South Delta man successfully swims across Georgia Strait

James Monk made the swim Saturday in just over nine and a half hours


Tsawwassen’s James Monk successfully swam across the Strait of Georgia Saturday.

Monk, who was swimming with North Vancouver’s Rod Craig as he trains to attempt to swim across the English Channel, made the 30-kilometre swim in nine hours and 35 minutes.

When the pair set out from Mission Point in Sechelt early Saturday morning, the conditions were not ideal.

“It was really bumpy and really windy,” Monk said, adding that boats in the area were heading for shelter.

The swimmers, accompanied by a support team in a boat, were not deterred and soldiered on. They were rewarded later with calmer waters and sunshine.

“After maybe 12 to 15 kilometres it really started to calm down,” Monk said.

The task, however, was still a challenge.

The water was cold and the swimmers could not stop for more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time for food and water. Any longer, Monk said, and the cold would set in and the risk of hypothermia increased.

As time wore on, pain and fatigue set in.

“I was going through a lot of physical pain,” Monk said.

They pushed through the pain and cold, motivated by the thought of reaching the beach on the other side.

“I’ve never been so happy to see sand in all my life,” Monk said on the moment he set foot on solid ground at Piper Beach in Nanaimo, nine-and-a-half hours after diving in.

“After my swim, I couldn’t walk, my muscles had completely given up and I was shaking violently because of the cold.”

On Monday, Monk said he was “still pretty tired” but feeling better as his body recovered with lots of sleep.

“I just slept and slept and slept.”

Craig is planning on attempting to swim across the English Channel later this month. The distance is about the same as the route he and Monk swam on the weekend.

Monk said he will continue to swim with Craig as he finishes training, however, he added he isn’t sure he will make his own attempt.

“I don’t know if I want to put myself through that again.”