Snorkeling across the Saanich Inlet for a friend

A group of eight women will hit the water this weekend for a snorkeling relay across the Saanich Inlet.

From left

From left

A group of eight women will hit the water this weekend for a snorkeling relay across the Saanich Inlet.

Alisa Preston (owner of Rockfish Divers in Brentwood Bay), Maryann Watson, Darienne Lancaster, Françoise Gervais, Kylee Pawluk, Shawna Cheyne, Jamie McDevitt-Irwin and Karen Cram will snorkel across the Saanich Inlet on Saturday, June 21 to help raise funds for Gervais who has been selected to be part of the 2014-16 SEDNA Expedition in the Arctic starting this summer.

“We’ll all start in the water around 9 a.m. in Mill Bay and then we will pair down to two in the water and we will switch out between us to make sure we always have two swimmers in the water at all times,” explained Preston, who added the group estimates the swim to be about 13 kilometers in length.

“It will be really dependant on the weather that day as to how quickly we’ll be able to do it,” said Preston.

The jovial group has been training for the swim for the last few weeks and seems to be looking forward to the big day despite some concerns about sea life interference.

“We’ve seen some sea lions out there and we know there’s harbour seals and harbour porpoises. But there’s also a new species of stinging jellyfish that seems to have appeared that we don’t normally see in the Inlet so that may be a challenge,” said Preston.

The group of colleagues is swimming to raise funds to contribute towards Gervais’ expenses during the SEDNA Expedition, explained Preston. Gervais is a fellow member of Preston’s scuba diving community and a deep water researcher with Ocean Networks Canada.

The SEDNA expedition, she continued, will allow Gervais and the team of scientists to learn more about sea ice reduction and gather new information from a climate that has previously been too harsh to allow access for much investigation.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout of family, friends and supporters at the end point of the relay in Brentwood Bay Marina,” said Preston.

To find out more about the snorkeling relay visit