Courtesy of Nicolene Steynberg, Agulhas Current, South Africa.

Anticipation is building for the Great Shark Swim in South Africa and around the world, but the 36-member team of swimmers, oceanographers, escort pilot, and support crew is not sure when they will swim.

Oceanographer Lisa Guastella gave a situational update before the Great Shark Swim, a 100 km charity swim organised by Madswimmer along the Agulhas Current in South Africa.

The mega 100 km tandem swim has an estimated finish time of 12+ hours along the KwaZulu Natal Coast.

She explains, “The latest satellite SST imagery is attached for 28 and 29 November and zoomed in for 29 November with some approximate distances. The 9.1 km corresponds to the original plan to leave Park Rynie and drop off approximately 10 km SE into the Agulhas Current, which is, of course, not there at the moment.

The system is sticking around and appears to have grown a bit in offshore extent again, so still keeping us guessing as to whether a big Durban Eddy or Natal Pulse.

Currents, as stated by Roland Mauz are 0.6 knots northward at Protea Banks and still northward 12 nautical miles offshore, while zero current still on Aliwal, as it has been for the past three days.

Weather conditions could also be better, forecasts have been quite variable, maybe uncertainty with change of seasons/unstable weather.”

It is planned that the 100 km course will start near the Port Shepstone Coast, 10 km in from the eastern shoreline of South Africa, and end at Mbotyi, Eastern Cape in South Africa. The current at the start moves at 9 km per hour. With an average swim speed of 3.3 km per hour, the total swim speed is expected to be 12.3 km per hour, which means the pod of swimmers could theoretically complete the 100 km course in 8 hours.

The charity swim by Madswimmer aims to create awareness of shark and ray species such as blue sharks, mako sharks, dusky sharks, and bronze whaler sharks that are targeted in long-line fishing gear set across the Agulhas Current, and smaller shark and ray species that are caught as bycatch in trawl fisheries.

The entire team of swimmers, kayakers, scientists and support crew includes the following individuals:

1. Jean Craven, Swimmer and Project Leader
2. Herman van der Westhuizen, Swimmer
3. Emil Berning, Swimmer
4. Greig Bannatyne, Swimmer
5. Samantha Whelpton, Swimmer
6. John Dickerson, Swimmer
7. Mark de Klerk, Swimmer
8. Ryan Stramrood, Swimmer
9. Milton Brest, Swimmer
10. Nadia Cooke, Swimmer
11. Owen Scheftz, Swimmer
12. Duncan Kukard, Swimmer
13. Trevor Lundt, Swimmer
14. Andrew Ford, Swimmer
15. Ben Enosh, Swimmer
16. Luc Chetboun, Swimmer
17. Oded Rahav, Swimmer
18. Doron Amosi, Swimmer
19. Ram Barkai, Swimmer
20. Andy Pfaff, Swimmer
21. Pablo Fernandez, Swimmer
22. Nic Burden (Paddler co-ordinator)
23. Gordon Spalding, kayaker
24. Mike Halliday, kayaker
25. Paul Nixon, kayaker
26. Rob Tucker, kayaker
27. Dr. Jean Harris, Expedition Leader, At-Sea Team Leader and boat skipper of the Research Vessel Angra Pequena from the Wild Oceans Program
28. Roland Mauz, At-Sea Co-Leader and boat skipper of Avatar from African Dive Adventures (semi-rigid inflatable boats)
29. Emil Pirzenthal, boat skipper of Anon from Aliwal Shoal Adventures
30. Fafa Pretorius, boat skipper from South African Police Search & Rescue
31. Glen Preston, boat skipper of God’s Girl Medivac
32. Nicolene Steynberg, Onshore Project Co-ordinator
33. Kamini Moodley, On-water Project Co-ordinator
34. Lisa Guastella, oceanographic and weather forecasting
35. Derrick Frazer, At-Sea Co-Leader, Swimmer and kayak safety
36. Dr. Sean Gottschalk, At-Sea Co-Leader, Medical

For more information about the challenge that was nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, visit madswimmer.com.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year are as follows:

1. Barbados Open Water Swimming Festival with Kristina Evelyn & Zary Evelyn (Barbados)
2. Khitindra Chandra Baishya (Bangladesh)
3. Sven Eckardt (Germany)
4. India National Open Long Distance Swimming Championship Escort Rowers (India)
5. Margarita Llorens Bagur (Spain)
6. Igor Lukin (Russia)
7. Madswimmer by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France)
9. Stephen Rouch (USA)
10. Jason Snell (UK)
11. Christof Wandratsch (Germany)
12. Wild Swimming Brothers (Great Britain)

Its nomination reads, “Madswimmer has been raising funds for charitable causes throughout its existence, raising a total of over US$700,000. This year, Madswimmer was particularly busy with four unique swims: the 7.9 km Pan-American Colibrí Crossing between California, USA and Tijuana, Mexico in May with 12 swimmers, the 94.7 km Balaeric Island Challenge, a four-day stage swim around the Spanish island of Ibiza in September with 10 swimmers, the 34 km Bazaruto Island Swim in Mozambique in October with 20 swimmers, and the 100 km Great Shark Swim in the fast-moving Agulhas Current from Park Rynie to Port Edward South Africa in December where the fastest 100 km non-stop ocean swim in history will be attempted. Madswimmer founder Jean Craven recruited charitable-minded swimmers from multiple countries to participate in different extreme pioneering swims.

For continuing to care for children and their fellow citizens by providing funds and awareness to myriad causes, for designing, organizing and attempting unprecedented swims of unique nature in beautiful locations, for helping push the frontiers of physical and mental boundaries among their swimming contemporaries around the world, Madswimmer’s charity swims are worthy nominees for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year here.

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