On 18 September Outdoor Swimmer contributor, swim coach and water advocate Dan Abel, completed a 34km circumnavigation of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in aid of Autism Cook Islands. Along with his support crew, which included swim coach Chloe Harris who was in charge of planning and logistics, Dan had a lot of extra company – rays, whales, sharks, turtles, wind and waves. Thirty years on from the last successful circumnavigation, Dan joins Meda McKenzie and Don Carlaw as the only three people in history to have completed this swim. Following the swim path less travelled presented a myriad of challenges and rewards – the first three hours were almost treadmill-like into the wind and current.
Raising over NZ$8,000 and counting, Dan finished his swim accompanied by a flotilla of paddlers and SUP’ers and three hump back whales whose whale song was in chorus with traditional drumming and cheers from a large crowd of supporters, including Don Carlaw, to welcome him ashore. The unofficial time of the swim is 11 hours and 2 mins – knocking over 6 hours from the previous circumnavigations.