A 17-year-old girl from Kona became the 15th person, and the youngest ever, to successfully swim across the Kaiwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu.
Leahi Camacho completed the grueling 26-mile swim on Sunday, landing at Sandy Beach around 12:30 p.m. after setting off from La’au Point at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The swim is considered one of the top seven open ocean swims in the world. Many long distance swimmers attempt to cross the channel as part of their goal of completing all seven of the “Oceans Seven.” About half the swimmers who attempt it fail.
Chris Palfrey set the record of 12 hours, 53 minutes, 15 seconds for crossing the Kaiwi Channel in April of 2010. in September of 2009 Mackenzie Miller of Kailua set the record as the youngest person ever to swim across the Kaiwi Channel at 18 years old.
The last successful swim crossing of the Kaiwi Channel occurred in November of 2012 by New Zealand native Kimberley Chambers who wrote a story about her accomplishment for The Molokai News.
Crossing the channel is no cheap endeavor. The Molokai Dispatch reported that the cost of the trip was about $7,440, including an escort boat and kayaks, flights between Molokai, Oahu and her hometown of Kona, food, lodging, and a shark shield.
According to her Facebook page, Leahi Camacho is a student at Kealakehe High School. She has been chronicling her training online at takingonthebigblue.blogspot.com.