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San Miguel Island

Quick Facts

Current through end of 2012.


This swim has been done only once (by Penny Palfrey in 2008), so there's not much data to draw from. Swims in the vicinity of San Miguel Island should be expected to contend with the most challenging conditions of any swim in the Channel Islands region, due to its location at the far northern edge of the Santa Barbara Channel and proximity to Point Conception. In other words: coldest, windiest, choppiest, and most unpredictable currents.


The shortest route is from Harris Point on San Miguel Island to Point Conception on the mainland (25.8 statute miles). However, this may not be the most efficient route for a swimmer, due to the prevailing east-to-west winds and currents funneled around Point Conception.

A better option may be to aim for the coast along Hollister Ranch (generally, the coast between Point Conception and Gaviota). The distance is longer (27+ statute miles), but probably more realistic given the winds and currents. This was the route taken by the only successful San Miguel swimmer, Penny Palfrey.

Swim Reports