About The Oceans Seven Challenge
The Oceans Seven Challenge
‘Oceans Seven’ consists of seven long-distance open-water swims across the most dangerous sea channels in the world. For extreme swimmers it’s the ultimate test — the equivalent of climbing the seven summits in mountaineering. Only six people have ever completed the challenge.
1. Catalina Channel
USA - 21 Miles
This channel features strong winds, fierce currents and swimmers usually encounter large marine life including migrating whales and dolphins and is comparable to the English Channel in terms of the physical and mental challenges to swimmers.
2. Molokai Channel
Hawaii - 28 Miles
The longest crossing with a staggering 28 miles; it took Beth over 24 hours the first time she swam it! The water is warm, but features brisk winds and heavy currents. There are dolphins here, but also more aggressive marine life — such as sharks — and huge Pacific waves.
3. Cook Strait
New Zealand - 16 Miles
The strait covers 18 miles across exceptionally rough seas with extremely strong tidal flows. Motion sickness is certainly a factor here and the water is cold, about 16°C. Dolphins are common and there are stories of dolphins protecting swimmers from shark attacks. For example, the Maori believe the first woman to cross the Cook Strait was Hine Poupou. She swam from Kapiti Island to Durville Island with the help of a dolphin.
4. Strait of Gibraltar
Spain & Morocco - 8 Miles
With a distance of around 8 miles this is one of the shorter crossings, but with unpredictable weather conditions, heavy freight ship traffic, high winds and an eastern flow of water with an average of 3 knots (5.5km per hour) this is an extremely difficult crossing.
5. Tsugaru Strait
Japan - 12 Miles
A deep-water channel, approximately 12 miles wide. Swimmers are faced with extraordinarily strong currents flowing from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean. There are also occasional sections of cold water that flow up from the depth of the sea. Marine life is abundant and swimmers are faced with blooms of squid (especially at night), sharks and deadly snakes. There have only been four confirmed solo crossings to date.
6. North Channel
Great Britain & Ireland - 21 Miles
The North Channel is 21 miles wide and features extremely rough seas, unpredictable weather conditions and ‘fields’ of lion’s mane jellyfish (touching one tentacle hurts like a hornet’s sting). The water is cold — an average of 12°C. Crossings have been attempted 73 times since 1924, but there have only been eight successful solo swims so far.
7. English Channel
Great Britain & France - 22 Miles
The ’Everest’ of swims; 22 miles long and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with over 500 cargo ships crossing the channel every day. It also has the biggest tidal shifts in the world and is notorious for its strong currents. The water is cold — around 16°C — and hypothermia is a real danger.