2019 ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu
The 3rd Annual ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu Swim Challenge was held September 12th – 15th. Seven swimmers including Ryan Leong, Dr. Steven Minaglia, Stefan Reinke, Alex Webb, 16-year-old Skylar Webb, Joe Zemaitis, and John Zemaitis completed the 3-day, 3-interisland event. Two additional swimmers entered the event with 66-year-old James Tout attempting a crossing of the Kalohi Channel and Paul Towers completing it.
In 2017, five swimmers completed the event (including Minaglia, Reinke, and Joe Zemaitis). In 2018, six swimmers completed the event (including Minaglia and Towers).
Dr. Minaglia reported on the event, “On September 15th, John Zemaitis became the fifth person to complete the Triple Crown of Stage Swims.
Day 1 across the 14.9 km Kalohi Channel between Lanai and Molokai: winds were up as well as the swells. 9 swimmers started and 8 completed the channel. The kayakers had to abandon their paddling due to strong winds and rough seas shortly before the halfway mark. Swimmers from then on fed from the escort boat.
Day 2 across the 13.5 km Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai: conditions were favorable and there was a current pushing north. 7 swimmers started and finished on clean sandy beaches with partial sun, cloudy skies, and gentle trade winds.
Day 3 across the 14.1 km Auau Channel between Lanai and Maui: winds were 10-15 knots and seas were mild. 8 swimmers started and 7 finished. Strong current swept the group far to the West across the channel leading to a long and difficult finish.
Special thanks to Kalei Luuwai and his sons Kawai and Mogul for guiding us and protecting us during this great endeavor. Thanks also to Liz Webb for feeding us, filming us, and watching us so closely during the 3 days. Finally, thanks to Cris and Nova Stickley and Peter Benzon for paddling hard in the high winds and swells on day 1.”
The 4th Annual ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu Swim Challenge is tentatively scheduled for October 2nd-5th 2020.
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