Steven Minaglia’s 3-day 3-channel swim in Hawaii, which represents the third stage of the Triple Crown of Stage Swims, is the real deal but it is not for the faint-of-heart. SCAR is cold and 8 Bridges is long, but the Maui Nui Swim is pretty tough as well. To say it is beautiful is an understatement, but I will leave that to the word smiths. For this old guy it was three surprisingly tough swims. The distances are not intimidating, 9.3 miles, 8.8 miles and 8.5miles, but the conditions are. The first day was Moloka’i to Lanai. The sea was rough and choppy the whole way and a couple of the swimmers were able to body surf in the crystal-clear water but for me who came from Central Texas and had never learned to bodysurf, I was struggling. Had it not been for Steven swimming at my side the entire way I wouldn’t have much of a story to tell. Steven makes every effort to get all his swimmers across. Moloka’i and Lanai have a population of a little over 7,000 and 3,000 respectfully but the areas where we started and finished on day one were completely uninhabited so it was almost like swimming in a time when dinosaurs ruled the land.
The second day I woke up sunburned. Not only was I sore but every area of my body was so sunburned it was very painful for my wife, Tina, to put any sunscreen on me. Day 2 was Maui to Lanai. The start was flat with no hint of any whitecaps or rough water. At the start we had to manage swimming among surfers. I just knew one of the surfers would hit me, but we all made it to the deep water unscathed. Then the swells started coming in. Not so much chop as it was big swells. We inadvertently broke up into two groups mainly because I was unable to swim in a straight line. After fighting the swells for a couple of hours I realized I had lost sight of all the swimmers and even lost sight of the escort boat. Once I stopped and looked around, I realized I was completely alone. I told myself it’s okay, don’t panic, I can make it, and then I heard Steven’s voice. He had stayed behind with me. I had lost sight of him, but he had his eyes on me the whole time swimming in my blind spot. Steven said the others were about a mile ahead of us and he told the skipper of the Pualele to go up and tell them to wait for us. That sounds simple but one of the women from Honolulu, who was just doing the Maui to Lanai swim, was getting cold. I was almost nauseous from the heat, and I couldn’t believe anyone was cold in 79-degree water but I guess everyone is different. At about midchannel we all were together again and after a feed I started out at what I thought was a pretty good pace until I heard someone shouting at me and saying I’m going to the wrong island. I had mistaken Moloka’i for Lanai. On shore Edie Markovich high fived me and said “oldest, youngest.” Then I saw the woman from Honolulu sitting on a piece of driftwood shivering uncontrollably. We quickly swam back to the escort boat and that is how day 2 ended. Day 3 was flat and uneventful except we all sang happy birthday to Edie who turned 16 on August 29, the day we swam for Maui to Moloka’i. That moment I will treasure forever.
I’m in my fifth decade of long-distance swimming and Steven Minaglia’s ‘Au I Na Mokupuni ‘Ekolu Maui Nui Swim is probably the most satisfying swimming event I have done to date. Steven is 100% committed to getting everyone across safely, the cost of the event is very reasonable, the experienced crew of the Pualele know the 3 channels as well as anyone, and yes, it is truly paradise. Jamie T
Maui Nui is a magical swim in a magical place. It’s everything you could ask for in a swim adventure. You’ve got warm clear water, a well organized and supported swim, and three challenging but not overwhelming days of swimming. It’s a swim not a race so if you’re trying to set a record you’re in the wrong place. If you’re looking for an awesome experience with a great group then you can’t do better than Maui Nui. Joe Z.
What can I say? Steve Minaglia and the expert Captain and crew of the Pualele offer a world class 3-day open water swim. It is set in an Island Paradise and begins with a genuine respect for the Hawaiian culture, is instilled with a passion for open water swimming and guided by a lifetime knowledge of the Hawaiian waters. This is an adventure worthy of its great name… Maui Nui.
I was lucky enough to share it with some of my best friends. We experienced conditions ranging from flat water to 8ft swell and white caps; Portuguese man-o-war and an ever-present assortment of jellies; big fish and little fish; currents that pushed you this way and that; and a sun that wouldn’t quit. Steve was in his element. Amy and Abby seemed bullet proof. Sarah was hammered by a Man-O-War on day one, but never slowed down. I hit the wall on day two with back problems and overheating… if it weren’t for the support of my friends… I’m not sure I would have made it. But I broke through the wall and on day 3, we all crushed it. This swim tests your teamwork, resolve and character. It may be set in paradise, but it is the real deal!!!
Who wouldn’t love that?
As a good friend of mine said, “It’s the stupidest fun ever!” Kirk Mc. ~ AKA Mongo
Mongo and the Mermaids ~ Maui Nui 2022
Swimming the 3 channels was one of the highlights of my life. When Steve invited me to join him I didn't know if I could do it but when presented with a wonderful opportunity such as this I said, "yes" and just figured it out later! It was definitely a challenging swim as Mother Nature threw us some wind, waves and strong currents. We managed to muscle our way through it all and just grind it out. I felt very safe as I was under Steve’s (and the crew’s) watchful eye. Swimming from island to island each day and ultimately completing the third and final day is a memory that I will never forget. Thank you again for the opportunity to make and be a part of this amazing experience. Paul T.