By Steven Munatones
LOS ANGELES, California, January 28. RACHEL Golub, Cristian Vergara, Scott Lautman and Mark Lautman completed a rare crossing of the 2.4-mile Strait of Magellan on Jan. 21 in low 40°F water (4°C).
The Strait of Magellan is the most important natural passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, and lies south of mainland Chile and north of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. The strait is a very difficult route to cross because of the inhospitable climate and extremely cold water.
The four started together and encountered an armada of Magellanes dolphins and penguins en route. Scott Lautman finished first in 1 hour 18 minutes followed by his brother Mark in 1 hour 38 minutes. Vergara was next in 1 hour 50 minutes. Golub finished in 1 hour 53 minutes after being tossed about in a whirlpool.
Golub, Vergara and Scott Lautman braved the cold sea without wetsuits.
Golub said, "Our swim was more than successful. It was positively magical, beginning with calm [waters], then sandwiched between severe storms and ending in a tranquil sea with dolphins accompanying the boats to shore."
The Strait of Magellan is known for rare meteorological phenomena called the williwaw. The williwaw is a sudden violent blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea, often causing the seas to be whipped into a wild frenzy.
Cristian (50) is a Chilean-American accountant from the AGUA Masters who also runs the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers. Rachel (32) is a New-York based musician and writer and another AGUA Masters swimmer. Mark (59) is Chair of the Economic Development Commission of New Mexico and coach of 1972 Olympic gold medalist Cathy Carr. Scott (55) is a Human Resources Manager for Alaska Airlines in Seattle.