Abhejali completes the 'Oceans Seven' swimming challenge
Recently, Abhejali Bernardova, a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre from Zlin in the Czech Republic, successfully swam across the Cook Strait of New Zealand to become only the 10th swimmer and 4th woman to complete the global Oceans Seven challenge.
The Oceans Seven Challenge was founded in 2008, creating the challenge of swimming seven major crossings of open water around the world.
The swim crossings include The English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel in California, Tsugaru Channel (Japan), the Irish Channel between Ireland and Scotland, Molokai (Kaiwi) Channel in Hawaii and the Cook Strait. The swims have to be completed under traditional English Channel rules (unassisted and no neoprene suit)
With the support of fellow members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Abhejali successfully completed her seventh and final challenge between the two major islands of New Zealand.
Abhejali's swim occurred in the aftermath of cyclone Gita hitting New Zealand just a few days before. During the swim, she had to overcome seasickness, jellyfish, strong currents, cold water and many other challenges to finish the 22km distance (as the crow flies) in a time of 13 hours, 9 minutes and 48 seconds. However, Abhejali remarked on how the tides were so strong, that she spent time swimming but effectively going backwards.
"Maybe for about three hours, or a little longer I basically swam but still actually the current was taking us back, the direction to Wellington and then there were big swells and I was seasick for the first five hours and then a little bit more." (Radio NZ)
Asked how she felt after finishing the epic swim, Abhejali remarked: "Grateful and happy."