Thursday, 27 June 2019


Another two legs for the Mad KOWS and the HOWS

On the weekend of 23 and 24 March, two Mad KOWS (Kuaotunu Open Water Swimmers) and two HOWS (Hahei Open Water Swimmers) completed a further two legs of their swim from Whangapoua to Coromandel Town to raise money for cancer support in Mercury Bay. The two legs, from Little Bay to Stony Bay, were the third and fourth of the approximately 12 planned legs of the swim.  Legs one and two were completed a few weeks ago.

Swimmers Nicole Cosandey and Dan Asquith from the Mad KOWS, and John Goldsman and Thom Dodd from the HOWS, and kayaker Tony Harrison assembled on the beach at Little Bay for a 7:00am start on Saturday 23 March. They were joined by Philip Morcom, who motorboated up from Cook’s Beach, and Phoebe Asquith, Dan’s daughter, who swam the first 1.5km with them.

Leg three saw the swimmers set off in ideal conditions. The sea was calm with remarkable views of a stunning section of the Coromandel’s east coast.

From Potiki Bay the conditions changed, however, and there was a fairly large swell crashing into the headland at Te Anaputa point. The group had to swim out some distance to avoid being in the danger zone, but could still get close enough to see some of the features of the headland. Most spectacular was a blowhole where the swell crashed in and water and air shot out in a remarkable display.

Unfortunately, when the group made it past Te Anaputa Point, the strong tidal pull meant that no progress have been made after 30 minutes of swimming. After some deliberation, the swimmers were picked up in Philip’s boat and decided to resume the swim again at 6:00am the next morning when the tide conditions were more suitable.

Soon it was time for leg four, but to make up for the distance lost the previous day, the group were dropped off near the blow hole at Te Anapatu Point. Using the still visible full moon for guidance, the swimmers were off to a great start.

The current had reversed as anticipated and staying well out from the rocks, they swam a mainly straight line. The sky took on a blood red hue, with just the right cloud cover to create a spectacular sunrise.

For another 5km or so, the group followed the pristine coastline. When arriving at Port Charles and Sandy Bay, the headland south of Stony Bay was visible, so the swimmers headed straight towards this point approximately another 5km away.

Once the headland was reached, a few extra kilometres were required to reach the cliffs to the north of Stony Bay. The day’s swim was an impressive feat as no one in the group had clocked more than 10km before.

After completing the leg, the group enjoyed dinner and planned their next leg from Stony Bay to Port Jackson.

The weekend was an immensely satisfying achievement for the swimmers. They devised their ambitious plan in December last year. That was followed by several months of hard training and it’s it all now paying off. 

If you would like to support to the cause the group is fundraising for, donations can be made to the “Swim Fundraiser” bank account with BNZ, number 02-0496-0095153-025.

The next leg of the swim is scheduled for Sunday 14 April.

If anyone with a motorboat or a kayak are interested in assisting the swimmers in upcoming legs, please phone Thom at (07) 866 3023.

The group would like to thank Tony Harrison and Philip Morcom for their help over the weekend and also Kuaotunu resident, Mark Lorimer, for the use of his bach along the coast.

Pictured: Dan’s daughter, Phoebe Asquith (second from the left) joined HOWS, John Goldsman (left) and Thom Dodd (right) and Mad KOWS, Dan Asquith (centre) and Nicole Cosandey (second from the right).



Do you support the teachers of New Zealand taking industrial action to achieve better pay and working conditions?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.