Mumbai mermaid Aakanksha Mishra conquers Strait of Gibraltar!

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Mumbai, Sep 11 (UNI) Sixteen-year-old Mumbai mermaid Aakanksha Mishra endured shark-infested waters, adverse weather conditions, tides and ocean currents of varying intensities to conquer the Strait of Gibraltar on September 10.

According to reports received here today, Aakanksha is the first Asian woman to successfully swim the Strait of Gibraltar this season. She also is the youngest swimmer in the world to swim the Gibraltar in the season 2008-2009 till date.

''I thoroughly enjoyed the swim. I am overjoyed and relieved. I had enough stamina and was prepared to do the two-way swim. But the weather conditions discouraged us,'' said a delighted Aakanksha from Dover in the UK. ''But it does not end here. Happiness will come after successfully swim the English Channel.'' Aakansha's original plan was to swim the Gibraltar two-way, but poor weather conditions forced her into a one-way swim.

From Spain, Aakanksha has headed back for Dover with her coach Aarti Pradhan to attempt the English Channel swim, which was on hold due to inclement weather conditions.

Ignoring a dark, cloudy weather and sea winds of about 12km/hr, a confident Aakanksha jumped into the icy waters at 1308 hrs IST (0808 hrs Spanish Local Time) on September 10 at Tariffa, Spain.

Braving the tides that rose up to five meters and strong currents of 3.5 to 4 Knots from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, which were hitting her at a right angle and forcing her to drift towards the Atlantic Ocean, she reached Perriebiel Island en route in just one and a half hours.

Further battling fierce currents and not allowing the forces of nature to throw her off her course, she proceeded towards the African coast and touched the Moroccan coast at 1728 hrs IST (1228 hrs Spanish Local Time) to complete the entire swim of about 23 kms in 4 hours and 20 minutes.

Aakanksha was accompanied on the boat by coach Pradhan and a Red Cross representative. The route was navigated by the experienced Spanish Pilot, Antonio Montell.

During the course of her swim, Aakanksha was flanked by Dolphins.

Aakanksha has been in the United Kingdom with her coach since June, practicing vigorously for the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar swim.

Earlier, on August 5, inclement weather held up Aakanksha's 'double' of swimming the English Channel and The Strait of Gibraltar.

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