Thursday, July 24, 2014

McCreath's "Swim the Kyle" Report 7/12/14

On July 12, 2014, I joined Libby Earl, daughter of the last captain of the S.S. Kyle, Guy Earl, for the 5th annual "Swim the Kyle" fundraiser, a venture to raise money for a non-profit organization that is looking to salvage this ship that has been beached and abandoned since 1967.

Perhaps one of Newfoundland's best-known boats, the S.S. Kyle is an important part of its history, as it frequently transported doctors to rural towns only accessible by boat, in the early 1900s. Later a passenger transport ship during World War Two, and eventually a sealing vessel, the Kyle drifted into Harbour Grace harbor during a snow storm in 1967, and eventually got lodged into a sand bar. It has since sat there ever since.

The swim from shore to boat and back was only 350 metres, but the water was a freezing 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making it dangerously cold to be in the water for a long period of time.  Libby's experienced team showed up with wet suits, while I swam in my little pink bikini. 

Amazingly, I managed to keep the limbs moving and we all swam out, touched the boat, got pictures taken, then swam back, in a total of 20 minutes.

There was also a festival on the nearby park grounds, including local musicians, vendors selling crafts, local authors promoting their history books, and balloons for the kids.

I am also excited to have become an informal advisor to S.S. Kyle Historical Foundation, the non-profit org attempting to save the ship.  Libby and her husband live in Connecticut, but make the annual trip to Harbour Grace to oversee this event. I hope to return next summer to join them again!


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