When I read Kofi Akpabli’s post on Facebook that Martin was going to swim across Lake Bosomtwe, I thought to myself, this will be interesting. So when Kofi told Martin wanted someone to accompany him, I gladly opted to because I know it will be a once in a lifetime experience plus I will never turn down an opportunity to visit a tourist site.
I thought Martin was going to be a 32 year old man who travels the world and do crazy stuffs, but I was wrong. Martin Fodor is a 47 years old Slovák who works for the World Bank as a Senior Environmental Specialist. I wondered, why would an environmental expert want to swim 8.4 kilometers across a lake– so I asked him “why do you want to swim across the lake” and he told me “it’s a beautiful thing and how many times do you get to swim a crater lake. It’s clean too”.
Lake Bosomtwe is a natural lake located south-east of Kumasi and was formed by a meteorite strike over a million years ago–so swimming or taking a boat ride on it is like riding in a big bath basin just that this time, you are surrounded by mountains and hills. The lake is surrounded by many villages too, with very welcoming people and beautiful resorts, hotels, a ranch and bars– Paradise Resort, The Green Ranch, Cocoa Village Guesthouse, Destiny Bar….
This wasn’t the first time Martin was going to perform an extreme act as he has already ridden a motorbike across the country from Greater Accra through Volta, the three Northern Regions, Western Region, through Ashanti, Eastern region then back to Accra. Also, he has already taking a bath in volcano crater lake in Uganda.
Though Martin’s swim across the lake was for personal fulfillment and to promote tourism, he tried to do it professionally as possible. He adhered to the rules of marathon swimming from standard equipment to swim rules. I guess the perfectionist in him won’t allow for a haphazard job.
The lake is seen as very sacred to the communities surrounding it. It is forbidden to touch the water with metal. The traditional boat here is a large plank of wood (pedua) but the changes in time has made the people to compromise and allow tourists to take a ride on the lake in the motorboat we used as an escort boat.
We arrived at Ankaase–one of the 21 communities living around the shores on Saturday, 25th June at about 8:20 am. Martin then warm up and at 8:30 he walks into the the lake from the shores to begin his 8.4 km swim to Abonu. He made two stops, one to have water and the other to have an energy gel– he did this without touching the escort boat nor any of us in the boat.
After about 3 hours 17 seconds Martin was on the shores of Abonu and walked out of the lake to a hero’s welcome from the locals in front of Destiny Bar— a bar owned by Sammy, “the escort boat guy.” This was the first time any of locals present is witnessing this spectacle though prior to Martin, there are rumors of a certain “white lady” who had completed the course in 4 hours 30 minutes.
He staggered out of the lake but after feeding off the energy from his cheer leaders, he will spend the next hour interacting and taking pictures with locals and some foreign tourists. People marveled at amount of energy Martin exhibited after a 3 hour swim along a 8.4 km path, so a woman asked him how he did it and he said “i moved my legs and hands. But you have to move them properly”
Martin Fodor clearly has tourism at heart and that has been a source of inspiration for this performance which will definitely book a place for him in the tourism history books of Ghana to be the first person on record to swim across the magnificent Lake Bosomtwe in a record time of 3 hours 17 seconds covering a distance of 8.4 kilometers.
I enjoyed every minute i spent in Abonu, the serene and a quite atmosphere overlooking the lake and its surrounding landscape which is a vista from nature. Martin told a local he think people will now have a reason to visit the lake as they have a record to beat.
What do you do after making history and setting a record– for Martin, he plans on coming back to swim to and from Ankaase doubling his current distance covered.