The Irish Times | Escape from Alcatraz – an exhilarating aquatic adventure

To help me decide whether or not Morris and the Anglins could have made it, I signed up with Water World Swim, a local company that runs escorted monthly crossings. It wasn’t an altogether accurate reconstruction: I had the advantage of a wetsuit, weeks of training, a carb-loaded breakfast and a guide who knows how to swim the bay better than anyone.

Pedro Ordenes is the head coach and founder of Water World Swim and has swum from The Rock a remarkable 979 times.

“Alcatraz is a big draw because it’s very challenging, but it can be done,” he says. “Years ago people had the belief that it could not be possible to swim it and there was nobody to learn how the currents work. I started helping people when I moved here 26 years ago and it’s grown into more than I was expecting.”

I met Pedro and his team at half past six in the morning beside their boat in Fisherman’s Wharf, ordinarily an area of San Francisco groaning under the weight of tourists and tourism traders but eerily still in the darkness of an early Saturday morning. Our briefing focused primarily on the swim route. It’s about 1½ miles back into Aquatic Park, the swimmer-safe harbour and beach at the far end of Fisherman’s Wharf, but it’s the cold water and those infamous tides that provide the real challenge.

Continued on irishtimes.com

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