On Friday October 15, marathon swimmer Jessi Harewicz will attempt to swim a 10.1 km ‘skin’ swim in a water temperature of 10-11 C around Smelhmelhélch/Passage Island from Ch’axáý/Horseshoe Bay, finishing at Whytecliff Park.
This is the final swim in a series of swims that Jessi started in 2018 with her circumnavigation of Nex̱wlélex̱m/Bowen Island. After an agonizing 21 hours around Nex̱wlélex̱m, Jessi came up with the idea of turning it into a series of swims. The goal was to be the first to circumnavigate all the islands in Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound, located in the beautiful fjord just north and around the corner from the bustling city of Vancouver, BC. Partnering up with Marine Life Sanctuaries Society at the beginning of 2021 and the pandemic evolving in the background, provided the perfect opportunity to complete the distance swims around these local islands.
Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Swimming Project:
September 18, 2018: Nex̱wlélex̱m/Bowen Island: 30.5 km in 21:01:11 hr
May 11, 2018: Kwum Kwum/Defence Islands from Xwelxwelítn/Watt Point: 11.5 km in 2:48:55 hr
May 26, 2021: Lheḵ’tínes/Keats Island: 12.85 km in 5:01 hr
July 2, 2021: Pasley Island and the nearby group including Ragged Island, Mickey Island, Worlcombe Island, Skwákwtsa7s/Popham Island, Little Popham Island, Hermit Island: 10.8 km in 4:25:58 hr
June 10, 2021: Lhaxwm/Anvil Island: 13.4 km in 5:54:45 hr
June 23, 2021: Chá7elkwnech/Gambier Island: 36.54 km in 17:21:25 hr
October 1, 2021: Bowyer Island from Ch’ich’iyuy Elxwikn (The Twin Sisters)/Lions Bay: 10.2 km in 3:50:55 hr
And last, but not least:
October 22, 2021 (weather permitting): Whytecliff Park with a double loop around Smelhmelhélch/ Passage Island and finish at Whytecliff Park. 10 AM departure; ETA finish at 1:45PM.
MLSS would like to thank Jessi for her support and interest in raising awareness of the Howe Sound glass sponge reefs as she pursued her marathon swim around the island of Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound. MLSS admires Jessi’s tenacity and will-power to complete her skin swims in these very cold temperatures, both water and air, and wishes her all the best with her marathon swim successes!