Thursday, May 23, 2013
WESTBROOK — Pat Gallant-Charette swam in a circle for more than three hours and endured some 50 jellyfish stings before deciding to end her attempt to cross the Tsugaru Strait in Japan on Monday, she wrote in a blog post.
Carl D. Walsh / Staff Photographer
The 61-year-old Westbrook grandmother is hoping to make another attempt to cross the 12-mile strait on Thursday or Friday.
The swim is part of Gallant-Charette's larger effort to complete the Oceans Seven challenge, which comprises seven long-distance open-water swims around the globe. She has completed three.
Another woman attempting the Oceans Seven, Anna Carin Nordin of Sweden, got out of the water after swimming for seven hours and also hopes to try again, Gallant-Charette wrote in her blog Tuesday morning. Nordin has completed four of the swims and hopes to be the first woman to finish the challenge.
Gallant-Charette started the swim Monday at 4:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time -- 5:05 a.m. Tuesday in Japan -- and was pulled from the water about 3½ hours later, according to a blog post by her daughter, who has been getting updates from her mother's crew.
Sarah Charette wrote that her mother was "feeling fine and they are headed back to camp."
Only one person has completed the Oceans Seven challenge. A 47-year-old Irishman, Stephen Redmond, did so in July when he crossed the Tsugaru Strait on his fourth try.
In addition to the Tsugaru Strait, Gallant-Charette needs to complete the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Irish Channel and Molokai Channel in Hawaii.
In the last two years, she crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel off California.
Gallant-Charette left Maine for Japan about a week ago. She was given the week from Sept. 7 to Sept. 14 to start the 14-hour swim. The conditions were poor for the first few days, but the winds had subsided Monday, Gallant-Charette wrote in an email her daughter received Monday morning.
She wrote that she was feeling "well-rested and ready to face the most difficult swim challenge of my career."
This year, only two people have swum across the Tsugaru Strait, which is known for strong currents and headwinds, giant squid, sharks and deadly snakes.
Gallant-Charette is with her friends Yoko Aoshima of Falmouth and Pat Whitney of Freeport, who plan to ride in a boat alongside her as she swims.
Aoshima planned to email updates, if she had good enough cell phone reception. Charette has been posting news on her mother's blog, patgalant.blogspot.com, as she has received it.
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: