Lengthwise Crossing of the Sea of Galilee, December 2013

edited January 30 in Cheering Section
Hi, Folks!

On December 21, 2013 (or earlier that week, depending on weather), I'll swim the length of the Sea of Galilee (21km/13mi), from Amnon Beach in the north to Tzemach Beach in the south. I'm swimming under EC rules and accompanied by a motorboat (no kayaks.) Looking forward to freshwater, hopefully reasonable temperatures, and good company crewing on the boat (family and friends.) I'm slow, so I expect this'll take me 8-9 hours.

I'm fundraising for Beth Dror, a shelter and refuge for LGBT youth in Israel (100% of donations go to them; swim expenses come out of my personal pocket). Your support and kindness appreciated, and if anyone finds him/herself in Israel at the time and wants to come aboard as observer, I'd appreciate that very much.



  • Good luck!
  • edited October 2013
    Awesome, @heart! I've added it to the MSF Upcoming Solo Swim Calendar:


    (click "Look for more" for events more than a few weeks out)
  • I'm excited about the upcoming swim! My brand new SPOT tracker should be on its way here; it'll be nice for folks to follow up on the swim from the U.S. I'm very much hoping my shoulders hold up!
  • I'm here. It's COLD! Israel is seeing the worst weather it's had in decades. Snow (!!!) and ice everywhere. If the lake freezes, I suppose I could cross it Jesus-style, by walking.
  • Keeping my fingers crossed for warmer weather your way!
  • How cold is it @heart?
    Sorry about the unexpected conditions. I'm sure you have trained hard for this and to find your water unswimmable must be very disappointing. :-(
  • Thanks, guys! The worst of the storm seems to be behind us. The lake is colder than I expected, but not freezing, and things may look up toward the second half of the week. I'll be talking to my pilot later today, and I think our best bet is to keep the original date of the swim, Saturday. I'll keep everyone posted!
  • The reports of water temp vary wildly between 60 and 70. I was banking on closer to 70 before the storm started. But the other problem is air temp, which is close to freezing right now, and we're told will warm up toward the end of the week. I'm worried not only about my own comfort, but about my boat crew as well. Nine hours is a long time to be on a small boat in freezing air.
  • Just talked to my pilot. Weather is looking up for the rest of the week and swim is ON for the original date - Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year. Stay tuned for GPS tracking link and other news!
  • Best wishes heart! You will do this :-)
  • Good luck!!!
  • @heart I'll be following as well.
    I wish you a smooth and efficient crossing.
  • Good luck - I will be following with interest.
  • Thanks, you guys!

    I just talked to the pilot. We'll be leaving at approximately 5am Israel time. That's 3am on Sat Dover time, 7pm on Fri Alcatraz time.
  • @heart You're doing good. Nice even progress. Only question. Is the current or wind that strong seeing the pendulum course?
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Looks like you made it @Heart! Well done!
    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • edited December 2013
    Yay @heart!
    (*) (*) (*)
  • Thanks, you guys! I'm thrilled. Thrilled and wiped out. Race report tomorrow. Now going to SLEEP. :)
  • Congratulations!
  • What a pioneering Spirit and Congratulations! Rest Well and Lots of Wine upon your awakening as both are well deserved!
  • edited December 2013
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Thanks, guys!

    @Niek, we had some winds that skewed us a bit, and a bit of chop in the middle, but nothing too crazy. I was cold and almost gave up at Hour Six; my pace swimmer went in the water with me and buoyed my spirits. I'm very proud and happy and immensely grateful to my awesome crew.
  • Kol HaKavod!
  • Awesome race report, @heart. And awesome swim. Wow.
  • Wonderful
    You must be very proud of your achievement.
    I loved your race report its inspirational.
    Well done.
  • Shvoong Magazine, the Israeli endurance magazine, did a lovely feature on my swim, for those of you who read Hebrew or are willing to suffer through particularly awful Google Translate language. :)
  • Awesome swim!
  • edited December 2013
    Inspired by @roncollins ' post after his Catalina swim, in which he contrasted his DNF image when chiseled to his amazing success with a few pounds on, I used an image from the beginning of the race to combat the idiotic "strong is the new skinny" meme. I really think that marathon swimmers are uniquely positioned to combat fat-shaming and the looks-over-function approach to fitness.
  • I think this is my favorite Google translation so far:

    Such a story last Saturday snort quietly and somewhat modestly

  • Hilarious! Yeah, the florid language at the beginning was sort of begging for it. :)
  • I was premature:

    Have resume more interesting browns

  • and thought violinist winter will be a good idea.

  • edited December 2013
    You swam with binoculars?!?!

    You gotta love Google translate. Proof that we still need human interpreters/translators!
  • edited December 2013
    I have a friend who is a certified courtroom translator/interpreter. He can rant about this for days, and clearly, justifiably so!
  • @heart, so what is the Hebrew word that keeps coming up translated as "brown"

    all athletes are wonderful swimming browned amazing

    Nice article all around, and incredible swim!
  • heart said:

    I have a friend who is a certified courtroom translator/interpreter. He can rant about this for days, and clearly, justifiably so!

    I used to do work along those lines Russian-to-English and I don't know how many times senior leaders ranted about the future when they wouldn't need us and they'd just use computers. Then when some of that software came online we'd show them the difference between what the Russian really said and what the computer translated. Hell, humans aren't immune to this, e.g. the whole "bury you" vs. "outlive you" from Khrushchev.
  • I think it's "משחה", which is the noun "swim" (as in, a race.) First time it came up, the dude was asking me if I'd done other interesting swims. Second time I was saying nice things about y'all and your great accomplishments and how in order to win respect in such august company I wanted to swim sans suit.
  • here's the meme:


    love it!
  • edited December 2013
    Happy New Year! May we swim happily and safely!
  • edited January 17
    Wow! Turns out I was not the first person to swim the Sea of Galilee north to south. Steve Munatones sent me a race report by Bill Welzien, who swam pretty much the same route in September 2009 (there are no exact markers or GPS but the entry and exit points of the Jordan are very close to my entry and exit points). Bill, who seems from his race report to be a lovely gentleman, benefited from temperatures 20 degrees warmer than the ones I had, but suffered from the nasty Easterly wind that blows across the lake in the summer, and finished in 10:25. I had no idea I broke Bill's record, and Steve kindly promises to put us in touch so we can compare notes and talk about this awesome swim.

    So, let's tip our hat to Bill: Credit where credit's due!
  • edited January 17
    Nice report and credit to Bill, but:
    from the report

    I checked my watch periodically.

    still debated here on MSF

    John came to help steady me until I
    got my "land legs" back.

    That's a no no.

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • @Niek, I don't think Bill was out there to get some sort of official credit, but to achieve something personally challenging and in tune with his religious convictions and to have fun.
  • edited January 17
    @heart I only mean that your crossing was the first un-assisted according to openwater swimming rules.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • edited January 17
    Steve asked me what I thought over email, presumably for a DNOWS article. Here was my reply:
    I would say that Hadar is the first to swim according to standard rules of marathon swimming. Which is equivalent, in the context of marathon swimming, to "the first."

    Bill does not appear to be seeking recognition or "first person" status, but rather, the gratification of his own personal accomplishment. That is a perfectly fine reason to swim. So, I don't feel it's my place to judge what his swim was or wasn't -- he isn't asking for my judgment.

    But I would say that Hadar did the first standard marathon swim across the Sea of Galilee.
  • Either way, I sent Bill a nice email (got his contact info from Brian Lanahan) and I really hope he'll be in touch. He seems like a great guy.
  • a two person relay next year? ;)
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
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