Thursday, May 23, 2013
From staff reports
The 61-year-old Westbrook woman who is attempting to swim across Japan's Tsugaru Strait was swimming in the channel late Wednesday night.
Carl D. Walsh / Staff Photographer
Pat Gallant-Charette began her second attempt to complete the swim at 4:11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday -- 5:11 a.m. Thursday in Japan.
Her friends Yoko Aoshima of Falmouth and Pat Whitney of Freeport rode in a boat alongside her.
Gallant-Charette had suffered multiple jellyfish stings but was "doing great," according to a message posted on her blog by Aoshima at 10:25 p.m.
Gallant-Charette tried to cross the channel on Monday, but strong currents caused her to swim in a circle for more than three hours so she decided to get out of the water.
Crossing the Tsugaru Strait would be the fourth of seven long-distance swims she wants to complete, known as the Oceans Seven Challenge.
In the past two years, she has crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, the English Channel and the Catalina Channel off California. She plans to attempt the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Irish Channel and the Molokai Channel in Hawaii.
Only one person has completed the challenge: A 47-year-old Irishman, Stephen Redmond, did so in July when he crossed the Tsugaru Strait on his fourth try.
Gallant-Charette had a week, ending Friday, to start the Tsugaru Strait swim.
According to a message from Aoshima posted at 8:11 p.m., "There are very strong currents pushing her to the Pacific. She needs to continue to work really hard and is doing well. She has jellyfish stings, but says she is doing fine."
Aoshima described the weather as good. She said the water was calm and the sky was "clear blue."
Gallant-Charette wrote in an email to her daughter Wednesday morning that the swim was "a go" and would begin at 4 p.m. EDT. She planned to start from the Tappi peninsula on the island of Honshu and swim to the island of Hokkaido, where she started her swim Monday.
Also starting from Honshu, she said, was her "new friend" Anna-Carin Nordin, who hopes to be the first woman to complete the Oceans Seven Challenge. She has finished four of the swims and also started the Tsugaru Strait swim this week, but got out of the water after seven hours.
Gallant-Charette said in her email, which is posted on her blog, patgalant.blogspot.com, that she has "been receiving words of encouragement from all over the world."