Ocean advocate Bruckner Chase returns
World renowned marathon swimmer and ocean advocate Bruckner Chase (Uila o le Sami) is back on island making a documentary and holding aquatic events.
“We are down here in the territory this time, partially as part of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Collins Grant, which is supporting us in the filming of a couple of small documentaries to focus on capturing the Fa’a Samoa and the Samoan connection to the ocean, their islands and their community and families,” said Chase.
“Our goal is to visit places around the island as we are doing a couple of long distance ocean events again. We will be interviewing people and creating a documentary that we will then show in other parts around the world.”
Chase stated that the documentaries will be part of a library of films that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will use, and they are developing a longer documentary they want to enter into some film festivals. He hopes to have some of the shorter films done and ready in one or two months after the filming is complete, which will be taking place his last two weeks here.
Chase also has another reason for being here, as he told Samoa News—"We launched this ‘Blue Journey’ initiative which is kind of connecting people to their oceans and sharing that story with others around the world. This is kind of a kickoff for that, with our first trip being American Samoa. Along with that, I will be spending a whole lot of my time working with the Department of Public Safety Marine Patrol. We will also being doing some group swims with members of the youth over in Leone and over on the East Side of the island as well,” explained Chase.
He said not everyone can come to Utulei Beach Park and he wanted to see what they can teach and "how we can protect villagers and the kids in other parts of the island."
Referring to the recent drowning last weekend Chase said, “People drown because one, they do not know how to swim, and two, they do not know how to be calm in the water, to float to keep themselves safe.”
He further noted that there are often not enough eyes on the water that are looking for dangerous situations, or who can respond; and said that they want to help people understand how to look at the ocean and see situations that could be dangerous.
“The last choice of any lifeguard or rescuer is to jump into the water and put themselves at risk as well. We try on the East Coast with our life-guarding to prevent situations from becoming dangerous and that is something anyone in the community can do — prevent situations from becoming dangerous”.
Chase went on to explain that he wanted to do a swim across the Apolima Strait in Samoa, but due to the recent tragic events over in Samoa and in Chase’s home on the East Coast at the end of last year, he was not able to prepare himself to make that swim.
“We will be going over to Samoa in the future, but this three-week trip is just about American Samoa," he stated.
“In some of the discussions I had with the Department of Public Safety and some of the things we have done in the past here, we are creating opportunities for Samoans from Samoa to come over here and perhaps train with the Marine Patrol here, so that other rescuers from other South Pacific Island areas can come here and train with Marine Patrol. I know there are good opportunities for our swimmers to go to Samoa in the summer, but we also want to create opportunities to help the local economy and local businesses by bringing people to American Samoa”.
“So my primary ties are here, and we are focusing this trip just on American Samoa,” he said.
While he is here, Chase will be checking up on the Ocean Science/Ocean Swimming students of Samoana High School, who are training down at Utulei Beach Park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, where they learn about open water swimming, water safety, water survival and water rescue.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are in the classroom to learn about ocean science and marine conservation.
Keep up with the latest happenings with Bruckner Chase while he is here in American Samoa by staying tuned to Samoa News.