Molokai Channel

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Kimberly Chambers being congratulated by Linda Kaiser and Joseph Locke after a 19 hour Molokai Channel crossing
Kayaker and swimmer in the Moloka'i Channel
noun - The Moloka'i Channel (also known as the Kaiwi Channel, meaning the Channel of Bones) is a waterway between the islands of O'ahu and Moloka'i 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). Laau Point is the traditional starting point of swimmers who attempt to swim from Molokai Island to Oahu.

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, part of the Eight Seas, has a lot to challenge the marathon swimmer and is part of the Oceans Seven. Swims in the channel are governed by the Hawaiian Channel Swim Association. It is also site of the Kaiwi Channel Swim, the first relay competition across the Ka'iwi Channel, held on 24 August 2013 from Kepuhi Beach on Molokai to Sandy Beach on Oahu.


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 (46), finished at China Walls in Maunalua Bay
23. 2012 - Adam Walker, finished near Diamond Head volcano
24. 2012 - Michael Ventre, finished at China Walls in Maunalua Bay
25. 2012 - Kathleen Wilson
26. 2012 - Oliver Wilkinson
27. 2012 - Kim Chambers, finished at China Walls in Maunalua Bay
28. 2012 - Beth French (35)
29. 2013 - Leahi Camacho (17)

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.

Channels in the Hawaiian Islands

There are 9 main channels in the Hawaiian Islands that individuals attempt to swim: Auau Channel (or the Maui Channel), Kalohi Channel, Alalakeiki Channel, Pailolo Channel, Alenuihaha Channel, Kaulakahi Channel, Kealaikahiki Channel, Kaiwi Channel (or Moloka'i Channel) and the Kaieiewaho Channel.

Oceans Seven

The Oceans Seven consists of the following 7 waterways around the world first proposed in June 2008 by Steven Munatones and first achieved by Stephen Redmond of Ireland in July 2012:

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


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