Courtesy of Jacques Tuset, Makronissos, Greece.

On May 20th, Jacques Tuset escaped from his 29th prison during his prison island swim (îles-prisons à la nage in French) from Makronissos, an island in the Cyclades archipelago, to Lavrion on Greek mainland.

His 4 km aquatic escape was not easy; it took him 1 hour 15 minutes against a Force 4 head wind and rough seas.

Tuset reports, “Makronissos is an arid, rocky, low-lying island that has served as a place of deportation for nearly half a century. According to estimates, during the Greek Civil War, 50,000 to 100,000 people from all parts of Greece passed through Makronissos from 1947 to 1958.

In May 1989, the abandoned and protected island was declared a historic site and is considered a memorial of the Civil War. As such, the camp buildings are preserved. It is not possible to visit the island, but I was lucky to be able to start to a beach at the front of the abandoned camps.

I would like to warmly thank [actor, anchor man and open water swimmer] Ioannis Kifonidis, the city of Lavrion, lifeguard Tonia Solanaki, and the pilots for allowing me to make this new and beautiful swimming escape.”

Tuset, an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, has completed the most number of prison island swims in history:

Career Prison Island Swims [swims to mainland]:
1. 3 km Île d’Oléron to Tremblade, France in 1999
2. 2.4 km Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, California, USA in 2000
3. 5 km Le Château d’If to Marseille, France in 2001
4. 20 km Fort Boyard to La Rochelle, France in 2009
5. 7.5 km Robben Island to Cape Town, South Africa in 2014
6. 25 km Cabrera Island to Majorque, Spain in 2014
7. 1.8 km Spike Island to Cobh, Ireland in 2014
8. 25 km Île du Levant to Hyères, France in 2014
9. 1.3 km Sainte-Marguerite to Cannes, France in 2014
10. 19.7 km Rottnest Island from Cottesloe, Australia in 2015
11. 22 km Tabarca Island to Alicante, Spain in 2015
12. 2.5 km Île de Brescou to Cap d’Agde, France in 2015
13. 2 km Château du Taureau to Carantec, France in 2015
14. 5.2 km Île de Gorée to Gorée, Senegal in 2015
15. 13.4 km St Joseph’s Island to Kourou, French Guiana in 2016
16. 400m Isla de San Simón to Cesantes, Spain in 2016
17. 1.5 km Isola delle Femmine between Sicily and Italy in 2016
18. 750m Drakes Island to Plymouth, Great Britain in 2016
19. 3 km Spitbank Fort to Gosport, Great Britain in 2016
20. 2 km Île Mogador to Essaouira, Morocco in 2016
21. 10 km Île du large St Marcouf to Quinéville, France in 2017
22. 1.3 km Spinalonga to Plaka, Crête in 2017
23. 21 km Asinara Island to Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy in 2017
24. 500m Bourtzi Fort to Nauplie, Greece in 2017
25. 4 km Makronissos, Greece in 2018

Career Prison Island Swims [swims to mainland via bridge or walking at low tide]:
26. 50m Langholmen, Stockholm, Sweden in 2014
27. 200m Fort National to Saint-Malo, France in 2016
28. 50m Île de la Cité to Paris, France in 2017*
29. 2 km Île Tatihou to St Vaast la Hougue, France in 2017

* Tuset recalls, “The swim escape in Paris was through the Seine River. It was only 50 meters and done very earlier in the morning so I would not be seen. Like a convict who wants to escape. But I also swam 12 km along the Seine River in 2006.”

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