It Takes A Village To Swim Around An Island

Courtesy of Wofty Wild and Plastics Ocean International, Easter Island, Chile.

Cristian Vergara attempted a 60 km circumnavigation swim around Easter Island in November 2016.

His attempted ended short of his goal in 26 hours 52 minutes, but South African Sarah Ferguson became the next person to attempt a swim around Easter Island (Rapa Nui), a Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle.

Her swim was part of Swim Against Plastic, a global campaign to help end plastic pollution. She selected Easter Island because the surrounding waters contain one of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the Pacific Ocean despite being most remote inhabited island on the planet.

Plastics Ocean International and Breathe Conservation supported her 60 km 19 hour 8 minute on March 16th. Camila Ahrendt represented Plastics Ocean International and was responsible for the logistics of Ferguson’s swim while serving as an independent observer (see here). Ahrendt is a Chilean marine biologist and Director of the Científica de Plastic Oceans Chile.

She wrote about the people on board on Ferguson’s escort boat: Sarah Houston, Dr. Rentia Denissen, John McCarthy, Marta Vigoroux, Hian Schneider, Juan Gustavo Ogaz, Te Manu ko Nui Gabriel Lillo, Erik Aleynikov, and Wofty Wild.

Sarah Houston was the nutritionist for Sarah. She prepared all liquids and food during her swim and personally fed Sarah every 30 minutes, checked her status, encouraged her and tended to her needs. Dr. Denissen is Sarah’s personal doctor. John is Sarah’s trainer who was responsible for Sarah´s safety and all decisions related to that. John accompanied Sarah in kayak and made important decisions. Marta Vigoroux was the Captain of the escort yacht who has years of navigational experience. She provided the exact [GPS] positions and was the person who communicated with the Chilean Navy and with the Hanga Roa Hospital. Hian Schneider was second in command of the escort yacht who was always attentive to the needs of the crew. Wofty is a cameraman of Ferguson´s team who took the official photographs of the swim. Erik is a videographer and was in charge of post-production audio-visual content. Juan is an experienced local kayaker who was a key member of the swim who offered local knowledge to make on-the-spot decisions about the route and conditions. Te Manu ko Nui Gabriel Lillo is an experienced local kayaker and was key to offer local knowledge in the face of decision-making.”

Ahrendt’s detailed report is posted here.

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