Who needs a plane or a boat to travel from one Caribbean territory to another when you could simply swim it?
That must have been the question in the head of South African, Cameron Bellamy, last Friday as he stood on the beach in St Peter’s Bay, Barbados, looking west at St Lucia, then wading into the water and swimming the 94 miles beach-to-beach distance from one beautiful island to the other in 56 hours and 36 minutes.
The endurance athlete who performs stunts to raise money for Ubunye Foundation charity projects dipped his toes into Barbados’ water at 8:20 in the morning and reached St. Lucia’s Vieux Fort just before 5 pm Sunday.
The feat is unofficially the longest recorded channel swim between countries, bettering the 77.3 miles done by Chloe McCardel five years ago swimming between the south of Eleuthera Island to Nassau in the Bahamas.
McCardel’s water feat continues to hold the record at the Marathon Swimmers Federation while that organisation formally verifies Bellamy’s swim.
Just last November Bellamy became the first person to complete what was described as a ‘highly complex swim’ around Barbados. His unprecedented swim lasted 41 hours.
Bellamy founded the Ubunye Foundation and Challenge in 2011 to focus primarily on the provision of early childhood education in poor and isolated areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
According to the Foundation, it “has assisted in creating 16 new early childhood development sites in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa. These sites now teach 350 children on a daily basis. Ubunye is currently fundraising to supply these 16 sites with access to the internet to assist with technology and computerized learning”.
“In Zimbabwe, the Ubunye Challenge has constructed classroom blocks at Mapere Primary School, a severely overpopulated school in the disadvantaged area of Concession and is currently funding a very ambitious project to build the first A-level school, Mwenje Secondary School, in the same area. This year Mwenje enrolled 100 students in forms one and two. Ubunye has recently fundraised the amount needed for the construction of the third and fourth form classroom blocks which will enrol students in early 2020.”
Some of the funds raised from Bellamy’s record-breaking swim over the weekend will to Barbados’ Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre, which caters to physically and mentally challenged students.
Another portion of the money will go to the international organisation ‘United Through Sport’ that has operations in St. Lucia “running programmes geared toward mass youth participation in sport. While using sport as a vehicle to tackle the most prevalent of social issues across the country.”