“ On Monday, June 17, 2024, my long-awaited dream of swimming the Straits of Gibraltar finally came true, after a seven-year wait. Just after my 60th birthday, I received the thrilling news from Laura Gutiérrez Díaz, President and Coordinator of the ACNEG, that the conditions were right for my swim.
For 21 days, no one had swum the Straits due to bad weather, so I felt incredibly lucky. I flew to Tarifa, Spain, on June 8 with my friend and support team member, Frances Lynch. Despite a grim weather forecast, our window was from June 10 to 19, and Laura explained that swims were strictly weather-dependent. High winds or fog could cancel the opportunity.
Fortunately, a weather window opened on June 17, turning my seven-year dream into reality. Though I initially planned a solo swim, I shared the slot with Javier Vázquez Díaz-Mayordomo, a 46-year-old Spaniard from Madrid. Swimming with Javier was a special experience, providing comfort and companionship. We both wore wetsuits and swam at a pace of 3.2 km per hour.
We began our swim at 7:30 am from Tarifa Island, Spain, and landed in Morocco after 4 hours and 43 minutes, covering 15.1 kilometers. The route required touching the rockface on both sides, with the distance varying due to strong currents. The deep blue water was warm at 20 degrees Celsius, and I felt energized and relaxed, mesmerized by my strokes and the powerful currents.
The ACNEG team provided professional and safety-conscious support, guiding us with the boat ‘Columba’ and the zodiac ‘Duende del Mar.’ These boats carried our supplies and ensured we stayed on course. The skipper verified our swim with a crossing sheet, certifying our timing and positions.
This successful swim was a team effort, made possible by the commitment of the ACNEG team and the support of my family and friends. I’m deeply grateful to everyone involved and to the Straits of Gibraltar for allowing me this incredible experience.” … Mags