Rough waters couldn’t slow Lynton Mortensen’s unprecedented attempt to swim around Lord Howe Island but things became interesting when inquisitive Galápagos whaler sharks showed up
I fell into open ocean swimming after an incident in 2012. Not long after my 48th birthday, I ripped my right bicep tendon off the bone mucking around at the beach with my kids. After surgery to reattach the tendon, I started swimming for rehab. Then I met long-distance swimmer Trent Grimsey, who encouraged me to train for ocean swimming. In 2018 I became the first Australian to complete the Oceans Seven, solo swimming across seven channels around the world.
When Covid made overseas swims impossible, I considered Lord Howe Island, not just for a family holiday, but an island to swim around. No one had done it! I also discovered the work of scientist Dr Jennifer Lavers. She leads a small team researching the impact of plastic pollution in the stomachs of Lord Howe’s shearwater birds. Her project gave me extra impetus to do the swim – to raise money for their research.