Even as public opinion remained split between support and cynicism over Tobago House of Assembly (THA) minority leader, Watson Duke’s, swim from Tobago to Trinidad to highlight inter-island transport woes, an expert says the feat is physically impossible, barring an unforeseen and major change in local sea conditions.
At a recent news briefing in Tobago, Duke vowed to swim between the two islands starting Monday at 8 am, he later elaborating that he would undertake this feat in a relay with fellow THA minority member Farley Agustine.
Duke has begun to hype up the event by posting on his Facebook page a picture of him clad in a wetsuit, and a video of him and Farley in a practice swim with the musical backing of a Mavado-styled singer extolling his ambitions.
However open water swim veteran, Gordon Borde, in a CNMG News interview with Kent Fuentes, cautioned Duke over the reality of sea conditions, based on his own unsuccessful attempt at a similar feat in 2013 from Crown Point to Toco.
“It would take us 12 hours to reach Toco Point, we had estimated. We had to go across the shallows and experience the currents and so on,” Borde related.
“But the currents were so strong that they were pulled us ‘down’, like we were going to Venezuela. So after a period of 14 hours, and we did 25 miles, we abandoned the swim.”
He said Duke’s swim from Scarborough would be even tougher than from his own swim from Crown Point.
“Let’s say he does get to a certain distance off of Tobago, he’s going to encounter the easterly currents. So he’s going to go through the same thing we went through. Unless those currents stop completely, which is unlikely because that’s how it runs all the time, I don’t think it’s possible to swim across.
“The distance is not the important thing. It’s the currents.”
Borde said that only in the unlikely event of perfect conditions on a particular day, then an experienced open-water swimmer would have a chance to complete the course. “It may be possible with a very, very good open-water swimmer, a long-distance swimmer.”
“I’ll tell him (Duke) if he wants to make it across, perhaps go across in a boat.
“But to swim it, I don’t think Mr Duke can make it.”