In line with our promise to offer the unique and different, as well as the high end luxury travel packages – there’s little that excites the imagination more than Alcatraz, or as it’s known – “The Rock”. The very name conjures up visions of sharks, frigid waters, Al Capone, and the barren, fog enshrouded “rock”. It closed as a federal prison in 1963, and is now a desolate outpost just 1.5 miles off San Francisco’s Presidio Park. The many films and stories surrounding Alcatraz tell us that few, if none at all, escaped “the rock” – and those that tried were never seen again.
So, Alcatraz, the stuff of legends, can be beaten, and has been, by hundreds of open water swimmers every year. It is one of the most exhilarating swims that you could ever envisage, and during the swim the views are stupendous. As you swim from Alcatraz Island you see to your left the dramatic Oakland Hills, to the right of you is the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, and right in front of you is the majestic skyline of San Francisco.
Where the inmates of the Al Capone era were faced with gun-toting guards, the inky blackness of the night, and the unknown of plunging into tidal waters they didn’t know or understand, you will have the opposite to assist you. My friends at one of the world’s best “open water swimming” companies have seen to that, and can arrange things for you.
You can swim the crossing throughout the year in daylight, with the water temperature reaching a maximum of 16°C (61°F) in the summer. You will be escorted across by a guy who has over 500 crossings to his name already, and have an escort boat with you whilst you make your iconic swim.
These escorted swims are designed for anything between 1 – 4 swimmers, so you can attempt the “escape” yourself, or share the experience with friends.
The whole trip takes 2 – 3 hours including the swim. The swim distance is about 2KM (1.25 miles), and your accompanying guide will brief you on the currants that you can expect on your swim, landmarks that you need to look out for , and any safety issues that you need to be aware of. You will then be taken by boat to Alcatraz from where you will begin your swim!
If possible, 2 months notice is required to book your place, as the relevant permits are required to be lodged with the coastguard before your swim. If you know what dates you would like to complete the swim, my friends will select the best day and time, depending on the tides, to attempt your swim.
Just think about it. It’s the ultimate conversation topic – you “escaped” from Alcatraz when Al Capone and the USA’s most dangerous criminals couldn’t!
The cost is from £260 (around $US450), which is based on you getting to the arranged starting point in San Francisco, to meet your guide, and the boat to take you to the start of your swim.
Drop me a line on my contact page and Ill put you in touch with the guys who can help you get organised.