1. Robben Island is the former isolated prison home of Nelson Mandella and other South Africans 7.5 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
2. Alcatraz Island is the former isolated prison home of Al Capone and other celebrated American criminals 1.5 miles from Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay in California, U.S.A.
3. Spike Island (Irish: Inis Píc) is the former isolated prison home of infamous immates 2 kilometers off the coast in Cobh Harbour, Ireland.
4. Rottnest Island sites 19.7 km west of Perth in Western Australia. It was used as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1931 where 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned.
Robben Island, Alcatraz Island, Spike Island and Rottnest Island, once well-guarded isolated prison islands, are now 21st century sites better known for challenging swims with tricky currents and surrounding marine life. Convicts have given way to open water traditionalists and wetsuit-clad swimmers.
Prison Island Swims
Robben Island is one of the 8 open water swims of the Octad of Open Water Swims or Prison Island Swims that includes the following open water swims around formerly well-guarded isolated prison islands. Robben Island, Alcatraz Island, Spike Island and Rottnest Island are now 21st century sites better known for challenging open water swims with tricky currents and surrounding marine life. Convicts of the past have given way to contemporary open water swimming traditionalists and wetsuit-clad triathletes and swimmers.
- Le Château d’If (France), a fortress and former prison) located on the island of If in the Mediterranean Sea in southeastern France
- Fort Boyard (France), an oval-shaped fort and military prison located between the Île-d'Aix and the Île d'Oléron in the Pertuis d'Antioche on the west coast of France
- Devil's Island (French Guiana), is 14 km (9 miles) off the coast of French Guiana in South America and a well-known location of the French penal system and a leper colony
- Île de Gorée (Senegal), known as the location of the House of Slaves located off the coast of Senegal
- Robben Island, the former isolated prison home of Nelson Mandella and other South Africans 7.5 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Alcatraz Island, the former isolated prison home of Al Capone and other celebrated American criminals 1.5 miles from Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay in California, U.S.A.
- Spike Island (Irish: Inis Píc), the former isolated prison home of infamous inmates 2 kilometers off the coast in Cobh Harbour, Ireland
- Rottnest Island, the finish of a 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim west of Perth, Western Australia was used as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1931 where Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned
Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of mainly political prisoners. The Dutch settlers were the first to use Robben Island as a prison. Its first prisoner was probably Harry die strandloper in the mid-17th century. Amongst its early permanent inhabitants were political leaders from various Dutch colonies, including Indonesia. After a failed uprising at Grahamstown in 1819, the fifth of the Xhosa Wars, the British colonial government sentenced African leader Makanda Nxele to life imprisonment on the island . He drowned on the shores of Table Bay after escaping the prison.
The island was also used as a leper colony and animal quarantine station. Starting in 1845 lepers from the Hemel-en-Aarde (heaven and earth) leper colony near Caledon were moved to Robben Island when Hemel-en-Aarde was found unsuitable as a leper colony. Initially this was done on a voluntary basis and the lepers were free to leave the island if they so wished. In April 1891 the cornerstones for 11 new buildings to house lepers were laid. After the introduction of the Leprosy Repression Act in May 1892 admission was no longer voluntary and the movement of the lepers was restricted. Prior to 1892 an average of about 25 lepers a year were admitted to Robben Island, but in 1892 that number rose to 338, and in 1893 a further 250 were admitted.
- Triple Crown of Prison Escapes
- Cadiz Freedom Swim
- Robben Island Documentary
- African Swim Safari
- Open Water Swimming website
- Daily News of Open Water Swimming
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Marathon Swimming
- Brenton Williams Takes A Flyer To Robben Island
- I Never Experienced That Much Pain In My Life
- Theodore Yach Does 69 And Plans More In Robben Island
- Shhhhh...Don't Tell Anyone About The Prison Break
- A Herculean Swim From Robben Island By Troy Prinsloo
- Michael Ventre Smiling And Swimming To Save The Children
- Otto Thaning Completes Hearty Swim From Robben Island
- Strange But True 7-Hour Open Water Swim
- 72 Times And Counting
- Theodore Yach Making A Point About The Cape
- Samantha Cowen Gasping And Swimming To Success
- Swim4Charity From Hout Bay To Robben Island
- Mercedes Gleitze Swimming With Her Child
- Theodore Yach Is 76 And Counting
- Aditya Santosh Raut Continues To Break Barriers
- 3 Amigos Have A Real Adventure In The Open Water
- Samantha Cowen Struggles, Succeeds From Robben Island
- Where Theodore Yach Is Most Comfortable, Uncomfortable
- Obsession With Swimming In The Sea
- When Rhinoceros And Open Water Swimming Mix
- Peter Bales, A 73-Year-Young Legend Of South Africa
- Most Difficult Swims In The World - Southern Hemisphere
- Most Difficult Swims In The World - Northern Hemisphere
- The Octad Of Open Water - Prison Island Swims
- Tony Scalabrino Is Totally Onboard...His Spadavis
- South African Swimmers Stand Tall For Maura Sanderoff
- Big Day Out On The Ocean (Atlantic Division)
- Big Day Out On The Ocean (Pacific Division)
- Llandudno Beach To Robben Island By Yach And Goodman
- America's Very Difficult Open Water Swims
- 10 Difficult Short Open Water Swims
- The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
- Quite The Quatro, Swimming For Seven
- Nick Glendinning Breaks Out, Completes The Triple Break