And this idea is currently ranked sixth, just behind publishing a Femynist Journal in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley and just ahead of #7, which involves slapping Brock Lesnar while offering, "Didn't know they grew pussies that big."
This bad idea is surprisingly straightforward. Get in the water near the Farallon Islands, off of San Francisco. Point yourself east. Swim until you see the Golden Gate Bridge. What could go wrong? Their cause is praiseworthy, they'll have support boats, and the distances are manageable. 30 miles in a straight shot with six swimmers each doing an hour in the water on rotation.
Why, I swim an hour at the Y every Wednesday, some of you just remarked.
Except that they won't have floaties on, for starters.
There are some complications.
- First, the Farallon Islands are known as The Red Triangle, not for its Marxist geometry, but because it contains one of the largest concentrations of Great White Sharks in the world. These Great White Sharks are massive, particularly aggressive, and hunt by cruising the bottom of the ocean floor while scanning up towards the surface for interesting profiles to fling their bodies at until that meaty speck set against the sky is bleeding heavily and eventually dead. Picture a large bouquet of barber's razors perched on the chassis of a VW Bug going at 25 miles per hour hitting you with no warning because you have six inches of visibility.
On second thought, I'd prefer not to have warning.
The swimmers take solace in the fact that April isn't typically the season for GWS concentrations in the Farallon Islands. October is their peak time. So basically they're staking their lives on whether or not the local shark population had their Spring Break condo reservations in Puerto Vallarta fall through.
- Sharks are an understandable paranoia, but cold is the real killer. And these swimmers don't wear wetsuits. The water temperature will be around 50 degrees. Cold water is really good at killing people through hypothermia. You'd survive better doing naked jumping jacks in a Minnesota blizzard. The last time this swim was attempted in 2010, the first relay swimmer was pulled out of the water after 42 minutes with severe hypothermia and nearly died. Swim cancelled.
- The Pacific Ocean is about as pacific as a rabid wolverine with separation anxiety. Worst Named Ocean Ever. It's like naming the Himalayas the Gentle Rolling Flatlands. The Pacific is not like swimming in the lazy river at Schlitterbahn, particularly with respect to the amount of urine you swallow.
Open ocean waves in the Pacific are unpredictable and unpleasant, and they work hard to drown you at every opportunity. 20 foot waves driven by 30 mile per hour winds + open ocean currents = brutal swimming and/or separation from escort boat followed by unpleasant death. Add in a dusting of 50 degree water and high level exertion and you have a solid recipe for misery, fatality, and failure.
This is an ambitious enterprise and I wish these guys all the luck in the world. They're raising money for our veterans, with contributions going to The Wounded Warrior Project, The Semper Fi Fund, and The Navy Seal Foundation. All charities well worth your time and money.
If you want to track them, they're leaving around 6:00am PST April 14th and expect to swim under the bridge at 7:00pm the same evening.