Swimmer Steve Walker heads south toward the Olympic Peninsula and the U.S. this morning. (Andrew Malinak)

Swimmer Steve Walker heads south toward the Olympic Peninsula and the U.S. this morning. (Andrew Malinak)

UPDATE 2: Man ends swim across Strait for cold temperatures, currents, cramps

PORT ANGELES — Cold waters ended a man’s attempt at becoming the eighth person to swim across the Strait of Juan de Fuca today.

San Francisco resident Steve Walker, 48, began the swim at 8:38 a.m. today from Vancouver Island, but called off the swim shortly after 1 p.m.

“The 46-48 degree waters are cold,” said Andrew Malinak, who is on Walker’s support boat. “It’s tough to deal with those temperatures.”

At those temperatures swimmers can began getting intense cramps, he said. Walker began getting cramps about half an hour before calling off the swim.

“It’s not the normal sort of cramps,” he said. “The muscles in your body get way too small.”

At about 1:20 p.m., Walker was back on the boat warming up.

During the swim, it became obvious the current was taking them far off course.

Walker had planned to swim to a beach near Crescent Bay, west of Port Angeles, but currents took him west past the mouth of the Lyre River.

“The current seemed to be a lot stronger than I had anticipated,” Malinak said.

Malinak tweeted: “Off course. We will not make Crescent Bay in this current, and are adjusting accordingly. Land is the goal now.”

Malinak completed the swim himself last September.

“The water is something I’d dream for,” he said earlier in the day. “The wind is almost nonexistent. Only a few small swells. It’s as good of a day as you get out here.”

Tweets will go out during the day at @andrewswims.

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