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Honshu, the northernmost island of Japan
Stephen Redmond swimming in the Tsugaru Channel off of Hokkaido on his quest for the Oceans Seven, captured in the film Defeating Oceans Seven by Red Bull Media House
Hokkaido (北海道 in Japanese, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso) is Japan's second largest island. It is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectures. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo, which is also its only ordinance-designated city.

Oceans Seven

Hokkaido is the traditional finishing point of the channel swims across the Tsugaru Channel and the least known of the Oceans Seven challenges. The Oceans Seven is open water swimming's equivalent of mountaineering's Seven Summits which are the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. It includes the:

1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii, U.S.A.
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel in Southern California, U.S.A.
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe (Spain) and Africa (Morocco)

Achieving the Oceans Seven requires an ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas and a tremendous amount of planning, time, financial resources and multi-national support teams of knowledgeable local experts.


Video of Brad McVetta crossing the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido, courtesy of Masayuki Moriya of Ocean-navi and the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association

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