Marathon swimmer to tempt sharks again

| 29/06/2012

Penny+Palfrey.JPG(CNS): The international open water swimmer Penny Palfrey has her eyes set on another dangerous shark infested open ocean swim, this time across the Straits of Florida. Palfrey caused controversy in the Cayman Islands last year when sharks were reportedly killed to keep them from attacking her on a record breaking open ocean swim from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman. Palfrey has said she now wants to become the first woman to complete the unassisted 103 mile swim without the aid of a shark cage between Cuba and Florida.

The 49-year-old British-Australian mother and grandmother told the international media this week that she was inspired to take on this marathon swim when she flew from the Cayman Islands to Miami after the record breaking Cayman Islands event.

“I looked down, I could see this beautiful stretch of water, and wow!” she said. Palfrey got home and immediately began researching currents in the strait and its water temperatures, which are similar to those in the Cayman Islands.

As with her Cayman swim, Palfrey will cross the ocean without a wetsuit or a cage and rely on battery-powered shark shields attached to the boat and an accompanying kayak to keep the sharp-toothed predators at bay. During her Cayman swim, however, the sharks still came very close and the swimmer said that local white tips were cruising below her during most of the nighttime leg of her swim.

Although Palfrey's team denied that any sharks were harmed, eye witnesses reported that at least two were killed to prevent an attack on the swimmer

The swim will take around 40-50 hours and currents will dictate where she lands. A 44-foot (13-meter) catamaran will shadow her, carrying a support crew of navigators, kayakers, handlers, medical personnel and observers on hand to verify what would be a record swim. Every half-hour she’ll sip a carbohydrate drink for nourishment.

Palfrey traversed the English Channel twice and also has completed a continuous swim from Gibraltar to Morocco and back.

Last year’s 67-mile Cayman crossing is her personal best, but Palfrey said she’s in good shape and 20 years of marathon swimming has her well-prepared for the 103 miles of the Florida Straits.

“It’s further than I’ve ever swum before,” she said. “I expect it to be very challenging, but I’m very excited about it."

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Category: Sports

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love the CNN articletoday that refers to her swim from Little Grand Cayman Island to Big Grand Cayman Island. 

  2. Shark hugger says:

    Whose is going to pay for her crew?  They had their hand out the entire time they were on Cayman.  More importantly, it would be nice if they didn't needlessly kill any sharks on this swim.  They seem to have selective memory regarding this fact. 

    Penny, swim all you want, but leave the sharks alone this time.         

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well she has bailed out due to "strong current". Life goes on…for the sharks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    shes on the front of CNN.com as well! (US version).

    i mean….people are weird but still…go you!

    as long as the sharks don't have to suffer

    • JUST A THOUGHT says:

      I wish I knew what to really say to add fire to fury.  However I will say The sharks are of another world dont trust them

  5. Anonymous says:

    She doesn't seem to be nervous at all about being shark bait.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It's not worth having to kill the sharks forher to have her 15 minutes of fame.

    • Anonymous says:

      Her 15 minutes of fame, or her inspiration to others?

      • Once bitten, twice shy. says:

        Inspiration for whom, Cubans? Swim all you want I say, but leave the sharks alive. After all, it’s their natural territory, not a human’s.

      • Anonymous says:

        Only real achievements are inspirational.

        This is just another stunt that will be done one day then forgotten the next.

  7. Anon says:

    Good luck Penny! I met her and her husband last month at a charity dinner when they were here for the Flowers Sea Swim and got to chat for a bit. They are both fascinating people with some great stories to tell. I hope Penny makes it safely