Jennifer Figge pressed her toes into the Caribbean sand, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land this week for the first time in almost a month [since leaving the Cape Verde Islands off Africa's western coast on Jan. 12 and having battling waves of up to 30 feet along the way].Figge didn't actually see any sharks on her journey, although she did see "a pod of pilot whales, several turtles, dozens of dolphins, [and] plenty of Portuguese man-of-war." She kept with her "a picture of Gertrude Ederle, an American who became the first woman to swim across the English Channel."
Reaching a beach in Trinidad [after inclement weather forced her 1,000 miles of course from her original destination in the Bahamas], she became the first woman on record to swim across the Atlantic Ocean — a dream she'd had since the early 1960s, when a stormy trans-Atlantic flight got her thinking she could don a life vest and swim the rest of the way if needed.
...Figge plans to continue her odyssey, swimming from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands, where she expects to arrive in late February. The crew won't compute the total distance Figge swam until after she completes the journey, Higdon said.
"We have a few things in common," Figge said. "She wore a red hat and she was of German descent. We both talk to the sea, and neither one of us wanted to get out."Cool.
..."I was never scared," Figge said. "Looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I can always swim in a pool."