 March 2014
Seahorse trailered at Millers Point
One misty morning early in March I provided boat support for Richard Child, a 61 year old engineer who is an experienced open water swimmer. Richard was one of a field of fifteen South African swimmers who planned to swim around Cape Point – from Diaz Beach on the western side of the peninsula, into False Bay and to Buffels Bay on the eastern side of the peninsula. This is a distance of approximately 8 kilometres. I launched Seahorse at Millers Point, and then battled through large waves to get around Cape Point to Diaz Beach, where the swimmers did a dry start from the sand.
The swimmers huddle on Diaz Beach at the start
This is an intense open water event that is not for the faint of heart. The swim was held to raise funds for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust. You can see how to donate, and what was raised, on this page. Well over R100,000 has been raised so far!
The swim started on Diaz Beach inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve. With the assistance of two experienced surfers, the swimmers were guided as to when to run into the water, so as to avoid being pounded by the breakers. In the waves, Richard lost his cap, but we had a spare on board and passed it to him when he rendezvoused with the boat after the start.
Cape Point shrouded in mist
The conditions approaching Cape Point were quite hair raising for the swimmers. The sea was gunmetal grey, and choppy. The area just north west of Cape Point is foul ground with many rocks, and the waves came from all directions. Richard wanted to swim as close inshore as possible because it’s warmer there, and feels less exposed. I had to stay on my toes!
Richard on his way around Cape Point
Rounding Cape Point, the sun broke through the clouds and we passed into False Bay, which was silky smooth. Things went much quicker from there. The distance to swim inside False Bay is longer than the distance from Diaz Beach to the Point, but conditions were a hundred times easier.
Rounding Cape Point into False Bay
Each boat was fitted with a Shark Shield, on loan from Fish Hoek Lifesaving. This meant we had to stay within a certain distance of our swimmer. His (future) son in law was on board, shouting motivation to him, keeping him informed of his stroke rate and the water temperature, and providing snacks and liquids when required. I had brought our pool net along, for the purpose of passing Richard items. As per the rules of the swim, he was not allowed to touch the boat at all.
Richard swims into a glassy False Bay
Swim for Hope is the brainchild of flautist Carina Bruwer, who completed the same swim alone in 2013, and before that in 2004. She holds the women’s record for this course.
- Waiting at Diaz Beach
- Approaching Cape Point
- Richard in the choppy waters round the Point
- False Bay looking flat as a pancake
- One of the support boats
- Waiting for the start on board Seahorse
- Swimmers on Diaz Beach
- Support boats wait for the event to get going
- Richard in action
- A fisherman on the rocks in the nature reserve
- Richard swims past the cave near Cape Point
- Flotsam near Cape Point
Approaching Buffels Bay
Richard had anticipated that he would be the slowest swimmer on the day, because he was the oldest in the field, but he completed the swim in 3h08, with a couple of swimmers behind him. Seeing him approach the slipway at Buffels Bay, stand up and raise his arms in the air to signify a completed effort, was quite emotional. He is the oldest swimmer to have completed this swim, and an absolute hero in my book.