A couple of weeks ago I did a wild swim, that I never imagined I could do… so much so that I actually hiked it years ago, because who on earth would swim around Cape Point, it was journey that I had to take. This swim was not even slightly on my radar… but then I started to think about it and I couldn’t let it go.

Whitagram-Image 71

Getting to the Launch

At the end of last year a group of us decided that we would get together and swim this route… it is not as popular as the iconic Freedom Swim, from Robben Island to Big Bay… but my goodness it is beautiful and totally worth putting on your swimming bucket list.

Whitagram-Image 76

There was delay after delay, not to mention lockdown, and a wave of Covid lurched through the team members, myself included, and then a staggeringly slow recovery and eventually when I decided that the swim was definitely off, I got a call on a Wednesday evening to be at the dock on the Friday morning. Our group was diminished to four… and there was no gentle idea of tapering… whatever training had been done had to be good enough.

Whitagram-Image 41

The weather in Cape Town had been unseasonably bad, and there was a four hour window, where the wind would die down and we could swim our swim before the next storm arrived. I just want to mention at this stage that this swim could easily have taken me four hours on a good day, so any delay in the start or the slightest change in the weather could be disastrous… to say I was a little worried about it is an understatement.

Whitagram-Image 64

The idea was to head down to the Miller’s Point and be at the jetty before five in the morning and then we would jump into Rubber Ducks and head down past The Point to Diaz Beach where our swim would begin and we would be ready to start at about se7en in the morning, but… what we didn’t expect was a massive traffic jam from Miller’s Point almost back to Simonstown… apparently all the fishermen in greater Cape Town had spotted the same weather window as we had and were heading down to the same slipway to launch as us.

Whitagram-Image 43

We watched the sunrise and our start time slip away and our four hour window of opportunity was getting smaller and smaller… so loads of nervous smiles… and eventually four happy swimmers were ready to launch…

Whitagram-Image 45

We were off and the madness of what were about to do was starting to sink in… really this swim is a massive undertaking… It is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing, there are two lighthouses at the point for a reason… it can be rough, really rough…

Whitagram-Image 56

Finally Getting to the Start

The swim begins on the most glorious beach in the world… Diaz Beach. Honestly the most beautiful beach in the world and the reason it is so pristine is that you have to climb a lot, LOT, lot of stairs to get to it… you really have to want to go there. Or you can boat in as we did, and then swim out… I chose swimming out!!!

Whitagram-Image 58

I am just going to say it was a rough landing on the beach… an hour on the boats down to the landing and it was cold, the weather was deteriorating. And into the water… always colder than expected, but that pristine beach with crisp white waves lapping the shore from far… is something very different up close. The waves were gigantic and the tossing onto the beach was extreme… my goggles were gone, my cap was gone… and as I stood up I literally fell over from the shock of it all. I knew this would be a gutsy day, and it turns out it took quite a bit to get back in the water and back through those waves. Funny thing is that as I stood on the shore gathering myself I looked down the beach and about 100m away, lying in the wash were my goggles and cap. Gathered them up, gathered myself… and got back to the boat… where I really wanted to call it a day… but I had made the commitment to swim, and so I did…

Whitagram-Image 67

The first two kilometres from the shore to the point were tough, it was rough, the waves do not settle as they wash against the coast, they wash back off the rocky coast. It is a whirlpool of chopping and changing waves… no chance to find your rhythm.

Whitagram-Image 60

So really a gritty 2km swim, close to the coast, but not too close… between the rocks or around… I chose a little bit further and around the rocks…

Whitagram-Image 72

And around the point… my goodness absolutely stunning. I hadn’t noticed the weather deteriorating to the point where the support crew were truly suffering.

Whitagram-Image 59

But my goodness what a stunning sight, to see the lighthouse. And around the point, and into a school of seals… loads of them, frolicking in the water…over under and around…

Whitagram-Image 61

Whitagram-Image 62

And from there the swim went on and on… as soon as we entered into False Bay the ocean immediately became much more consistent, the swell was big and swimming up and over wave after wave… the four hour weather window had passed and we were riding the storm… which ultimately passed us by…

Whitagram-Image 74

This part of the swim was a slog… stroke after stroke and it really didn’t feel like I was making any progress. Some crazy kayakers passed us by, yelling encouragement as they surfed the waves into the bay. That really spurred me on and from far off, the end was in sight…

Whitagram-Image 50

So swim on, swim on… over kelp forests… on towards a very happy finish, the last hurdle to get over this pile of squishy kelp along the shore.

EA4D23E9-10EE-4C37-8F0A-C112FAB4DF43

The welcoming committee was well…
Whitagram-Image 49

A little preoccupied…
Whitagram-Image 73

And first things first and recovery swim in the tidal pool… of course.
Whitagram-Image 53

Two very happy swimmers… this felt bigger than us and yet we did… swim is definitely a team sport!!!
1670A0A2-825B-40B1-BC1A-719E11332A46

Massive thank you to the team at Cape Town Swim for all the coaching and encouragement. And of course, Big Bay Events… for taking care of all of us on the day. Hugely grateful to have done this swim and while this swim had its difficulties and challenges all along the way, I would definitley do it again in an instant.

Photographs from the Day

Around Cape Point

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.