Swimming From Oahu to Kauai

Updated 11/10.  KITV is reporting that the swim has been stopped.  While I’ve seen nothing from her official team, Penny apparently encountered man-o-wars again, just as she had earlier in the year.

Updated 11/9. The swim began today as scheduled. Her arrival on Kauai is now anticipated to be later than first thought, perhaps Thursday evening. I do plan to be there.

Updated 11/8:  The swim is now scheduled to begin tomorrow, Tuesday at about 11am, and complete on Kauai this Thursday at 3am. Ocean conditions appear very favorable for Penny with all sides of the islands reporting wave heights of under three feet.

Australian Penny Palfrey, age 48, is about to do the unthinkable: swim the Kaʻieʻie Waho channel that separates Kauai from Oahu by nearly 75 miles.  She hopes to begin the swim by Tuesday, depending on conditions, and plans for the crossing to take between 30 and 40 hours.

Palfrey is one of world’s most experience long distance swimmers whose accomplishments include the English Channel. Yet this will be her longest, roughest and most challenging swim ever. This channel is known for extremely harsh currents. It was responsible for keeping Kauai separate from the other Hawaiian Islands until it was conquered two hundred years ago by King Kamehameha.

You can follow her updates on her website.

Prior Hawaii swims

I recall when Penny tried this swim earlier in the year, unsuccessfully. She encountered Portuguese man-o-war, which stopped her swim after about 12 hours. In 2009 Palfrey became only the second person ever to swim the Alenuihaha Channel between the Big Island and Maui. That 15 hour swim in twenty foot wells will likely pale however when compared with this week’s swim.

No shark worries

Penny is being provided with a Shark Shield, an electronic deterrent system originally developed by the government of South Africa. See it in action in this brief video.


Palfrey won’t be alone

She’ll be accompanied by a small charter boat and team. In addition a movie crew will be joining in order to film her journey. When Penny arrives on Kauai, I hope to be there, near where the above photo was taken. I’ll update if I’m able to cover her arrival.


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5 thoughts on “Swimming From Oahu to Kauai”

  1. Hi Rob! Pamela and I would like to go down to the beach to welcome her! Please let us know if you hear where she will be swimming into.


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