There is no doubt that one of the best ways to understand our world is to immerse ourselves in it. And what better way to do that than an open water swim through a waterway that connects British Columbia’s coastal communities.
The Great Bear Swim started in 2016 at the base of Ocean Falls on the central coast of British Columbia. Susan Simmons, an traditional open-water ultra-marathon swimmer, along with her crew began a multi-year voyage through the Great Bear Sea.
Year one Susan was joined by friends Dale Robinson and Jill Yoneda for portions of the 50 kilometre, 2-day staged swim from Ocean Falls in Cousin’s Inlet, down Fisher Channel, through Gunboat Passage, passed Shearwater to Bella Bella.
A short video was produced capturing their journey.
In 2017 Susan returned to Great Bear to continue her journey this time starting her swim where she ended it the previous year, at the public boat launch in Bella Bella. Her goals was to swim 50-60km over 2 days to Namu.
On day one of the swim Susan encountered 30km/hr winds and was bucking 3-4 foot waves as she attempted to make her way through Lama Pass. Four hours and about 10km after starting Susan and her crew decided halt the journey and continue next day. About 3 hours into the swim on that day a humpback swam directly under Susan. One hour later she walked out of the water in a sandy cove about 3 kilometres from the entrance to Fisher Channel.
This year, 2018, Susan plans to continue her journey to Namu. She will start where she stopped last year and continue swimming through Lama Pass and down Fisher Channel to Namu.
You can follow Susan on the Great Bear Swim Facebook page.