Carina has been on standby for this extreme ultra-distance swim since Tuesday 2 March and is hoping to attempt a crossing on Friday 12 March, when the weather forecast promises a small window of opportunity. She is a veteran open water swimmer with many important crossings under her belt, including the English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, False Bay and Nelson Mandela Bay. If successful, Carina will be the first person to complete the ultra-distance swim from Hermanus to Gansbaai, a challenge that she has had her sights on for many years. “Walker Bay has been at the back of my mind for years”, says Bruwer. “It is such a beautiful and geographically interesting bay, which is still unchartered from an open-water-swimming point of view.”
Apart from the gruelling distance, Bruwer may need to contend with variable water temperatures, currents and choppy waters, together with the mental challenge of swimming in a bay that is well-known for its large wildlife. “I don’t expect this to be an easy swim. Training conditions have not been ideal – with all the beach and pool closures over the past few months. There have been no earning opportunities within the performing arts, the industry I’ve loved working in for the past 20 years. It has truly been a case of sink or swim”, says Carina, who has performed across the world with SAMA Award-winning instrumental group Sterling EQ as well as other musical acts.
Carina has raised close to R700 000 plus more than R2 million in media value for various charities through her swims in the past few years. She has now partnered with the Tribuo Fund
to support members of the performing arts industry who are in dire straits due to the pandemic. “While it has been extremely difficult for me to reinvent myself and find a way of providing for my family during these times, I am painfully aware of the many artists and crew members who rely solely on live performances and have been unable to find alternative sources of income. Our industry is decimated, with very little hope of resurrection even when restrictions are lifted, and there has been little or no governmental support for artists during this time. Performers who used to be adored and idolised, and the crew who helped facilitate thousands of memorable experiences for all, are now having to sell their possessions to afford basic needs,” says Carina.
In a recent Instagram post, Carina wrote: “When artists are unable to perform their craft, it is not only their livelihood that is affected – it is also their sense of purpose and their vehicle of expression. In most cases their art is their main language and very often it is their whole universe. It is not possible to separate emotion from art, as the very nature of it is spiritual.” She says: “This struggle is exactly what inspired me to embark on this challenge. I need to feel I’m doing something to help, and I want artists who are in a very dark place to know that someone sees them, someone feels their pain.”
This sentiment is echoed by the Tribuo Fund. “Artists were one of the groups instantly affected by lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions,” says Tribuo founding member and CEO of NATi, Cornelia Faasen. “Artists seldom have safety nets of savings, insurance or pensions. They work from one production or event to the next. For many of them, the major arts festivals are their primary and most consistent source of income. The performing arts industry finds itself in devastatingly distressed times. Our artists need a helping hand to keep their heads above water. Therefore, our partnership with Carina makes perfect sense.”
Carina and her support team from Walker Bay Adventures and Blade Charters have been monitoring the weather and waiting for since favourable conditions since 2 March. She will need relatively flat seas, mild or no wind, and a water temperature of at least 18 degrees. She will be supported by a team of volunteers, and her support boat will be equipped with a shark shield. The crew will also be responsible for spotting sharks throughout Carina’s swim, which is expected to take anything between 5 and 8 hours, depending on currents and other sea conditions. She plans to start in the Old Harbour in Hermanus and finish in Gansbaai Harbour, but these details may change depending on conditions.
The attempt will be livestreamed via Youtube and Carina Bruwer’s Facebook page, and sponsorships and donations will be administered by the Tribuo Fund. Corporate sponsors can contact Nita Cronjé at email@example.com
The Tribuo Fund was founded in collaboration with Karen Meiring (kykNET), Cornelia Faasen (NATi) and the Feesteforum (Aardklop, KKNK, Innibos, Suidoosterfees, Vrystaatfees and the Toyota US Woordfees) to support freelance artists. The fund is dependent on contributions by supporters who would like to help the arts during this difficult time. Contributions can be made by private persons, corporate institutions or philanthropic donors. 18A tax certificates will be issued on request. Contributions can be made anonymously, or contributors can be acknowledged as a donor to the fund.
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Contact: Nita Cronjé
Tel: 082 577 0102