A Frenchman poised to make history by swimming from Arctic Alaska to Russia across the Bering Strait, despite having no arms or legs, on Monday had to postpone due to wild weather.
Philippe Croizon tweeted that a storm arrived sooner than expected, delaying the swim at least until dawn, Tuesday. Mica Bevington, a spokesperson for Handicapped International, a charity supported by the limbless swimmer, said Croizon's swim could proceed as planned within hours.
The Bering Strait will mark the fourth trans-continental float for the 44-year-old Croizon. At two and a half miles he may face a shorter distance than some of his other swims. But with an average summer temperature around 40 degrees, late Bering Sea ice and unpredictable Arctic weather, the swim is by no means easy.
Croizon lost his limbs in 1994, electrocuted while trying to fix a television antenna on his roof. During his long rehabilitation, he watched a woman swim across the English Channel; Croizon decided that he'd attempt the feat, too, despite his new disabilities. In September 2010 Croizon completed the 21-mile crossing, wearing custom-designed flippers that attach to the remainder of his legs.
English Channel down, he decided to swim four channels separating five continents. The Bering Strait, separating Asia from North America, is his final crossing.
Little Diomede forecast: 'Crappy'
Gabriel Ozenna lives on Little Diomede, a tiny island community 135 northwest of Nome and 16 miles off the Arctic Alaska coast. Ozenna told Alaska Dispatch that Monday's weather was "crappy" -- gray skies, temperatures in the 40s, wind, rain and ocean swells a couple of feet high. Ozenna wasn't sure when the weather would clear up, but he said it could be a couple of days.
Contact Suzanna Caldwell at suzanna(at)alaskadispatch.com