April 04th, 2023
Time and tide wait for no man: the story of Jeff Reid and his Cook Strait crossing
BY 9.30pm the black sea and night sky are one. The ocean kicks up around the swimmer. He can’t see his hands pulling through the water. Vast and silent forces swirl around and just 800 metres beyond him lies New Zealand's North Island. He left the South Island over 11 hours ago and the weather is getting nasty . . .
It is Friday May 6, 2022. Autumn in New Zealand. The night-time swimmer is 50-year-old Jeff Reid and he’s trying to cross the treacherous Cook Strait. Incredibly, Reid has already swum this challenging passage back when he was just 14. Today, the father of two, aims to earn the record for the longest period of time between two crossings.
“I want to see if I can do it again because I don’t want my legacy to be that I swam it when I was 14.”
But there’s another reason the Napier Port marine team leader wants to swim. A few years ago, he and wife Amy learned that Reid has polycystic kidney disease, which causes the deterioration of kidney function with the eventuality of regular dialysis.
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Written by Hayley Redpath, published in the New Zealand Herald, Hawke's Bay Today and The Gisborne Herald.