Kaspar Paul on left with Terence Bell on right

Terence Bell Pioneers His Way Around Kaua’i

Courtesy of WOWSA, Kaua’i, Hawaii.

Terence Bellan Australian aquapreneur, set a personal goal to achieve an unprecedented open water swim years ago.

He realized his dream earlier this month.

Bell completed his unprecedented 14-day stage swim between July 1st and 14th to become the first person in history to circumnavigate 160 km around the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i.

The entire swim took in 51 hours 57 minutes over the 2-week period.  Ultimately, he made his way 177.48 km around the island (distance over water, not the straight-line tangent distances).  “I took 76,532 strokes in an average ocean temperature of 26°C (79°F) with Kaspar Paur as my support crew on a kayak and a support team on land and boat.”

Bell’s daily log of his individual stage swims is posted here.

Day 1 on July 3rd: 

  • Support: Swimming along sailboat with Kaspar Paur on kayak
  • Start outside Nawiliwili Harbor
  • Break on Gillin’s Beach, Mahaulepu Beach (on kayak)
  • Finish at Makawehi Bluff
  • Conditions included gig swells, initially very strong currents against which eventually turned supportive; visuals got better as he swam.
  • Marine life included spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, and many fish
  • Swim 1 distance: 10.50 km / 6.52 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 4.30 km / 2.67 miles

Bell described his 1st and 2nd stages, “There was big excitement and my heart was pounding for our first day of the swim, but we were pleasantly greeted by dolphins as we left the harbor.  It was very intimidating and difficult beginning with big cliff faces and very strong currents against us.  We stayed still in the same spot for 1 hour.  We recalibrated and managed to push through this first challenge and had an amazing swim.

Towards the end of the second swim, Kaspar received a radio call from the Captain that there was a fire on board, damaging the engine.  We returned and were given the choice to paddle a few miles to shore or stay onboard and sail back. It was a wise decision to paddle to land as it took the Captain 36 hours to get back to harbor as the winds died and they only had sailpower. We had to make alternative arrangements from this point which took a few days.”

Day 2 on July 7th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak and Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Kikiaola Harbor due to large swells at Shipwrecks
  • Break on Port Allen (on land)
  • Finish at Kaumakani Point
  • Conditions included heavy south swell, neutral to supportive currents
  • Marine life included leatherback and green sea turtles
  • Swim 1 distance: 12.09 km / 7.51 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 5.67 km / 3.52 miles

Bell described his 3rd stage, “It was a nice swim with some good visuals along the way.  We had to paddle the kayak about 2 miles until we mistakenly landed the kayak onto a private beach (Gay & Robinson).  In the meantime, we had to flip it on the shallow reef while getting to shore.  We then we had trouble with the grumpy owner of the property and took us 3 hours to get out of there so it was an exhausting day. It was also Kaspar’s 34th birthday, what a way to celebrate.”

Day 3 on July 8th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak and Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Kaumakani Point
  • Break at Waimea Pier (on land)
  • Finish at Kikiaola Harbor
  • Marine life included green sea turtles
  • Swim 1 distance: 6.50 km / 4.04 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 3.47 km / 2.15 miles

Bell described his 4th and 5th stages, “We faced challenging conditions.  It was extremely bumpy with solid swells and waves breaking on outer reef, murky water with zero visuals as we swam past Poo Point.  It was very challenging today with lots of ocean energy, big breaking swells at Pakala’s and limited visibility.”

Day 4 on July 9th: 

  • Part 1 Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak and Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Makawehi Bluff
  • Break: None
  • Finish at Salt Pond
  • Marine life: none seen
  • Swim 1 distance: 8.35 km / 5.19 mi

Bell described his 6th stage, “It was a rough swim with very challenging conditions with bumpy, solid swells, outer reef breaks, and 5 – 15 knot eastern trade winds.  It was a sketchy launch from Shipwrecks due to large swells that got my heart racing early on. Kaspar got thrown out of kayak by a freak wave around Makahu’ena Point; there was lots of water moving with waves breaking inside and outside.  I felt like a cork in the ocean getting tossed around, but it was energizing and powerful at the same time.”

  • Part 2 Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak and Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Kikiaola Harbor
  • Break: None
  • Finish at Kekaha Beach Park lifeguard tower
  • Marine life included green sea turtles
  • Swim 2 distance: 5.02 km / 3.12 miles

Bell described his 7th stage, “We left the harbor separately and had a plan to meet at some point; however, we were separated for the entire 3-mile swim as I stayed closer to shore on the inside and Kaspar stayed on outside of reef.  We both felt comfortable with this, knowing that each other would be fine, but there was a bit of commotion on land with our support team who thought I was lost at sea.  We eventually connected via the lifeguards and shared some well-earned kombucha after swimming in the large swells.”

Day 5 on July 10th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak with Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Kekaha Beach Park
  • Break: None
  • Finish at Kokole Point before the military zone
  • Marine life: none seen
  • Swim 1 distance: 3.51 km / 2.18 miles

Bell described his 8th stage, “The conditions were perfect at the start and we made solid progress, but this quickly changed as the currents were too strong for me to swim against at Kokole Point, the start of the 10-mile military zone.  The strong currents made us abort plans so we landed the kayak in big swells at Kokole Point and called it a day as conditions deteriorated further.”

Day 6 on July 11th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak
  • Start at the Hanalei Bay pier
  • Break: Ha’ena Beach Park on land
  • Finish at Hanakapi’ai Beach (camping)
  • Marine life included spinner dolphins and spotted rays mating
  • Swim 1 distance: 8.72 km / 5.41 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 5.08 km / 3.16 miles

Bell described his 9th and 10th stages, “The conditions were initially flat and calm, Makahoa Point had a strong current against us, while Wainiha Bay was super shallow with exposed reef.  It was a beautiful swim, leaving Hanalei with dolphins and hugging the coastline, swimming over shallow reefs. We eventually landed at Hanakapi’ai and immediately hiked up to the Hanakapi’ai Falls to watch a beautiful sunset.”

Day 7 on July 12th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak
  • Start at Hanakapi’ai Beach
  • Break on Kalalau Beach on land
  • Finish on Miloli’i Beach (camping)
  • Marine life included spotted rays, green sea turtles, and Portuguese man o’ war
  • Swim 1 distance: 2.39 km / 1.48 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 1.96 km / 1.22 miles

Bell described his 11th and 12th stages, “I only did 1 hour of swimming, then I was wrapped up by Portuguese man o’ war near Pirates Cave. The pain was so intense that I needed to rest on the kayak for 10 minutes.  In a semi-delirious state, I restarted the swim for a short time until the poison went directly into the glands. Kaspar had to flag down a boat at Pirates Cave as I now felt completely delirious and numb all over.

It was like an out-of-body experience that I have never had before.  I recovered flat-out on the boat for 15 minutes and let the poison dissipate and my mind to calm down. We decided to paddle to Kalalau Beach to rest for lunch, and shower under the waterfall.

I started the swim again, and after only 20 minutes I was stung twice by more man o’ war so we both called it a day, paddled to Nualolo Beach for a visit, then onto to Miloli’i Beach.

It was like a washing machine with gale force winds, a strong backwash and reverb from the cliffs

The Portuguese man o’ war got me really good; the first one was unbelievably intense, wrapping around my entire body my neck to feet, and forced us to stop the swim for a while. The 2nd and 3rd stings were  less intense, but enough to shake me.

The scenery was absolutely amazing with lots of boat traffic.  Kalalau was absolutely beautiful, pristine nature, but with lots of noise pollution from helicopters.  I was very happy to settle at Miloli’i for the evening and captured my raw voice recording sharing my feeling of being vulnerable in the omnipotent ocean.”

Day 8 on July 13th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar on kayak
  • Start on Miloli’i Beach
  • Break at Polihale State Park on land
  • Finish at Barking Sands (camping)
  • Marine life included a solo swim for half hour with huge pod of spinner dolphins
  • Swim 1 distance: 9.05 km / 5.62 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 5.00 km / 3.10 miles

Bell described his 13th and 14th stages, “The conditions included initially neutral currents with light winds, then strong currents against us towards the end.  It was a beautiful swim and one of the easiest days with good visuals and calm conditions.  The dolphins were energizing and very playful and brought a smile to our faces for the rest of the day.  We arrived to a surprise welcome by our support team and set up camp on an isolated spot on the beach.  It was a perfect setting if it wasn’t for the mosquitoes by the thousands, so we slept very little.”

Day 9 on July 14th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar on kayak
  • Start at Barking Sands Beach, Polihale
  • Break: Majors beach on kayak
  • Finish at Kokole Point
  • Marine life: none seen
  • Swim 1 distance: 13.01 km / 8.08 miles

Bell described his 15th stages, “The conditions included initially slight current against, but light, huge swells, then strong favorable current, with 1.5 meter tall at 17-second interval swells.  It was challenging due to big swells, but fun to watch the perfect unridden waves go past us at Majors.  We attempted to land the kayak at Kokole, but lifeguards warned us against landing on the beach, so we got picked up by ‘Blue Dolphin’ cruise boat, and were driven to Port Allen.”

Day 10 on July 15th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak with Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Anahola Bay
  • Break at Kealia Beach on land
  • Finish at Wailua Bay
  • Marine life included many fish and green sea turtles
  • Swim 1 distance: 8.01 km / 4.98 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 4.01 km / 2.49 miles
  • Swim 3 distance: 3.58 km / 2.22 miles

Bell described his 16th, 17th and 18th stages, “It was perfect conditions with small swells and light eastern wind, great visuals over the reef.  We had plenty of playtime in the water together, diving into the deep blue and checking out the reef.  It was such an enjoyable swim.”

Day 11 on July 16th: 

  • Support: Self supported with Kaspar Paur on kayak and Joe tracking from land
  • Start at Wailua Bay
  • Break at Hanama’ulu Bay on land
  • Finish at Nawiliwili Harbor
  • Marine life included green sea turtles and unknown jellyfish
  • Swim 1 distance: 7.59 km / 4.72 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 6.50 km / 4.04 miles

Bell described his 19th and 20th stages, “The conditions were extremely challenging with straight onshore winds at the outer reefs.  It was very bumpy and hard to navigate.  It was one of the most challenging days with lots of stings.  We lost each other briefly for 10 minutes before our break.  I was very stoked to come into Nawiliwili Harbor and be greeted by our support team bearing gifts.”

Day 12 on July 17th: 

  • Support: Tracker boat with Kaspar Paur on a standup paddleboard
  • Start at Anahola Bay
  • Break at Larsons Beach on boat
  • Finish at the Kilauea Lighthouse
  • Marine life: none seen
  • Swim 1 distance: 8.09 km / 5.03 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 8.00 km / 4.97 miles

Bell described his 21st and 22nd stages, “We had great conditions with favorable currents.  Before the swim, I felt very anxious before due to the rough boat ride and strong tradewinds blowing.  It turned out to be a wonderful swim along a stretch I know well.  It got very wild between the lighthouse and Moku’ae’ae islet.  Today, I felt like a dolphin.”

Day 13 on July 18th: 

  • Support: Tracker boat with Kaspar Paur on standup paddleboard
  • Start at Pirates Cave on the Napali Coast
  • Break at Kalalau Beach on boat
  • Finish at Miloli’i Beach
  • Marine life included green sea turtles
  • Swim 1 distance: 6.42 km / 3.99 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 1.68 km / 1.04 miles
  • Swim 3 distance: 5.74 km / 3.57 miles

Bell described his 23rd, 24th and 25th stages, “There was lots of power in the water.  The first half very challenging with tons of backwash from the cliffs.  The swim was difficult, but energizing, as it is such a breathtaking coastline.  I counted 24 waterfalls gently falling into the ocean.  We picked up a couple in distress at Kalalau Beach, and the strong trade winds blowing hard made the ride back tough, but we still managed to see all the sea caves and slip under waterfalls.”

Day 14 on July 19th: 

  • Support: Tracker boat with Kaspar on standup paddleboard
  • Start at the Kilauea Lighthouse
  • Break on Princeville on boat
  • Finish at the Hanalei Bay Pier
  • Marine life included spinner dolphins near the lighthouse, green sea turtles, and many fish
  • Swim 1 distance: 6.57 km / 4.08 miles
  • Swim 2 distance: 6.55 km / 4.07 miles

Bell described his 26th and 27th stages, “We had great conditions with neutral currents.  This was the final swim and I felt amazing, just as much energy as the first swim a few weeks back.  Mother Nature had looked after us and our support team were phenomenal.  Kaspar and I swam the final 10 minutes together and were surprised by a small passionate welcoming party at Hanalei Pier.  All of us celebrated with a healthy splash of champagne.  I can swim like a fish, but certainly not drink like one.  The Only Wild Ones journey had come to a beautiful and harmonious end.”

Nutrition (plant-based)

Bell described his meals during the 14-day journey around the island of Kauai, “Breakfast was soaked overnight oats with dates, nuts, Manuka honey, coconut oil, ginger, and cinnamon.  Snacks included dates, organic food bars, nut butter, fruits like bananas, papayas, and pineapples.  Dinner was brown rice, tofu, sweet potato, vegetables, and avocados.  I drank water, natural electrolytes, coconut water, and kombucha.

Supplements included spirulina tablets, magnesium, astaxanthan, and MSM.”

For additional photos and more information on Bell’s circumnavigation swim, visit here. To listen to one of Bell’s raw audio recordings, visit here.

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