Matt Moseley's Caribbean Crossing Ends with "The Hardest Swim of My Life"

By Amanda McCracken
July 20, 2017

Matt Moseley Caribbean SwimAfter completing a flawless first leg of his 50-mile Bahama crossing attempt (a four-mile jaunt from St. John's to St. Thomas) Matt Moseley ran into trouble. At 3:40 AM, three hours later than was planned, his support kayak and dinghy pulled away from the catamaran and battled against waves before dropping him on the shore of St. Thomas. Moseley soon left the beach and began what he would become the hardest swim of his life. 

Somewhere in the dark, behind the leading catamaran, bobbed the LED-lit kayak with Moseley alongside. 20 mph gusts blew Mark Williams, his mental coach in the kayak, one direction while the current and six foot waves pushed Moseley in another, making it especially hard to stay close together. Williams radioed over to Randy Soler, his swim coach and PR manager of the operation: "The swells are really big out here, so if I capsize, you guys need to be closer." A swimmer separated from his kayaker in the middle of the night in the middle of the sea could be fatal. The catamaran couldn't cruise alongside as it had the day before because the conditions would cause the catamaran to displace water that would interfere with Moseley's progress. "Got it," Soler responded, "Make sure the shark deterrent is turned on," referring to the crucial machine that released ultrasound waves to, hopefully, keep the predators at bay.

Every 25 minutes, Soler radioed over Moseley's "feeding" menu. While Moseley watched the bioluminescent dinoflagellates as his strokes disturbed the water, Williams alternated between discreetly puking over the side of the kayak and searching the cooler to identify the labeled meals he would then place in the feeding net for Moseley.

When dawn broke, the intensity of the swells became visually more obvious to those on the boat. "You want a surf board?" Soler radioed over to Williams. "No, but I'll take a cold margarita," Williams joked despite the sea sickness he'd endured for several hours.

By 11:00 AM Soler approached Michael Feduccia, the slow-drawling captain of the catamaran out of Baton Rouge, to discuss Moseley's progress — 7.6 miles in 7 hours, according to Feduccia's estimate. "He should be covering at least two miles in an hour," Soler said. "I think what you are asking me to do is to perform a miracle,” replied Feduccia, "but two GPS don't lie." Based on that pace (which would get slower as he tired), Moseley and Williams would be in the water for at least 24 hours. The plan needed to be reevaluated. Vieques, their destination, no longer seemed within reach.

Umpierre, Soler, and Feduccia discussed options. Culebra Island, 13 miles away as opposed to Vieques which was now 17 miles away, had all along been plan "B," but it was questionable now if Moseley could even make that. The current was making it ever-more difficult for progress. In an hour, Moseley had only covered 500 meters (more than four times slower than his usual pace).

"It's better to end a swim at another beach and be closer to Puerto Rico than to bail all together," Umpierre said in advising everyone head to Culebra.

"But the plan was always to go to Vieques," Soler responded, visibly frustrated. "Those three hours of sleep some crew wanted cost us cleaner water."

Moseley's 15-year-old son, Charlie, concurred, "Dad is going to be pissed if we show up on an island other than Vieques."

Captain Feduccia's handle bar mustache turned up into a smile as he responded to Charlie: "You'll find that in life you think you are going the wrong direction and instead find it to be the right place." 

By 1:00 PM the decision was made to head to Culebra. Despite disagreements among the crew, Soler insisted Moseley not be told of the change until close to shore to protect his mental outlook.

Long distance swimmer Matt Moseley struggles in the midst of what he calls, "the hardest and longest swim of my life." It also brought an early end to his 50-mile Caribbean crossing attempt. After 15 hours of massive swells, headwinds, and an ever-decreasing pace, Moseley and crew stepped foot on Culebrita, Puerto Rico (miles from their hopeful destination, Vieques).

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Williams told Moseley to take the swim 40 degrees hard north, ostensibly to combat the currents. For the next four hours Moseley headed towards the south end of Culebra while tracking north of the islands due to the strong winds and submarine currents. Both Moseley and Williams were aware that the currents were working against them. 

After three hours of slow, hard swimming, Umpierre, an experienced local yachtsman familiar with currents in the area, headed out in the dinghy to test currents and assess direction to make a more calculated plan. The dry bag he threw out floated in the opposite direction of Culebra Island. If Moseley was going to make it swimming to land at all, they would have to make a hard left and punch through to Culebrita Island. They changed direction one last time and, finally, at 6:52 PM, after 15 hours of riding the waves in the wind and hot sun, Moseley stepped on to the deserted sands of Culebrita. Soler was there waiting, and the first to greet him, "Welcome to Culebrita!"

Matt Moseley rested his heavy head on the shoulders
of his son as they embraced. "Thank you," he said,
"that was enough."

After 24.5 miles in rough water — further than the planned distance to Vieques — Moseley swam to shore with clear signs of physical wear. His body seemed puffy, his legs wobbly, and all over he was badly burned; his left shoulder was red and chaffed from the stubble of his chin brushing against it thousands of times as he turned to breathe. Behind him, the antagonistic currents and winds continued unabated, signs of what turned out to be the approach of Tropical Storm Don. 

Swells would reach upwards of nine feet by Wednesday morning, when the group made the unanimous decision to cancel the final leg. But it wasn't for naught — Moseley ended up nabbing a record after all, becoming the first to swim cage-free from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico. "I did it because I love the water and to bring awareness to plastics in the ocean," Moselely told us after the swim, "To paraphrase The Rolling Stones, 'You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.'"

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley's Caribbean Crossing Ends with "The Hardest Swim of My Life"


Endurance Swimmer Matt Moseley Rocks First Leg, Makes it to St. Thomas

By Amanda McCracken
July 18, 2017

Long distance swimmer Matt Moseley is here wrapping up his first (and shortest) leg of a Caribbean crossing that will take him from St. John's to Puerto del Rey, Puerto Rico. So far, so good!

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On Saturday, July 18, competitive distance swimmer Matt Moseley completed a 20,000-yard swim (about 12 miles) in a 25-yard pool — 800 grueling lengths. This was all part of Moseley’s preparation for his 50 mile swim in a three-day island-hopping event across the Caribbean that he is currently taking on. How does he get through such monotonous training? “There’s a laser in my head. I think of a golden point right here in my head that is literally propelling me forward. I can go to this place in my mind because I’ve repeatedly practiced.”

Fast forward a week to the shores of St. John’s at 3:51 PM on a Sunday. After an hour of prep with his coach and kayak guide, Moseley plunges into the ocean, bound for St. Thomas. It’s only four miles, a leg that is practically a warm-up compared to the next two lengths, which will be 24 miles and 16 miles.

A 12-person crew follows closely aboard a catamaran, spotting coral reef shelves in the narrow channel between two islands. If they see shallows coming, they signal to kayakers flanked on either side of Moseley. Crew members also take turns waving red flags from both end of the catamaran to warn boats of the swimmer in the water. At one point a large speedboat mistook the red flags as an emergency signal and sped up to our boat nearly running over Moseley.

For this short stint, everything went as planned. The current was in Moseley’s favor most of the way and the waves were the comfortably expected three to five feet. Moseley’s coach and event planner, Randy Soler, radioed over to Williams about every 25 minutes with Moseley’s precise “feeding” routine: some combination of electrolytes, gel, water, Bobo bars, and scrambled eggs. Soler knew Moseley’s nutritional needs so well he had them prescribed down to the ounce.

World Open Water Swimming Association rules prohibiting a swimmer to touch another individual, so Williams delivered the nutrition via a fishing net. About every hour, Soler asked Moseley do a few non-freestyle strokes to give his shoulders a break. Occasionally he suggested Moseley bilateral breathe in order to slow him down, so he didn’t burn himself out on the first day.

Immediately upon completing the swim in two hours and sixteen minutes, Moseley began resting for the second leg from St. Thomas to Vieques. This beast of 24 miles was to start only seven hours later at 1 AM to avoid the wrath of the equatorial sun. 

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Endurance Swimmer Matt Moseley Rocks First Leg, Makes it to St. Thomas


Matt Moseley completes second swim through Caribbean

The American plans to leave tomorrow from Vieques in the last stage of the feat that seeks to alert about the pollution that the oceans suffer

By EFE Agency
July 18, 2017

The challenge that Moseley is trying to achieve is a joint effort with the Puerto Rican organization Scuba Dogs Society. (EFE)

San Juan - The American Matt Moseley, 50 , whose goal is to swim 50 miles (80 kilometers) across the Caribbean to raise awareness of the problem of garbage in the oceans, finished the second leg of his tour.

The organization of the event reported today in a statement that Moseley completed the first leg of the swim while traveling from Saint John to Saint Thomas, both US Virgin Islands.

Moseley then set out for Vieques, a small island located 18 miles (30 kilometers) off the east coast of Puerto Rico, although due to the waves and difficult sea conditions, the route had to be changed to go to Culebra, on the isle of Culebrita.

The initial plan provided for the last stage tomorrow, with departure from the beach of Punta Arenas de Vieques to reach Puerto del Rey, in the municipality of Fajardo, on the east coast of Puerto Rico, although due to the sea conditions can occur alterations.

The challenge that Moseley is trying to achieve is a joint effort with the Puerto Rican organization Scuba Dogs Society to warn about the pollution of the oceans, especially on the tons of plastic that are thrown into the sea.

To contribute to the fight against pollution of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Scuba Dogs Society carries out a fundraising campaign that can be provided through the Internet address .

Moseley already proved his worth as an athlete in 2015 by swimming between the small island of Culebra and the main island of Puerto Rico, specifically Fajardo, a distance of 22 miles (37 kilometers).

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley completes second swim through Caribbean


Matt Moseley, the "Uniquely Joyful" Long Distance Swimmer Attempts a Caribbean Crossing

By Amanda McCracken
July 17, 2017

Matt Mosely and Coach Randy celebrate a swim from Culebra Island to Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 2015

Matt Moseley, a 50-year-old father of two, likes to tackle audacious long-distance swims — the kind no one has ever attempted. In 2014, he became the first to swim 25 miles non-stop across Lake Pontchartrain; in 2015 he made the first ocean crossing between Culebra and Fajardo, Puerto Rico; later that year year he swam nonstop for 47-miles along the Colorado River to the confluence of the Green River. Now, Moseley is attempting another swimming feat that, we're guessing, no one thought to try before — 50 miles in less than three days, from St. John to St. Thomas (~4 miles), then from St. Thomas to Cayo Yayi, Vieques (~24 miles), and finally from Punta Arenas, Vieques to Puerto del Rey, Puerto Rico (~16 miles). Only one man — Harry Hauk, in 1982 — has ever swum from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico, and he quite sanely stopped there. Moseley will be swimming cage-free throughout the attempt.

This is not your average serious-minded record attempt. Moseley calls his swims "moveable festivals" that bring along musician, artists, scientists to follow him on his swim and bring awareness to the many clean water-focused causes he stands behind. For this one, the aim is to bring awareness to the organizations that work to protect the oceans from the growing prevalence of plastic debris like Inland Ocean Coalition. 5 Gyres Institute's science program director, Carolynn Box, will be on board for the duration of the event to take water samples to test for microplastics. Thanks to San Juan based Scuba Dogs, another water protection and education group, Moseley's team will partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques for a beach clean-up.

That's not to say the swim itself isn't serious. Moseley will be baking under the rays of the equatorial sun while swimming hours in three to six foot waves above 500 feet of water — the home of hammerhead sharks, jellyfish, and other potentially unwelcoming creatures. The second and third swims will be begin in the middle of the night. Depending on the currents, the 24 mile swim to Vieques could take 13 hours or turn into a 16 hour swim of 30 miles. As his coach Randy Soler aptly puts it, “if there’s no drama, there’s no swim."

All of Moseley's sanctioned swims strictly follow WOWSA’s regulations. Swimmers can’t wear a wetsuit, must start from a shore and end on a shore, and can’t use any flotation devices or human assistance. This Caribbean crossing will be monitored and recorded by Moseley’s mental preparation coach (a former fighter pilot). The executive director of WOWSA, Steve Munatones, said of Moseley: “There is one contemporary swimmer who stands out for his uniquely joyful approach to the sport. Matthew Moseley combines the physical toughness of an endurance athlete with the right-brain creativity of an artist.”

We'll be following Moseley all week as he and his 12 person crew take their floating festival out to the Atlantic. Check back in to for updates.

You can follow Swim Across the Caribbean on Facebook or track them live on

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley, the "Uniquely Joyful" Long Distance Swimmer Attempts a Caribbean Crossing


Matt Moseley will swim 50 miles to raise pollution awareness

The tour, carried out with the support of Scuba Dogs Society, will take you through Saint John, Saint Thomas and Puerto Rico

By EFE Agency
July 14, 2017

"We want a sea and a clean world," said the veteran US swimmer. (Facebook / @Matt Moseley)

American Matt Moseley, 50, will try to make history by swimming 50 miles on a journey that will take Saint JohnSaint Thomas,  Vieques and the coast of Fajardo. A feat that seeks to raise awareness about the problem of garbage in the oceans.

Moseley said today at a press conference that the challenge he will try to achieve is an effort he makes with the Puerto Rican organization Scuba Dogs Society to warn of the pollution of the oceans, especially over tons of plastics being thrown into the sea.

"We want a sea and a clean world," said veteran American swimmer and businessman who lives in Colorado, where he is trained by Puerto Rican triathlete Randy Soler .

Soler explained that the plan will mean that the American athlete will swim for 50 miles in three stages that will run through the Caribbean, an unpublished itinerary for which will be supervised by Mark Williams, who will ensure that the test complies with the regulations of The Channel Swimming Association.

Soler explained that this means that, for example, Moseley can not touch the support boat that will follow him on the islands of the Caribbean at any time of the voyages, besides receiving the water and the nutritional supplements by means of a rod that will place them Together with his body, always without any contact.

The initial plan, which may be modified according to maritime conditions, will begin at dawn on Monday, July 17, when Moseley swims from Saint John to Saint Thomas, both US Virgin Islands.

That same day, the American will swim, starting early in the evening, from Saint Thomas to Vieques.

On TuesdayJuly 18, will arrive in Vieques, to the beach of Punta Arenas, at which time the Scuba Dogs Society will take advantage of to carry out a coastal cleaning on the small island.

On WednesdayJuly 19, is the last stage, leaving from the beach of Punta Arenas de Vieques to reach Puerto del Rey, in the municipality of Fajardo, on the east coast of Puerto Rico. 

Soler indicated that, however, the dates of the itinerary could be changed with an advance to Sunday, since that day is expected to be better sea conditions.

Moseley explained that although it is a test of sport nature the final objective of the crossing is to raise awareness about the pollution of the seas, which directly attacks the marine species and threatens their survival.

The executive director of the Scuba Dogs Society, Silmarie Sánchez, said that her organization collects about 55 tons of garbage each year on the coast of Puerto Rico, of which 75% are plastic, which gives a sample of the magnitude of the problem .

"This event seeks to raise awareness of the importance of conserving marine ecosystems," said Sánchez. "Every dollar donated for this task is used to collect several pounds of garbage," he added. 

The commercial manager of the Puerto del Rey Marina, Jorge González , indicated that the entity he represents is fully committed to the defense of the oceans and that the public who wishes to be free of charge to receive Moseley.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley will swim 50 miles to raise pollution awareness


Environment as experience

Composer David Amram performs at eTown to advocate for water awareness

By Chelsea Abdullah
January 28, 2016

Matt Moseley and David AmramCourtesy of Matthew Moseley David Amram and Matt Moseley come to Boulder to talk swimming, aquatic sing-alongs and water stewardship.

Music is spontaneous and very much alive. It is a type of experience. That is, according to David Amram, a prolific composer who has worked with a variety of performers, writers and artists over his 50-year career, from Dizzy Gillespie to Hunter S. Thompson to Willie Nelson. The 85-year-old musician holds this view of music, whether conducting an orchestra or improvising pieces accompanying long distance swimmer and activist Matthew Moseley.

Amram will be one of three presenters, along with adventure swimmer Moseley and conservation organization American Rivers, featuring powerful water-related stories and music at an upcoming event at eTown Hall to inspire attendees to become stewards of Colorado’s rivers.

The event, which takes place Thursday, Jan. 28, will focus on drawing attention to Colorado rivers through American River’s film, The Important Places, and a short film about Moseley’s historic swim through Canyonlands. Clips of Moseley’s other swims will be shown, and Amram’s music will serve as an important flashback to one of Moseley’s past swims.

Amram was an integral part of the documentary, Dancing in the Water, which follows Moseley’s nearly 15-hour journey across Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana to publicize its cleanup. While Moseley swam the entire time, Amram played music without rest on a small boat traveling alongside the swimmer. Amram describes the Pontchartrain crossing as his “first aquatic sing-along.”

“The boat ride seemed to go on forever,” he says. “But then suddenly I got this big burst of energy meeting these two musicians.” New Orleans musicians Papa Mali and Uganda Roberts joined Amram and together the three performers kept Moseley going.

Moseley’s swims, and Amram’s accompaniment, are a means of raising awareness for the cleanup of different bodies of water while inspiring other people to create positive change. This message focuses on how people can help rather than place blame.

“Rather than making a film demonizing people, it was a film about one person taking on a lake,” Amram says.

The film, which many have called an exciting Mardi Gras of a crossing, emphasizes the beauty of nature through a celebration of music and inspirational company.

“Music is extremely important for storytelling,” says Moseley, who is working with American Rivers to organize the event at eTown. He says the collaboration with Amram is integral in telling stories that feel more human, rather than talking in strictly scientific terms that disinterest people. The goal of the event is “getting people to understand, through stories, about water,” Moseley says.

And the spontaneity of Amram’s music is part of that storytelling. He describes the on-the-spot nature of his music as “trying to reflect what that one-time-only experience felt like to me.” He has a unique perspective on the music that he plays, choosing to think of it as an experience rather than a standard means of advocating for change.

Amram will perform some of the pieces from the Lake Pontchartrain swim at eTown, and the music, meant to encourage Moseley back then, is still meant to motivate audiences today. “The music is not about me, it’s about the rivers,” he says.

Amram says the music he plays is reminiscent of the jazz masters’ philosophy of music. “We make it (music) as accurate and meticulous as possible, but make it appear to the audience as spontaneous,” he says. “The spirit has to be in what we do.”

In other words, the spontaneity of the music, whether practiced or not, is meant to evoke the feelings of a moment. Amram believes that even events such as the evening inspired by water, though focused on advocating for environmental restoration, is still a moment that should be people-oriented.

“Events like these are done with the idea of enhancing the community in Boulder,” Amram says. He goes on to say that many of the documentaries normally featured at such events are depressing because they put the blame on the viewer, rather than encouraging them to make a difference.

Amram, who has performed at eTown before, is excited to be returning to Boulder for his upcoming show — one he hopes will invigorate the audience.

“I hope they’ll go home and feel really good.”

On the bill: A Special Evening inspired by water with David Amram, Matt Moseley and American Rivers. 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28, eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-444-8696.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Environment as experience

Mental Conditioning for Adventure Swimming…and Life
By Matthew L. Moseley | Naropa U
January 27, 2016

By Matthew L. Moseley

I first met ex-fighter pilot and Naropa graduate Mark Williams on a political campaign years ago where he was our foreign affairs advisor. Mark now runs VUMind and is a much sought after mental conditioning and meditation consultant. For professional development, Mark and I began working together in the summer of 2012.

Not long after, I hurt my leg in Moab and had 17 screws and four plates holding my ankle together. Suddenly mental conditioning took on a new purpose and importance in those hard times after surgery. It was during the recovery when I conceived of doing three world record swims as a goal and a way to bring my body back from convalescence.

In a period of thirteen months last year, I completed three swims that had never been done before: 25 miles across Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans; from the island of Culebra to Puerto Rico for 24.5 miles and down the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park for 47.5 miles. All the swims were nonstop with no assistance or floatation and followed World Open Water Swimming Association guidelines.

These adventures took years of physical training, putting together an experienced team and the right coach. However, mental conditioning became a critical part of my training and was a key element in the swims when the going got tough.

What do I mean by mental conditioning?  The way Mark explained it to me, this wasn’t going to be sitting back on cushions blissing out. He gave me “sets for the mind” in the same way an athlete might do sets in a gym. These mind sets were no less difficult or exhausting.

Think of the mind as a giant mag light. Sitting in a chair with a straight back and palms down, bring the focus of the mag light in tight as a laser. Focus all energy and attention, coming through the breath, on one single point on the floor about eight feet away. All distractions and thoughts begin to fade, and when the mind invariably wanders, recognizing and simply re-turning to the practice.

Now bring the mag light as wide as possible. The eyes gaze up to a single point with hyperawareness of everything around including sound, taste, smell, touch and sight.  Aware, but still intently focused on the breath.

Now, practice going between the two. Bring the mag light of the mind tight and then wide with about three sets of 20-30 breaths each.  This exercise is ultimately about harnessing awareness—our strongest and most important muscle.

In this state of heightened awareness, our practice would move to detailed visualizations of the swims: waking up, feeling my toes in the water, feedings every 25 minutes, my stroke and the joy of the finish. We didn’t always visualize bright sunny days when everything went correctly. We thought of various scenarios when everything went horribly wrong: stormy weather, choppy waters, vomiting and getting attacked by an alligator.

And the going did tough, especially on Lake Pontchartrain. After swimming for 13.5 hours, I began to get disoriented and very fatigued. I started thinking of a laser from my heart extending into the water. I was riding the breath and blocking out the distractions of pain and severe nausea. Just focus on the breath and each stroke. Be present in the moment and think of nothing else. We had visualized and trained for this moment and I was ready.

I still vividly remember those clarion moments where my mind transcended my body. As long as I intently concentrated on my breath and stroke, everything faded.  I repeated the mantra from my coach Randy Soler: Less than before. I was driving the chariot of my awareness.

These techniques can be applied to every aspect of life and not just endurance sports:  Dealing with difficult people, remaining calm in stressful situations and making better decisions.

A person can train their body to swim for 15 hours straight.  But after a while, it becomes much more than a physical endeavor, it becomes a mental game.  In adventure sports, as in life, success isn’t just training the body, the most critical element could be in training the mind.

Find out more on the ability to train and change your brain and about Mark Williams’ new program on Gaia TV.

For more from Matt Moseley, join us tomorrow night in Boulder (1/28/16) for a special evening inspired by water with David Amram, Matt Moseley and American Rivers. The event will be a celebration of recent efforts in water protection and conservation as well as an opportunity to discuss how to to improve the health and vitality of water in Colorado and beyond.

Matthew Moseley is a principal at InterMountain Public Affairs and is the author of “Dear Dr. Thompson: Felony Murder, Hunter S. Thompson and the Last Gonzo Campaign.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Mental Conditioning for Adventure Swimming…and Life

Why I swam through Canyonlands: Fish can't live where people can't swim
By Matthew L. Moseley | High Country News
September 1, 2015

Under a blue moon at the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers, I was exhausted but exhilarated: I'd just completed the first swim of the Colorado River through Utah's Canyonlands, starting at Moab and ending at this merging of two rivers, a distance of 47.5 miles. Time: 13 hours and 56 minutes.

The swim was an attempt to raise awareness about the plight of the Colorado River and the important work of the nonprofit American Rivers, which advocates for free-flowing rivers everywhere.

The swim wasn't easy, and after about five hours, I was cold, in water that was about 68 degrees. The support crew in their touring sea kayaks didn't have it easy, either; their main job was keeping me in the fastest currents, finding the channel that is a river within a river. The Colorado River can be wide and shallow in spots, and I hit a few rocks and branches along the way. Sometimes I had to crawl through the sand and mud on my belly.

Even then, I never stopped. Our team followed English Channel Rules/World Open Water Swimming guidelines: No flotation, no wetsuit, no touching the boat or another person, and no stopping. Besides physical fitness – and I trained for this for months -- nutrition is said to be one of the most important elements in success. I had to have the engine, but my engine wouldn't function without enough fuel, so every 25 minutes I ate from an assortment of gels, energy bars, scrambled eggs, bananas, burritos and protein drinks, all administered by my coach from a feeding stick — as if he were feeding an animal at a zoo.

Moseley swims through the Colorado River in Canyonlands.

The five-member support team had to continuously paddle for 14 hours, without even getting a stop for a bathroom break. (Think bailing buckets.) Though we had planned to swim at night, I crawled up onto the beach at the confluence just as the sun was setting. Night swimming was too dangerous.

The day was magical: I swam through the millions of years burnt into the canyons, the floods and droughts, sunsets and full moons, the secrets of the Anasazi and the Barrier People before them. I thought no matter how hard the swim would prove for me, it would never come close to the difficulty that the Colorado River experiences every day. This majestic river, source of water for millions of people, has been dammed and diverted until it chokes on itself, which is why it is now the country's most endangered, according to American Rivers.

My favorite part of swimming, and the real reason I swim, is the connection I feel with the water, almost as if I'm a fish. Marathon swimming might seem like a crazy idea to some people, but it is also a good way to draw attention to some critical water issues. How we treat our water says a lot about what we value. For me, the swim through Canyonlands was part of a series of three world-record adventure swims in 13 months. They included a lake, an ocean and a river – the Colorado.

Moseley's crew camps at the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.

In June 2014, I dodged alligators and bullsharks to swim 25 miles across Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans in just under 15 hours. For decades, the lake was contaminated and unswimmable. Finally, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation cleaned it up. In late May, I swam 24 miles from the island of Culebra to Puerto Rico for the Scuba Dogs Society, a group that works to protect coral reefs.

People can't swim where fish can't live. The quality of water is the key to the whole planetary system and may very well be the defining issue of our time. We have a responsibility as a nation to set a better example and do a better job of protecting the lifeblood of the planet. The abiding lesson I have learned from swimming is simple: As the rivers, lakes and oceans go — so do we. We are the water.

Matthew Moseley is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a column service of High Country News. He is a communications strategist and writer in Boulder, Colorado.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Why I swam through Canyonlands: Fish can't live where people can't swim

Outside Magazine - August 19, 2015
Congratulations to Matt Moseley, who completed the first ever swim from Moab to the confluence with Green River to raise awareness for American Rivers. 47.5 miles in 13 hours and 56 minutes!

Colorado man completes first-ever non-stop solo swim from Potash to confluence on Colorado River
By Jeff Richards | Moab Times-Independent
August 20, 2015

A Colorado man recently swam a 47.5-mile stretch of the Colorado River, starting at the Potash Point boat ramp and ending at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers in the heart of Canyonlands National Park.

Matthew Moseley, of Boulder, Colorado, said he made the swim on behalf of the conservation organization American Rivers, to raise awareness about the need for protection and restoration of the nation’s natural waterways and riparian habitats.

Moseley said he is the first person to swim that stretch of the river solo and without stopping. He entered the water at 6:41 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29 and emerged at the confluence just under 14 hours later, at 8:36 p.m. A support team in kayaks supplied him with sustenance and encouragement throughout the trip, but in keeping with “English Channel” open-water swim rules, he was not permitted to touch any other person, watercraft, or even solid ground during the marathon swim. He also did not use a wet suit or any flotation devices, and gel-like food and drink had to be extended to him via a feeding stick.

“The support team did a great job of scouting ahead and keeping me in the channel and away from rocks,” Moseley told The Times-Independent.

Moseley described the water in which he swam as “muddy, with a lot of silt,” but said that he found it “fantastic” to be swimming the Colorado. Moseley added said he was struck by how “small and fragile” the Colorado River seemed.

“It is such a small, yet powerful river. It has to be the hardest working river in the country,” he said.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley Completes Historic Colorado River Swim

Matt Moseley Completes Historic Colorado River Swim
By Sinjin Eberle | American Rivers
August 3, 2015

Moseley swam 47.5 miles continuously from Moab to the confluence with Green River in 13:56:20 to raise awareness for American Rivers

All photos credit: Tom Winter

On Sunday at 8:36pm adventure swimmer Matthew Moseley of Boulder, Colorado reached the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Moseley dove into the Colorado at 6:41am, Wednesday, July 29, at the boat ramp at Potash Point outside of Moab, Utah and swam for 47.5 miles to the confluence. His swim was not only the first ever solo swim of this stretch of the river, but also an awareness-raising effort for the conservation organization American Rivers, which named the Colorado River among America’s Most Endangered Rivers® for the past three years.

“The Colorado River is facing serious threats, and Moseley’s extraordinary personal and physical effort helps signal to users of the Colorado Basin that we are all in this together. While this swim is a major undertaking, we can all take steps in our own lives to keep the river healthy and flowing, “said Matt Rice, Director of the Colorado Basin Program at American Rivers.

Moseley encouraged supporters to make a donation to American Rivers, to boost efforts to protect and restore the Colorado River and rivers nationwide.

Moseley’s journey began thirteen months ago when he became the first person to cross Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans to raise money for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The film “Dancing in the Water” follows Moseley’s adventure of 25 miles to publicize the cleanup of this beloved New Orleans fishery and playground.

On May 28 Moseley became the first person to swim from the Island of Culebra to Fajardo, Puerto Rico of 24 miles to raise awareness for the Scuba Dogs Society and their work to clean up coral reefs. The Colorado River swim will be Moseley’s third in the last 13 months.

“The swim was done as a celebration for the hard work and remarkable accomplishments of American Rivers. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make my dream a reality,” said Moseley moments after finishing the swim. “Being the first person to accomplish this swim is not only a milestone in my own life, but it is a humbling experience to know how many people supported me along the way.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Matt Moseley Completes Historic Colorado River Swim

Wet for 50: Boulder open water swimmer Matt Moseley looks to set a new record on the Colorado River
By Tom Winter | Boulder Weekly
July 23, 2015

The river starts as nothing, just a trickle of snowmelt in the high Rockies, the wet drops of a winter’s precipitation falling off of lichen-covered rocks, streaking cliffs in dark zebra stripes of moisture. But it grows bigger quickly. The tributaries, both large and small, feed the monster, until the drops all flow together under the same name: The Colorado.

Flowing 1,450 miles from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California in Mexico, the Colorado drains over 246,000 square miles, providing water to 35 million people, while fueling a $1.4 trillion economy. Because of this, much has been written about the river. It’s the lifeblood of farmers and quenches the thirst of numerous cities. It’s been tamed by massive civil engineering projects such as the Hoover Dam, and it’s been fished, paddled and polluted.

Now part of it will be swum, nonstop, for close to 20 hours.

On July 29, Matthew Moseley — Boulder’s own open water swimmer (his solo crossing of New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain was profiled in Boulder Weekly on May 14, 2014: article-12851-gonzo-swimming.html) — will set off on a 50-mile solo swim on the Colorado. The route will take him through some of the most beautiful and remote country in North America — the canyons of the Utah desert — on part of the Colorado that hasn’t seen a continuous swimming attempt ever.

Scheduled for July 30, the effort will start at Potash Point outside of Moab, Utah and will finish at the confluence of the Colorado with the Green River. According to Moseley, it will be the first ever solo swim of the Colorado River using rules governed by the World Open Water Swimming Association and using English Channel Rules: No floatation, no touching a boat or another person, start and end independently. The estimated time for completion is approximately 18 hours.

Think about that for a minute. Eighteen hours in the water, constant swimming, no stopping, no getting out on shore to scarf down a burrito, just the endless Colorado, the canyons and the cliffs descending into darkness as the sun sets and you keep on swimming, swimming through the night until the sun comes up and you keep on swimming some more.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Wet for 50: Boulder open water swimmer Matt Moseley looks to set a new record on the Colorado River

Film premiere at Prytania to chronicle successful swim across Lake Pontchartrain
By Todd Masson, | The Times-Picayune
April 22, 2015

Dancing in the Water, a film about an historic swim across Lake Pontchartrain, will premiere next Wednesday (April 29) at a special event at the Prytania Theatre.

Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Wayne Ewing, Dancing on the Water follows Louisiana native Matt Moseley's successful attempt in June 2014 to swim 25 miles non-stop across Lake Pontchartrain. According to the film, it was the first documented crossing of Lake Pontchartrain following English Channel rules and World Open Water Association guidelines.

The effort was designed to bring attention to the vastly improved water quality of the coastal bay.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Film premiere at Prytania to chronicle successful swim across Lake Pontchartrain

View photos of the After Party

Fear and Loathing (and Reading) at the Hotel Jerome...
By: Andrew Travers, Time Out Staff Writer
Friday, July 13, 2012

Curtis Robinson got to know Hunter S. Thompson by reading the author’s work aloud, in the kitchen of the literary legend’s Woody Creek home.

Robinson, a journalist and former editor of the Aspen Daily News, recalls being part of the “reading team” that went through scores of boxes of Thompson’s correspondence from the gonzo journalist’s early years, culling them for publication in what would become 1997’s letters collection, “The Proud Highway.”

Thompson called the marathon reading sessions “a forced march through the past,” Robinson recalls, wading through teenage love letters, fierce responses to bill collectors from HST’s days as a struggling young writer, along with erudite correspondence about literature and politics.

“Reading his work out loud was a tremendous way to learn his sensibilities,” Robinson says.

Great literature, read aloud, may actually have been the favored mind-altering substance in Thompson’s substance-friendly kitchen at Owl Farm. Immortal prose stylists like Coleridge, Fitzgerald and the like were his favored selections for readings, along with his own work.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Fear and Loathing (and Reading) at the Hotel Jerome...

Film premiere at Prytania to chronicle successful swim across Lake Pontchartrain
By Todd Masson, | The Times-Picayune
April 22, 2015

Dancing in the Water, a film about an historic swim across Lake Pontchartrain, will premiere next Wednesday (April 29) at a special event at the Prytania Theatre.

Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Wayne Ewing, Dancing on the Water follows Louisiana native Matt Moseley's successful attempt in June 2014 to swim 25 miles non-stop across Lake Pontchartrain. According to the film, it was the first documented crossing of Lake Pontchartrain following English Channel rules and World Open Water Association guidelines.

The effort was designed to bring attention to the vastly improved water quality of the coastal bay.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: Film premiere at Prytania to chronicle successful swim across Lake Pontchartrain

View photos of the After Party