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About The Oceans Seven Challenge

The Oceans Seven Challenge


‘Oceans Seven’ consists of seven long-distance open-water swims across the most dangerous sea channels in the world. For extreme swimmers it’s the ultimate test — the equivalent of climbing the seven summits in mountaineering. Only twenty one people have ever completed the challenge. 



1. Catalina Channel

USA - 32km

This channel features strong winds, fierce currents and swimmers usually encounter large marine life including migrating whales and dolphins and is comparable to the English Channel in terms of the physical and mental challenges to swimmers.



2. Molokai Channel

Hawaii - 44km

The longest crossing with a staggering 40km; it took Beth over 24 hours the first time she swam it! The water is warm, but features brisk winds and heavy currents. There are dolphins here, but also more aggressive marine life — such as sharks — and huge Pacific waves. 



3. Cook Strait

New Zealand - 26km

The strait covers 26km across exceptionally rough seas with extremely strong tidal flows. Motion sickness is certainly a factor here and the water is cold, about 16°C. Dolphins are common and there are stories of dolphins protecting swimmers from shark attacks. For example, the Maori believe the first woman to cross the Cook Strait was Hine Poupou. She swam from Kapiti Island to Durville Island with the help of a dolphin. 



4. Strait of Gibraltar

Spain & Morocco - 16km

With a distance of around 16km this is one of the shorter crossings, but with unpredictable weather conditions, heavy freight ship traffic, high winds and an eastern flow of water with an average of 3 knots (5.5km per hour) this is an extremely difficult crossing. 



5. Tsugaru Strait

Japan - 20km

A deep-water channel, approximately 20km wide. Swimmers are faced with extraordinarily strong currents flowing from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean. There are also occasional sections of cold water that flow up from the depth of the sea. Marine life is abundant and swimmers are faced with blooms of squid (especially at night), sharks and deadly snakes.



6. North Channel

Great Britain & Ireland - 34km


The North Channel is 34km wide and features extremely rough seas, unpredictable weather conditions and ‘fields’ of lion’s mane jellyfish (touching one tentacle hurts like a hornet’s sting). The water is cold — an average of 11°C.



7. English Channel

Great Britain & France - 34km

The ’Everest’ of swims; 34km long and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with over 500 cargo ships crossing the channel every day. It also has the biggest tidal shifts in the world and is notorious for its strong currents. The water is cold — around 15°C — and hypothermia is a real danger. 


The Seven Crossings