Strait of Bonifaccio

David Holscher and his son Henry Holscher will attempt to cross the Strait of Bonifaccio to raise money for Alzheimer.  Here, in Henry’s words, is the description of the swim and the cause:

My father and I will be swimming the Strait of Bonifacio for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in the week of 9/17-9/24. Alzheimer’s is a horribly degenerative disease that I watched firsthand slowly take the life of my grandmother Maureen Holscher. She was an incredibly warm soul and it was very painful for me and especially my father to watch her forget who everyone around her was and then ultimately forget who she was herself in the final throes of the disease. We chose to do this swim on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America because not only does this charity fund research for an eventual cure but they also unite more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing care for those currently suffering from the disease. The Strait of Bonifacio is a ~10- mile open water swim from the island of Corsica to the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a lesser known swim marked by extreme winds that often reach up to 60 knots. When we complete it we will be just the second and third Americans to have done the swim. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and thank you for the support.

 

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Swim for Kim – The English Channel

On June 20th, Night Train member Melissa Blaustein’s window to swim the English Channel opens. It will be an arduous, difficult task bearing cold water temperatures for up to twenty hours and 20+ miles with no wetsuit and no stopping to hold on to the boat.

But that seems like an easy task compared to the one that her swim mentor, best friend, and fellow Night Train swimmer Kimberly Chambers is currently undertaking. On May 6th, 2018 Kim was admitted to California Pacific Medical Center because she couldn’t feel her legs. A few days later, she was officially diagnosed with Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome (GBS). This is a rare neurological illness which attacks your nerves and can render you paralyzed. Kim, the woman who has swam the oceans seven, considered the pinnacle of marathon swimming, and who was the first ever woman to swim from the Farallons to the Golden Gate Bridge, was unable to walk.

Melissa would never have begun swimming if it wasn’t for Kim. Not only did she inspire her to push herself further and to do more, she brought her along for the journey. Taking her with her to Lane 5 at North Bay Aquatics, early dips at the South End Rowing Club and on her first kayak adventure with Simon and Miguel. Kim has inspired so many of us with her strength, determination and ability to succeed. Now, Melissa is hoping to dig deep on this swim and inspire her.

Melissa will be using the swim to fundraise for the Guillan Barre Syndrome/ Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP Foundation International and will donate all funds raised in Kim Chambers’ name. Hopefully this funding will go towards earlier diagnosis, faster treatment and raising awareness about the debilitating disease she’s grappling with now. Help Melissa cross the channel and swim for Kim! Please consider donating today on the link on the right of this page, or at the bottom of the page if you are visiting this site on mobile. All donations made through the Night Train Swimmers will be sent to GBS Foundation.

** Your Contribution is tax deductible **

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93-mile swim from Sacramento to San Francisco

Kim Chambers, a member of Night Train Swimmers will be attempting the longest solo swim ever recorded in California. The swim, commemorates the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, begins in Sacramento on September 9, 2016 and ends in Belvedere on September 11, 2016, totaling 93 miles over the course of 48 hours.

Chambers will utilize the Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough as she travels toward the bay, ending at the point of Tiburon. Night Train and Chambers are proudly teaming up with Warrior Canine Connection in an attempt to support recovering Veterans and their families.

Chambers will abide by English Channel rules prohibiting the use of a wetsuit and resting on the boat. “Since my previous swims have mostly been in large bodies of water, this will be a completely different kind of challenge, mentally and physically,” says Chambers. “With that being said, it pales in comparison to what many of our veterans and service members face for a lifetime.”

Compared to Chambers’ past swims that have been attempted by multiple swimmers, this one is about three times longer and has no recorded solo attempt to date. With this comes a whole new set of challenges. From knowing where her support crew should lead her, to knowing the tidal patterns, Chambers will be in uncharted water until she reaches the bay.

Unprecedented solo swims to the Farallon Islands

In 1967, Lt Colonel Stuart Evans became the first swimmer to complete the crossing from the Farallones to the California Coast, finishing at Bolinas, Calif. Since then, only three other swimmers have completed the crossing, two of whom made it all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Night Train swimmers Simon Dominguez and Kimberley Chambers each plan to be the first swimmers to complete the Farallon journey backwards, starting at the Golden Gate Bridge and finishing at the Farallon Islands. 

Simon’s swim is scheduled to start at around 11PM on Tuesday July 28th.  Live tracking: http://nighttrainswimmers.org/live-tracking/ 

Kim’s attempt will take place in a couple of weeks.

To get the latest news on these swims, please follow Night Train Swimmer’s Facebook page.

Donations to Night Train Swimmers will go to Bay Area charities including Night Train’s swim program benefiting hundreds of at-risk kids.

Photo: Kate Weber

Photo: Kate Weber

Swimming to the Farallones, Islands of Adventure

BY DAVID McGUIRE

0260.150425.NT.Fara.0649

Lurking some 30 miles off the coast of the San Francisco Bay are a mysterious group of small islands, rocky outcrops and submerged pinnacles known as the Farallon Islands.

Few people living in San Francisco even know the islands exist. Called the Devil’s Teeth by ancient mariners, they are assiduously avoided by sailors fearing the fate of ships suddenly sunk upon rocks shrouded by thick fog. The Miwok Indians called them the islands of the dead, the place where the ghosts rest. Normally these barren rocks lie unseen in the fog, wreathed in foam and inhabitant by seals and seabirds and patrolled by a large aggregation of great white sharks.

Yet on a clear day, the 357-foot granite pinnacle of Southeast Farallon Island stands in clear view from the Golden Gate, appearing within grasp to we mortals. A small group of elite adventurers called the Night Train even swim there.

Why do we travel to the moon? Why do we explore the deepest depths of the ocean? As Mallory described his fateful quest to reach Everest: “Because it’s there.”

Driven by this same spirit of adventure, a few intrepid spirits from the Night Train Swimmers endeavored to swim from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands on April 25, 2015.  Dave Holscher, Patti Bauerenfeind, Kim Chambers, Simon Dominguez, Emily Kreger and Ashley Horn made up the team crossing the notorious Gulf of the Farallones.

The swim started in a spitting mist with Bauerenfeind leaping into a 2.5 knot ebb beneath the Golden Gate and spitting past the headlands like a watermelon seed. Stroking beneath a rainbow formed from the Marin Headlands to Land’s End, Patti’s first hour put nearly 5 miles behind the team.

The next 12 hours resembled a body surfing contest as the swimmers paddled and slid through a building 8-10 foot swell and West winds gusting up to 30 knots from the west. At times the swimmers disappeared beneath collapsing crests but the pink and white Night Train caps kept reappearing closer to the goal. Alone at the helm, Vito Bialla maintained steady contact, easing Sequel through the swells, as the support crew grabbed the incoming swimmers like gaffed tuna washed onto the stern step. By mid-channel the water temperature dropped to around 52 degrees and the exiting swimmers quickly climbed into the Sequel “sauna” (the boat’s head with a heater) to warm up. Approaching the island near dusk, the building wind gusted to 35 knots and the converging currents made the final hours a challenge. The team persevered, approaching the island with Stand-in Kate Webber accompanying Chambers, swimming together into the darkness accompanied by glowing plankton. Like an advertisement by an all night diner, Dominguez swam the anchor leg, pulling a strong and vigorous butterfly to the fishermen’s buoy among the bioluminescence and the calls of the cormorants.

Touching the buoy, Simon ended the swim at 9:10 PM in a record breaking swim of 14:10 hours. Why? Because it is there.

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