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Swim The Hellespont (The Dardanelles)

20 January 2010

Lord ByronLord Byron Swim Festival and Turkish Victory Day Swims

In keeping with my promise to include unique and different travel packages for you, the below trips are certainly both unique and different. Well, you can’t get anything more unique than “open water swimming”. For those of us who can swim, and I really do mean swim, there’s an opportunity to join one of the world’s most successful, qualified and experienced open water swimming companies in a unique occasion.

This is the 200th anniversary of our very own poet, Lord Byron’s swimming of the Hellespont on the 3rd May 1810. (Be honest, how many of you knew that the distinguished poet could swim – let alone be involved in swimming to this level). The Hellespont (aka The Dardanelles) is the 4KM wide stretch of water between Europe and Asia, and the Turkish authorities have agreed to close the straits, which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, for the duration of the event.

It takes place on 3rd May 2010, exactly 200 years to the day, since Lord Byron’s swim. If you can’t make that date, but would still like to do this unique swim, you have one more opportunity to do it. The traditional swim race, which crosses the Hellespont, takes place on the 30th August annually. This commemorates the final victory for the Turks in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922 against the Greeks.

This traditional race has been held for the last 25 years, and draws swimmers from around Turkey and overseas. The swim starts on the European shore and swimmers will head for the town of Canakkale on the Asian side.

At the “once in a lifetime” Byron event there is also a festival exploring Byron’s passion for open water swimming, and at both events there will be a post-race dinner and optional tours to Gallipoli and Troy.

To give you an idea of time, the Hellespont strait is closed for marine traffic ( except for the many safety boats that accompany both swims ) for 1.5hrs, which allows plenty of time for the vast majority of swimmers to get across. Byron completed his crossing in 1hr 10mins, and he swam breast stroke!

The predominant current is from North to South, as water flows from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. The swim crossing takes advantage of the North South current as the swimmers go from Eceabat to Canakkale. The straight line distance from the start in Eceabat to the finish in Canakkale is approximately 3 miles but, with the prevailing current you can estimate that you will be swimming the equivalent of roughly 2 miles.

The Lord Byron Swim Festival

From the 1st – 4th May 2010 and costs from £450 (approx $US730) – Bear in mind travel to and from the start of the tour is not included, but if you’re interested, all the information on how to get there can be provided.

Lord Byron SwimLord Byron Swim 2Lord Byron Swim 3

The Turkish Victory Day Hellespont

From 28th – 31st August 2010 and costs from £399 (approx $US640) – Bear in mind travel to and from the start of the tour is not included, but if you’re interested, all the information on how to get there can be provided.

Turkish Victory Day SwimTurkish Victory Day Swim 2Turkish Victory Day Swim 3

Just drop me a line on my contact page and I’ll put you in touch with the right people for these unique swims.

Don’t leave it late though as the Turkish Victory Day event is hugely popular, so the Lord Byron 200 anniversary swim is already mega-popular, and both swims have restricted entry numbers.

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EUROPE, Sports, Swimming, Turkey