Teacher swims around island to honour friend
A Bermuda High School teacher has launched a bid to swim around the island in a fundraising tribute to a friend who died from cancer.
Dmitri Haas says he hoped to use the event to raise $6,500 for Open Arms Malawi — a favourite charity of late friend Nick Marriott — and Friends of the Hospice.
Mr Haas said: “Nick passed away from pancreatic cancer five years ago and I wanted to make a gesture in remembrance of him.
“Nick lived in Malawi and he knew the people who ran Open Arms Malawi, and one of the things he and his wife talked about at the end was his care.”
Mr Haas said he has always enjoyed swimming, and took up open-water swimming after he moved to the island six years ago.
He said: “You start doing shorter swims, and then I wound up around the Sound.
“You just start looking at water and asking yourself if you can swim it.”
Mr Haas said the reaction to his plan has been positive, although some people have questioned his sanity.
He said: “A lot of people tell me it’s great, but a bit bonkers. The best thing someone said was that it was a little bit bonkers, but it’s good to be a little bit bonkers.
“I have lived in Bermuda for six years now, and the generosity people have here in Bermuda, the approach to charitable giving, is really something special.”
Mr Haas completed the first two legs of his journey last weekend, swimming around the East End of the island.
He said: “The first stage was Shelly Bay to Alexandria Battery. That was on Saturday, and the weather was good. It took about four hours.
“On Sunday, I went from Alexandria Battery to John Smith’s Bay, which went well for about two hours. I had to deal with some swells, but until the halfway point I was making good time.”
Mr Haas plans to return to the water tomorrow with a swim from John Smith’s Bay to Elbow Beach followed by Elbow Beach to Pompano Beach on Sunday.
He said he planned to complete the final two legs on June 16 and 17, swimming to Dockyard and then back to Shelly Bay.
Mr Haas said: “I think the last part is probably going to be the most difficult because I’m going across the Great Sound. And it’s the longest leg.”
He added the sighting of a hammerhead shark in Shelly Bay at the weekend had not deterred him.
Mr Haas said: “I’m glad it showed up on Sunday rather than Saturday.
“I will take advice on it. The professionals seem to think it’s okay. It will make the last leg more interesting.”