Beat seasickness to swim Foveaux Strait


Fighting off sea-sickness, University of Otago student Hannah Morgan slogged it out yesterday, swimming across Foveaux Strait to raise awareness about mental health.

''I got really, really seasick. And that really just puts you in a green state.

''It was pretty hard and feeling that for at least six of the however-long hours I was in the water ... I'm just chuffed that I could get through it.''

Hannah Morgan cuddles up to her mother, Jane, at the Bluff Ferry Terminal after completing her swim across Foveaux Strait. Photo: Giordano Stolley
Hannah Morgan cuddles up to her mother, Jane, at the Bluff Ferry Terminal after completing her swim across Foveaux Strait. Photo: Giordano Stolley
Despite being seasick, Morgan crossed the strait - nearly 26km at its narrowest point - in 8hr 46min, about 16 minutes off the record set in 2016.

Ms Morgan (20), who is studying for a bachelor of arts in law and politics, said she was not interested in the time, but had decided to swim the strait to raise awareness of mental health because she was concerned at the number of fellow students affected by such issues.

''The amount of people that have rallied behind me is just incredible.

''That's testament to how New Zealand cares about mental health.

''There are people behind you, no matter what, whether you know them or not.''

A small crowd of friends and supporters gathered at Bluff Ferry Terminal to congratulate her.

She set off at 6.40am from Stewart Island and a little under nine hours later came ashore at a beach near Shag Rock.

Her mother, Jane, who was waiting at the terminal, followed her daughter's progress for the last hour aboard an accompanying Coast Guard boat.

She saw her daughter run up the beach at Shag Point and dance.

''I thought she would be crawling.''

Ms Morgan confirmed she had danced because she was ''so happy not to be in the water anymore''.

She was adamant she would not swim the strait again as it was ''something that I have ticked off''.

Ms Morgan said she was overwhelmed by the support, kindness and generosity she received.

''I could never have imagined such an outcome and I am just so, so grateful.''

The Givealittle page set up for the swim showed more than $21,000 had been raised yesterday.

Oreti Lifesaving Club members and her swim coach Lisa Pankhurst travelled alongside her in an inflatable.

John van Leeuwen was the first person to cross the strait in 1963 in a time of 13 hours, 36 minutes.

giordano.stolley@odt.co.nz

Where to get help

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

The Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797

General mental health inquiries: 0800 44 33 66

Healthline: 0800 611 116

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