Swim to Tasmania

lexlomaxlexlomax Member
edited June 2012 in General Discussion
I am starting to hatch an idea about swimming from mainland Australia (just near Melbourne) to mainland Tasmania. It's 240km as the crow flys and would do this with another person (with a third person possibly), with a decent boat and a shark cage (there are some pretty big white pointers down this way of the world). What i would like to know is a) Is this type of distance physically possible for two people in terms of recovery time? b) How would you split the shifts? eg 8 hours on, 8 hours off? c) has this been done before (i know Tammy van Wisse swam Bass Strait which was 90kms. d) even with recovery time, what sort of effect will this length of swim have on the body (excessive chaffing, loss of life and/or limbs etc) ;-)

Clearly this would not be a trivial undertaking and would require extensive planning and training. Would like to get this topic out there to garner some feedback/experiences


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Wasn't there a very experienced kayaker lost a couple of years ago attempting a crossing of that Strait, after making it almost the whole way? Not to mention the Hobart Yacht race disaster. Big seas, bad weather possibilities.

    It's a new swim so you can set your own relay terms in time on and off. I'd imagine shorter duration swims would be optimum for continuing swimming but are of course hard for metabolic temperature recovery.

    Figuring out tides has got to be the very first step. There is no point doing anything else before this.


  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    Didn't Einstein traverse that route in Yahoo Serious' movie Young Einstein? Obviously it was on a raft and not a true story, but still! :o)
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    jcmalick wrote:
    Didn't Einstein traverse that route in Yahoo Serious' movie Young Einstein? Obviously it was on a raft and not a true story, but still! :o)
    You've seen that movie!!!!??? :)

  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    Yeah it was one of my favorites growing up! :o) I own it on VHS!
  • WazWaz Member
    Interesting idea

    I would say you would need 3 really great swimmers, or 2 truly exceptional swimmers.
    The biggest problem I think this challenge would present is getting a weather window big enough. Lets assume a generous speed of 4km/hr that is 2.5 days of non stop swimming. Finding 3 days of good weather in the Bass Strait might be difficult.

    In terms of shifts, I would be thinking somewhere between 2-3 hrs pp. With a team of 3 that would give you between 4-6hrs recovery, enough for sleep and nutrition etc
  • hi loneswimmer,
    not familiar with the story of the kayaker, however there was a guy last year who died kayaking solo from Australia to New Zealand. There are kayakers who do a similar route (albeit stopping at the islands on the way).

    I now have the details of the metal worker who made the cage for Tammy van Wisse, and I going to get a quote for a new cage. Also been talking with an extremely experienced commercial fisherman from Tasmania who fishes in the Bass Strait (just north of Tassie). Was hoping to charter him to pull the cage etc, however these boats have a minimum speed of 5 knots (just a little too fast for us!). Would love to know if anyone has any experience with what type of boat would be able to handle the large seas, but slow enough to pull a cage?

    Waz: Have also come to the realisation that we will need three swimmers. How about you? Do you live in Australia? The fisherman also mentioned the same issue about getting a window of 3 days would be tricky. Reckon this would be total deal breaker? Wonder if we could take GPS reading of where we got to, take shelter and then come back out when the weather calmed?
  • WazWaz Member
    It might be worth talking to the people that organise the magnetic island swim

    they use to use cages up there for their swim
  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    So I look up Melbourne in the forum, because I will be traveling there in December, thinking, might as well see if there are some places to swim. And I see this!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2018

    Now that an open water swimmer has done a true 100+ miles unassisted (equipment or currents), I'm waiting for someone to seriously think about the Bass Strait. Forget Cuba/Florida, this would really be off the wall!

    Best I can tell, mainland Tasmania to mainland Victoria (excluding offshore islands) is an even 200 km / 124 miles. Legendarily gnarly conditions.


    Historical footnote: Tammy Van Wisse did part of the Bass Strait - King Island TAS to Apollo Bay VIC (95 km) in a wetsuit in 1996.

    I do not know about currents, but given TVW did her 95km (in a wetsuit) in 18 hours (5.3 kph), I assume there are some to be taken advantage of.

  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Would be epic! Traditionally a very windy part of the world.


    "Bass Strait is notorious for its 'boisterous weather'. Shallow, and exposed to the fury of the southern trade winds, its waves are steep and the currents unpredictable."


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