can be swum either from Catalina Island to the mainland
or the reverse, from the mainland to Catalina Island.
I chose to swim from Catalina Island to the mainland.
In order to have the best swimming conditions, the swim
usually starts very late in the evening. I
acclimated myself prior to the swim by staying up during
the nights and by sleeping during parts of the days.
My swim started at 11:55pm, 14 September 2006, which
was, for me, great swimming as it doesn't matter when I
start my swims. I don't know if my crew, who were
kayaking for me, would have said the same thing.
My support boat, Bottomscratcher, about 65' long,
carried Skipper Greg Elliott; Rick; Crewman, Eric;
Observer, John York, Catalina Channel Swimming
Federation, who officials and verifies the swim; and
friend, Celeste Collins, who took pictures.
My kayakers, Narelle and Matt, did shifts of 1.5 hours
each. They had difficult times keeping me on track
the first 4.5 hours in the dark with just the light
sticks on the back of my costume and the light from the
The swim went well through the night. Even though
I started in 22° Celsius throughout the swim, it drops
to 16° Celsius in the water. I kept plodding along
and, yes, it did start getting cold; but throughout the
dark, the conditions were great with very little wind
and swells and without stingers.
My crew, Narelle, Matt and Bill, were superb.
After swimming hard for a long time, I heard my coach,
Narelle, say, "I can see the doors and windows of the
houses on Point Vicente"; and I knew I was close to
At 11:31am, Friday, September 15, 2006, I got to my feet
on the rocks at Point Vicente in Los Angeles. That was
after falling once on my backside on the rocks. I got to
my feet for the second time; and the swim official,
John, declared the swim official. I was a very
delighted man. It took me 11 hours and 36 minutes.
I had become the 2nd Australian and blind person to
complete the swim and the 6th person in the world to
complete the Great 3: The English Channel, The
Cook Strait and The Catalina Channel. Gemma Jensen
was the 1st Australian to complete the swim in August,
2006; and a blind Hawaiian completed it in 1952.
Catalina Channel, 33kms
Catalina Island to Point Vicente, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Support Team: Narrelle Simpson, Matt Logan, Bill Tricker (Sticks)