After Reaching 7 Oceans, Cameron Bellamy To Swim Unprecedented 90K Around Barbados

Photo Contributed: Joseph Prezioso

South African Cameron Bellamy has completed the Oceans Seven!  The final chapter was closed when Bellamy made it across the Tsuagru Strait of Japan in 11 hours and 7 minutes and 28 seconds on June 21, 2018.  Next up for this world-class endurance athlete who already has enviable accomplishments in cycling and ocean rowing under his belt?  A 90K swim around the island of Barbados. A feat that, to date, has never been accomplished.

Bellamy’s success of swimming the Tsugaru Strait on his second attempt means he has become only the 11th person and the first African to complete this challenge of seven open water channel swims around the world. The Tsugaru Strait is a channel between Honshu, the main island of Japan, and Hokkaido in northern Japan connecting the Sea of Japan with the Indian Ocean.  According to Tsugaruchannelswimming.com winds, turbulence and waves can be very high in this area along with marine life and a variety of sharks including Great Whites. Bellamy’s first attempt at Tsugaru was October 2017, but this was foiled by strong currents and very cold water.  This time, earlier in the year, water temperatures were a bit warmer (14-17 degrees Celsius).

Bellamy now joins a small and elite group of only ten others who have conquered Oceans Seven. They are: Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden), Michelle Macy (United States), Darren Miller (United States), Adam Walker (United Kingdom), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), Ion Lazarenco-Tiron (Republic of Moldova), Rohan More (India) and Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic).

Steven Munatones, a coach and marathon swimming guru, devised the Ocean’s Seven  for marathon swimmers back in 2008. Munatones chose them for their geographic and climatic diversity, extreme hardships and the intricate planning needed to succeed. He considers it Open water swimming’s version of the Seven Summits. The Oceans Seven include (1) the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, (2) the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, (3) the Moloka’i Channel between O’ahu and Moloka’i Islands in Hawaii, (4) the English Channel between England and France, (5) the Catalina Channel in Southern California, (6) the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan, and (7) the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa.

With the Oceans Seven adventure over, Bellamy will turn his attention to the longest swim of his life, around the island of Barbados (#SwimAroundBarbados).  His early estimate is for a 36 to 40 hour timeline to complete the swim. While the south-west and west coasts of Barbados offer ideal swimming conditions the south east, east and north coasts face the Atlantic and the rugged coastline is often pummelled by waves and strong unpredictable undercurrents are known to exist. The swim is planned for August 2018.

Cameron Bellamy, goes to the extreme to support early childhood education efforts in the most underdeveloped rural areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe. He is the founder of the charity known as the Ubunye Challenge. Read more about his charity and the incredible work already completed at ubunyechallenge.com.

Cameron Bellamy’s first six Ocean 7 crossings:
The Cook Strait
Description: A swim between the South and North Islands of New Zealand, known for its cold water and volatile weather. 15% of attempts encounter sharks.  Date: 11 March 2018.  Distance: 32km  Duration:12 hours 43 minutes

The Molokai Channel
Description: A swim between the islands of Molokai and Oahu in Hawaii. Known for its big seas, long distance, and myriad species of poisonous jelly fish.  Date: 15 February 2017.  Distance: 46 km Duration:17 hours 6 minutes

The North Channel
Description: A swim between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Known for being the hardest of the Oceans 7 swims.
​It is frigidly cold, with temperatures of 10 –12 degrees C. Most attempts encounter swarms of deadly jellyfish.
Date: 14 July 2016.  Distance:  35km  Duration: 12 hours 13 minutes

The Catalina Channel
Description: A swim between Catalina Island and Los Angeles, known for its strong currents and marine life.
Date: 7 November 2015.  Distance: 35km Duration: 11 hours 52 minutes

The Strait of Gibraltar
Description: An iconic swim between Europe (Tarifa, Spain) and Africa (somewhere on the Moroccan coast)
Date: 8 April 2015  Distance: 20km  Duration: 4 hours 1minute

The English Channel
Description: Between England and France. The swim is known for its cold water and variable conditions.
Date: 5 July 2012   Distance: 35km   Duration: 16 hours 29 minutes

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Barbados Open Water Festival. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Author: Daniel D'Addona

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Dan D'Addona is the lead college swim writer for Swimming World. He has covered swimming at all levels since 2003, including the NCAA championships, USA nationals, Duel in the Pool and Olympic trials. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a graduate of Central Michigan University. He currently lives in Holland, Michigan, where he also is the Sports Editor at The Holland Sentinel.

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