Georgia Strait, BC - Rachel Schoeler
Rachel's Watermark is the Georgia Strait, BC.
On August 16, 2014, Rachel swam the Georgia Straight to raise funds and awareness for Fraser Riverkeeper's work to protect BC waters. The 35-kilometre swim took Rachel just under twelve hours. She describes the impression that being in the water for so long left on her and her family.
"I guess I always had a connection to water. We always had a pool in our backyard in both of the house we lived in. It was kind of a place where the community came together. It’s where my family was swimming, our neighbors came there to swim. We were always playing in the water.
My very first memories of water come from my family’s cottage on Lake Steenburg near Bancroft, Ontario. We used to rent a cottage there for two weeks every summer. It was my family, and my aunt and uncle, my three favorite cousins. It was just the best two weeks, it was something to look forward to every year. That’s where I learned how to fish, and to water ski. That was my first experience with open water swimming too. My most powerful memory of being in the water definitely comes from last summer when I was swimming across the Georgia Strait.
In my head, I think it’s cheezy; I should think of something a little bit different, but just spending 12 hours out on the water kind of with your own thoughts really is a powerful experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I think it’s really deepened my connection to water. Also having my dad and some of my best friends out on the boat with me really made that connection to family and friends and to community as well. It was a really special day and I’ll keep that with me forever.
We’re so lucky to have what we have and if it’s not swim-able, and you can’t paddle and you can’t just let your kids splash in the water, then part of Vancouver’s charm is gone. When all of these ideas come together and you see all the different ways people enjoy water or can’t enjoy water, you are inspired to make change. For me, water is community, water is family, water is who I am. I think those relationships are helping us to protect our waterways."