Ilio Point on the western edge of Maui is the traditional starting point of a Molokai-to-Oahu channel swim in the Moloka'i Channel (also known as the Kaiwi Channel) that separates the islands of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi in the State of Hawaii. The nearly always rough channel is 42 kilometers (26 miles wide) with an abundance of marine life including sharks, jellyfish, whales, turtles and dolphins. Its maximum depth is 2300 feet (701 meters).
There are annual paddle boarding and outrigger canoe paddling contests which traverse this channel and it is considered one of the most difficult swimming channels in the world.
The Molokai Channel has a lot to challenge the marathon swimmer and is part of the Oceans Seven.
Molokai Channel Swimmer List
The individuals who has successfully swum across the Molokai Channel include these Molokai Channel Swimmers:
1. 1961 - Keo Nakama (age 40), finished in Hanauma Bay
2. 1967 - Harry Huffaker (27)
3. 1972 - Harry Huffaker (32) from Oahu to Molokai
4. 1974 - Jonathan Ezer (18)
5. 1979 - Michael Miller (25)
6. 1979 - Ian Emberson (28)
7. 1994 - Robin Isayama (26) first female
8. 2006 - Forrest Nelson (40) from Oahu to Molokai
9. 2006 - Forrest Nelson (41)
10. 2006 - Bill Goding (53)
11. 2007 - Mike Spalding (60), finished in Hanauma Bay
12. 2007 - Kelly Gleason (32), finished in Hanauma Bay
13. 2007 - Linda Kaiser (57)
14. 2009 - Mackenzie Miller (19)
15. 2010 - Chris Palfrey (52)
16. 2011 - Penny Palfrey (49)
17. 2011 - Darren Miller (28)
18. 2011 - Michelle Macy
19. 2011 - Anna-Carin Nordin
20. 2011 - Samantha Simon
21. 2011 - Penny Palfrey (49)
22. 2012 - Stephen Redmond, finished at China Walls in Maunalua Bay
Note: William K. (Opelu) Pai (Bill Pai) reportedly completed the first Molokai Channel crossing in 1939 when he rowed out to sea off the island of Molokai and swam to Oahu. This is an uncertified crossing by the Hawaiian Channel Swim Association.
According to the book Hawai’I Sports: History, Facts and Statistics, the Hawaiian fisherman started his swim at Ilio Point and finished at the Blowhole near Sandy Beach on Oahu in 18 hours and 56 minutes. However, he was rowed 50 yards from shore to start his swim off Molokai. Because the Hawaiian Channel Swim Association rules require that swimmers must complete certified swims from shore to shore, Keo Nakama is recognized as the first official swimmer across the Molokai Channel in 1961.
The Oceans Seven consists of the following waterways around the world:
1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and then Southern California mainland
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa