Blake Island loop proves easy for Island swimmer

Lise Elner, 51, had views of Seattle and Bainbridge Island as she swam around Blake Island on Saturday.  - Barry Ward photo
Lise Elner, 51, had views of Seattle and Bainbridge Island as she swam around Blake Island on Saturday.
— image credit: Barry Ward photo

Looking for a challenge and a break from her regular swim near KVI Beach, Islander Lise Ellner swam around Blake Island on Saturday, simply “because it’s there,” she said.

At about four miles, the circumnavigation turned out to be shorter and easier than the 51-year-old swimmer had anticipated. “I thought it would be closer to five and I thought I would have a bigger issue with currents,” she said.

However, Ellner doesn’t regret making the trip, saying it was a gorgeous day to be in the water around Blake. “The sun came out, the water was really clear, clearer than we get here,” she said. “It was beautiful.”

Accompanied by friend Barry Ward in a boat for safety, Ellner saw starfish, perch, flounder, crabs, lots of colorful seaweed and even a curious seal during her trip.

“It’s incredibly liberating when you look up and you see Seattle, you see Bainbridge,” she said. “I could swim anywhere if it wasn’t for boat traffic. It’s incredibly liberating to realize that.”

Ellner, a lawyer and mother, hopes to challenge herself with a longer swim, perhaps accompanied by friend and fellow swimmer Amy Bogaard. She is considering swimming Colvos passage from one end of the Island to the other. “I need to find a bigger challenge,” she said.

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