Weather puts end to Saanich Inlet swim

An effort to raise awareness of a cultural initiative by swimming in the ocean off Mill Bay on Aug. 5 was defeated by the weather.

An effort to raise awareness of a cultural initiative by swimming in the ocean off Mill Bay on Aug. 5 was defeated by the weather.

To help draw attention to Matamba Cultural Arts and Education Centres on Vancouver Island and in Zimbabwe, noted swimmer and activist Renate Herberger swam five hours in Mill Bay the blustery conditions but she was unable to complete her hoped-for distance.

The event, titled Water Is Life!, saw Herberger bravely begin swimming from Tseycum First Nation to the Malahat Nation but she had to end her swim half way. She was supported by a group from Tseycum First Nation, who accompanied her by boat.

Herberger has now swum over 7,200 km in eight seasons that included a first-ever swim around the island of Cozumel in January 2015, and five swims along the Baja Peninsula from LaPaz to Cabo San Lucas, including several islands, plus many in earlier years. Herberger holds the unofficial world record for consecutive long distance swims in the open ocean.

The Aug. 5 swim was also done in memory of her son, Silvan, a capoeirista artist/athlete who died at the age of 23 in 2012.

In August 2011, with her son as principal kayak support, Herberger swam along Saanich Inlet, from Brentwood Ferry dock to Chalet Beach, a total of 22 km in nine hours.