Different strokes

PETER GIBBS
Last updated 09:16 18/02/2013
Sea swim
JAMIE HARNETT, DIANA PARR, NEIL TAYLOR, PAULINE THOMAS

NOT FAR TO GO: A swimmer passes the lighthouse.

sea swim
JAMIE HARNETT, DIANA PARR, NEIL TAYLOR, PAULINE THOMAS
ADVENTURE SWIMMING: One of the old baches along the Boulder Bank, above and swimmers bask in the warm water at the southern end of the Boulder Bank, below.

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Sparked by the growth of sea swimming in Nelson, a group of more than 20 recently took on a 5km challenge that could be described as "adventure swimming".

It was the brainchild of Sports Nelson-Tasman Trust founder Michele Surcouf, who regularly swims circuits of Haulashore Island with other sea swim fans.

She mused on how much fun it was to swim out through The Cut with the tide assisting.

That led to some personal research involving a boat ride north on the inside of the Boulder Bank, then setting out to swim back with the tide.

Surcouf floated the notion with other swimmers, rented the catamaran Jamarh, found more sponsors and some lunch for all and the adventure was on.

It wasn't to be a race, but a sea experience, with time to watch the Boulder Bank slip by and be at one with the water, although there may have been just a touch of competitiveness as the end point came into view.

A small flotilla comprising the Jamarh, a support boat provided by Aquaflow Pools and a collection of support kayaks made their way up the harbour to the swim start point.

With a 2.2 knot tide flowing, it didn't take much more than an hour before the first swimmer, Kerry Matheson arrived at the finish and the rest arrived within the next 20 minutes.

Each swimmer made a donation to the trust and all the sponsors' contributions also went to swell trust funds, raising $1600 for the next round of funding.

The Sports Nelson-Tasman Trust allocates $15,000, plus donations received, every six months. The aim is to enable people or organisations to take part in sport, where financial or other considerations may make this difficult.

Applications for the next round of funding are due by March 1. Details at sportsnelsontasmantrust.co.nz.

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