Leelanau News and Events

TC Native Attempts First Official Open Water Swim From Sleeping Bear To South Manitou

By Ross Boissoneau | Aug. 18, 2022

Open water swimmer Jake Bright is counting down the days until he will swim the nearly seven-mile Manitou passage as a means of raising money and awareness for two local charities. Bright is a Traverse City native who now lives in New York. He began recreational open water swim competition in 2007 and has since completed over 45 races in distances of up to 10K. He will pursue the first official solo swim of the Manitou Passage, a 6.91-mile marathon from Sleeping Bear Point to the South Manitou Island Lighthouse, between Aug. 22 and Sept. 3, depending on weather conditions.

The swim is the first of its kind, as an observer will document the swim for World Open Water Swim Association ratification. It will likely take around three hours to complete. Bright will be following USA Swimming’s open water rules, navigating by sight, wearing an International Swimming Federation-approved wetsuit that provides only marginal additional buoyancy, and using no aids, such as fins, paddles, or flotation devices. A safety boat will accompany him.

His chosen charities have become closer to his heart since moving away from Northern Michigan. “Swimming in salt water has made me more fond and proud of all of Michigan’s freshwater spaces,” he says. 

North Manitou Light Keepers is working to restore and preserve the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse and make it and its history available to the public for education and appreciation. Bright shares that he used to ride the school bus to Long Lake Elementary with Jake Kaberle, currently owner of Burritt’s Fresh Market in Traverse City and a founder of North Manitou Light Keepers. Bright says, “I’m so excited to reconnect with folks I grew up with in this adventure.” 

FLOW (For Love of Water) serves as a Great Lakes law and policy center dedicated to ensuring the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all to enjoy.

All funds raised for this swim event will be allocated equally between NMLK and FLOW, with no deductions made for administrative expenses. Click here to contribute.

The Manitou Passage runs between the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and North and South Manitou Islands. Historically dangerous for maritime traffic in certain weather conditions, its waters and the waters surrounding it contain the remains of over 50 shipwrecks, many of which are documented by the Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve.


Popular Christmas Tree Farm Feeling the Squeeze

One of the county’s most popular and beloved Christmas tree farms may need to shut down for ...

Read More >>

Leland Township Planning Commission To Decide Fate Of Proposed Mixed-Use Development

The Leland Township Planning Commission could finally vote this week to approve or deny a controversial mixed-use ...

Read More >>

The Latest Leelanau County Blotter & 911 Call Report

The Leelanau Ticker is back with a look at the most alarming, offbeat, or otherwise newsworthy calls ...

Read More >>