The Bering Strait saw more than its typical sea-faring traffic yesterday.
Moroccan swimmer Hassan Baraka braved the icy waters between the international dateline and Little Diomede in an attempt to swim between Asia and North America.
The crossing was part of Baraka’s long-term goal to traverse water between five continents. He said the project is meant to promote awareness of the marine environment, and originated with a swim between Europe and Africa.
“Two years ago, I chose to do something different. To swim from the country where I was living and studying, Spain, to Morocco where I was born. So I spent one year preparing,” said Baraka. “And when I have done it, I say: That is one step of a beautiful project to link all the world together.”
In addition to that first swim from Spain to Morocco, Baraka made the crossing from Asia to Europe—by way of Turkey—last month. But he said swimming across the Bering Strait posed some unique challenges.
“This experience was the most extreme because of the cold and also of the longest trip to arrive here from Morocco,” said Baraka.
That journey took a total of two days—not including the eight-hour boat ride from Little Diomede to the dateline itself.
Originally, Baraka hoped to swim from Russia’s Big Diomede to Little Diomede in the United States—but a visa issue prevented his arrival on the Russian island.
Still, the swimmer said, he couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
“We are glad to be here and to swim from the dateline because we swam from tomorrow to today, and that is also awesome,” said Baraka.
Baraka now plans to return home to rest up in preparation for the final two legs of his journey. He intends to swim between Asia and Oceania next month, and between Asia and Africa later this fall.