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Crossing the Maelstrom

Corryvreckan Swim, 9th August 2017

Fabienne Thompson, Jenny Waring, Andrea Gellan and Paul Freeman will attempt to swim across the Gulf during slack tide when the whirlpool is dormant, finishing under the imposing 400-foot cliffs of Scarba.

One of the UK’s most iconic open water swims across the fabled Corryvreckan, the third biggest whirlpool in the world.

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The Gulf of Corryvreckan  is a narrow strait between the islands of Jura and Scarba, in Argyll and Bute, off the west coast of mainland Scotland.
The Corryvreckan is the third largest whirlpool in the world, and is on the northern side of the gulf. 

Strong Atlantic currents and unusual underwater topography conspire to produce a particularly intense tidal race in the Corryvreckan channel. As the flood tide enters the narrow area between the two islands it speeds up to 8.5 knots (≈16 km/h,≈10 mph) and meets a variety of seabed features including a deep hole and a rising pinnacle.

These features combine to create whirlpools, standing waves and a variety of other surface effects.  Flood tides and inflow from the Firth of Lorne to the west can drive the waters of Corryvreckan to waves of more than 30 feet (9 m), and the roar of the resulting maelstrom can be heard ten miles (16 km) away.

At slack tide, there is a limited period of time in which it is possible to swim across the Gulf from Jura to Scarba, before the tidal race begins.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U5SKPVPIZ3I