Wordless Wednesday: 20th Annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim in Punta Gorda, Florida

One of the Freedom Swim Founds, Mike Haymans, Gathers the Swimmers, July 4, 2011
One of the Freedom Swim Founders, Mike Haymans, Gathers the Swimmers, July 4, 2011

Twenty years ago a few friends decided to swim across the Peace River in Southwest Florida to celebrate Independence Day. They heard the activity was a rite of passage for local high school kids and called it the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim. Today, it’s evolved into something affectionately describe as a gloriously unorganized blobblefest where hundreds of adventurers either swim, float or paddle about 1.5 miles from Charlotte Harbor to Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda.

Freedom Swim Participants in the Peace River, July 4, 2011
Freedom Swim Participants in the Peace River, July 4, 2011

There is no registration fee, there are no rules other than exercising common sense and it’s not a race. Some participants swim in patriotic attire while others take it seriously with high-tech swimwear. When floating, some choose foam noodles or neon bright inner tubes while dragging coolers of beverages. For paddlers, some choose canoes, kayaks or paddleboards.

Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Participants Gather Before the Swim, July 4, 2011
Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Participants Gather Before the Swim, July 4, 2011

I swam in the Freedom Swim in 2008, not sure where I was in 2009, was sick in 2010 and this year I rented a kayak from Charlotte Harbor-based It’s Time Canoe & Kayak (Tel: 941-255-3686). I parked my car at Fishermen’s Village then walked about 2 miles to the launch point, paddled across the river and dropped the kayak off at Fishermen’s Village Marina which was great being able to paddle one way.

Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Stand-Up Paddleboarders, July 4, 2011
Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Stand-Up Paddleboarders, July 4, 2011

It’s great fun and hope to see you for the 21st Annual Charlotte Harbor Swim!

Enjoy these images and disregard the funky look. My iPhone was in a waterproof case causing some distortion.

 

Reaching the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Finish at Harpoon Harry's at Fishermen's Village, July 4, 2011
Reaching the Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Finish at Harpoon Harry's at Fishermen's Village, July 4, 2011

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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