Africa has never in its history been a place for the faint hearted and South Africans are generally pretty hard core people as a result.
This shows up in the sports arenas where South Africans enjoy dominance in brutal sports like rugby and as a nation we have also been on the forefront of new pursuits like big wave surfing.
Open water swimming is another sport that South Africans are turning towards in ever increasing numbers and one of the most dangerous places to swim is the cold and shark infested water off the west coast of Cape Town.
Theodore Yach has just made his first attempt to pioneer a swim from Hout Bay to Robben Island, a distance of 35 km. His ultra-swim was aborted on Monday, two hours into the swim, after conditions deteriorated dramatically as he left Hout Bay. A new date for his second attempt will be announced soon.
Yach started his 12 hour swim at 6:04am, from Hout Bay in relatively good conditions which deteriorated half an hour into the swim. They then got progressively worse. “It was like a washing machine out there. He was being hammered so we decided to postpone it until another day,” said his mentor and second, Tony Scallabrino.
Yach said he would continue preparing for his epic 35 km swim to Robben Island. The swim is expected to take at least 12 hours.
This is one of his most dangerous icy Atlantic Ocean challenges yet and through this swim he is raising funds for disadvantaged swimmers.
The route from Hout Bay to Robben Island is directly through Great White Shark territory. He is being protected by Shark Shield repellent devices and a shark spotter.
Yach, who wears only a Speedo costume, cap and goggles when swimming in the open water, is raising funds for the Cadiz Open Water Swimming Development Trust which promotes swimming at grassroots level and supports disadvantaged swimmers. He is calling for donations of R100 per stroke for as many of the 35 000 strokes expected to complete this challenge.
Yach is also highlighting Cape Town’s shark awareness campaign which promotes respect for sharks and responsible use of the ocean. He has partnered with the Save Our Seas Foundation in this regard.
More information can be found at his website.