Ripley Davenport has reinvented himself as an open water swimmer.

Ripley Davenport claims to have swum the "Kenmare River" in Kenmare on April 10, 2015, but to date there is NO independent corroboration of that event. Here's the page describing that swim. http://www.ripleydavenport.com/kenmare-river-adventure-swim.html. The "track" provided is offered as proof of the swim but raises many questions. Readers should know that there is software which allows the easy creation of a fake set of "track" points which can then be inserted into Google Maps. I have done this myself to test the theory.

Here's a screen capture of one of the "tracks" and comments from Davenport's purported swim. I spoke to John Draper, the senior officer at the Valentia CG station and he confirmed the following:

1. They were aware that Davenport was planning such a swim but had no firm date and had strongly advised against trying the swim without a support boat monitoring his travel.

2. The Davenports did not notify the station of the intention to swim on the given day. The station only learned he was in the water when called by Laura Davenport when the swim was half over and the kayak had apparently capsized.

3. The station never initiated any aspect of a rescue.

4. The station did not follow or monitor the swim in real time through the tracker on the Davenport's website or in any other way. They did not make a call to check on Ripley when he "arrived" in Kenmare as the Davenports claim.

In other words, the ONLY "evidence" such as it is, that Ripley was even in the water, is Laura Davenport's assertion that he was swimming and his tracker signal had failed. This was conveyed in a phone call.

There is apparently one person who might shed some light on the truth about the Kenmare Swim. His name is Andy Lee and as you can see, from the tattoos on his hands, that he is the person in the photograph with Ripley on his "arrival" in Kenmare after the swim. Other sources in Kenmare have confirmed Andy Lee is a Kenmare resident and friend of Davenport.

 

The full text of Davenport's page, with "my comments in blue" is here:

LATEST NEWS

At 18:49 on April 10th, Ripley Davenport became the first person to successfully swim the Kenmare River in 11 hours and 47 minutes. As of October 15, 2015, I have not been able to find a single independent witness to this claimed event. According to the Coast Guard, they never saw him nor did they "track" his progress as Davenport claims. The several journalists who covered it worked ENTIRELY from press releases and images provided by Ripley after the alleged event. According to several local residents, the Kenmare Pier, where Ripley says he arrived in the late afternoon on a Friday is a public place which would have passersby and general visibility. Ripley's former boss, where he worked as a coasteering guide, says he was not nearly a good enough swimmer to complete the swim. Members of the Irish endurance swimming community echo that sentiment pointing out that even with a wetsuit, Ripley would have been hypothermic in the water for that long. Ripley claims that he didn't train, but just used mental toughness to make it through. The adventure center that loaned Ripley the kayak he claims to have towed got their kayak back but knew nothing about the swim. That adventure center is just a few dozen yards from where Ripley claims to have ended the swim. . Ripley's own video shows him swimming with the towline to the kayak interfering with each kick, and that is with flat seas. Ripley describes towing the kayak for hours in five foot and higher swells and tidal action. This would have repeatedly wrapped the towline around his fins. His own images of the swim show the kayak tracking widely to the side of his swimming direction, making the towline issue more pronounced. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5PfNINTSUU

Ripley's description From Open Water Swimming Daily News: "The seals are native to Ireland and huge populations are present along Ireland's coast," describes Davenport. "It was very scary as they are very curious and tend to swim awfully close, under and around. The conditions were good at the start, but got worse with high winds and a constant rather messy swell of 6 to 10 feet. I was totally alone. The 10 foot waves were over shallow ground which I avoided and next to cliff faces. Kenmare River is lined with cliffs and rock. The swell is strong. Average wave height for my swim was 5 to 6 feet that made the towing of a kayak very challenging."

The swim was scheduled for the 13th of April with much fanfare, then abruptly changed to April 10 with no notice until after it was completed. The route of the swim is clearly visible from the shore on both sides of the Kenmare River, yet no one has come forward to mention seeing Ripley in the water. A letter to the editor printed shortly after the swim in the local newspaper asking anyone who had seen the swim to step forward produced no response. Pictures provided by Ripley to the press show a GoPro mounted on the front of the kayak, yet no footage has appeared. And the two images provided by Ripley to press are clearly from different days, since Ripley has a different colored cap on in each photo and other details of the kayak are different. Ripley was able to alert local print media to the event after it happened... but for some reason, not before. (even though his wife had 11 hours to notify the press). I have heard from several townspeople who knew Ripley (including the representative of the local Farmers Market, which passed the hat for donations inspired by the "swim). NONE of those people have any first hand knowledge of the swim and NONE of them know anyone who does have first hand knowledge or who witnessed any part of the swim. Kenmare is small Irish town with a population of just over 2000 people.

The event allegedly lasted 11 hours. During that entire time his progress was presumably being monitored by his wife, Laura. There was ample time, particularly close to the finish, for her to contact press, friends etc. to meet Ripley on arrival. Davenport claims that he was met by a small group of friends, yet none have come forward. There was also ample opportunity for Laura to have photographed Ripley in the water over the entire course. A road runs right along the coast. It would not have taken sophisticated video or photo equipment to get documentation. And the Davenports knew very well that they were suspected of being frauds. They could have engaged several independent witnesses to insure that there would be no question about the authenticity of this effort. They didn't.

They do have a page that purports to show a "tracker" in use. However, these trackers are easily spoofed. The track shows Ripley going completely off course, up a dead end bay, then apparently dragging his kayak through a culvert under a road bridge to get back out into the Kenmare River. This is an event that calls for further explanation.

Many respected locals that have lived and worked by the Kenmare River said it couldn't be done or a shorter route should be considered as conditions are unpredictable and extremely dangerous. Ripley proved it could be done. 26.6 miles/42.8km later he arrived at Kenmare Pier under heavy skies - very emotional and exhausted. In fact, Ripley has "proved" nothing of the sort. He has alleged that he did the swim but has provided no documentation, witnesses, media, images, etc. that would "prove" his claim. And he has a history of claiming to have done things and then not being able to produce evidence. Press coverage, generated by Davenport's own press releases and photos also prominently mentioned that he accomplished all this with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There are good reasons to believe that Davenport does not actually have MS.

An indisputable test of his human endurance that ultimately conveys a message to everyone that anything is possible and anyone can achieve a dream that transcends all boundaries.

INTRODUCTION

The Irish coastline is among the most exquisitely stunning coastlines but underneath its
magic there is a dark side. The sea is a formidable, evocative reality. It represents size and
mystery, the delicate balance between existence and devastation, the ability to take life and change it. An autonomous watery world, resolute and unpredictable. In other words, a challenge. And by no means a straightforward one.

ABOUT THE KENMARE RIVER

The Kenmare River (An Ribhéar in Irish Gaelic , but also called Kenmare Bay in English) is, despite its name, not a river but a large inlet on the coast of Kerry, in south-west Ireland. It is located on the Wild Atlantic Way between the Iveragh Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.

Morphologically different from other large bays south-west of Ireland, being much narrower. The bay contains an abundant number of small islands, such as Sherky and Rossmore . Main points of interest are Kenmare, which is located at the innermost point, O' Carroll's Cove, Westcove, Castlecove, Parknasilla, Tahilla, Templenoe, Bunaw, Lauragh and Ardgroom.

The Kenmare River is also renowned for its seal and dolphin population.

THE KENMARE RIVER SELF SUFFICIENT ADVENTURE SWIM

Ripley will attempt a non-stop self sufficient *25-mile adventure swim from O' Carroll's Cove in Caherdaniel to Kenmare Pier without support.

Ripley will squeeze into a wetsuit, walk into the sea at O’ Carroll’s Cove at 4am and begin a steady 25-mile solo swim to Kenmare Pier, without boat support and totally alone, towing his entire provisions on a sit-on-top kayak. Ripley will stop briefly every 30 – 40 minutes to eat and drink, without leaving the water, burning anywhere between 4,000 - 5,000 calories swimming in sea temperatures averaging 9 Celsius for up to 20 hours. On completion he’ll be the first person to swim the Kenmare River.

An interactive tracker will update his position in real time; thereby ensuring safety and the
whole distance of the intended route is completed.

The magnitude of this swim has many elements that reach beyond anything that Ripley has
ever attempted. It will require tremendous physical and mental strength as he confronts the
sea in an ambitious adventure, an indisputable test of his human endurance.

The Kenmare River Adventure Swim, a prelude to a planned longer adventure swim (tba),
ultimately conveys a message to everyone that anything is possible and anyone can achieve a dream that transcends all boundaries.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis In 2011, Davenport has set himself an enormous challenge mentally, physically and emotionally battling cold, monotony, fatigue, strong tides and the unpredictable Irish weather. Ripley has also failed to produce any proof that he has MS. In fact, the available evidence makes a compelling case for Ripley (with the assistance of his wife, Laura) faking having this terrible disease in order to garner support and make him a sympathetic victim.

Ripley Davenport now claims, that as a follow up to the Kenmare Swim (which few people believe he actually did) he is going to expand his resume to include swimming from the Island of Gozo to Sicily.

As of October 15, 2015, this is the text of Ripley Davenport's page http://www.ripleydavenport.com/round-ireland-swim.html.

Update February, 2016. Ripley Davenport has now abandoned all plans to swim around Ireland.

Commentary and "reality checks" in blue in the text below:

ABOUT THE ROUND IRELAND SWIM (promoted for over a year, now cancelled. This event was never more than an idea and a website).

Ripley Davenport has announced a new challenge that will test his resilience and talent to new levels. Exactly what evidence has ever been shown for Ripley's previous resilience and talent? His most recent venture, the Death Valley manhaul ended after 6 miles and less than 24 hours in the field. He and his partner just gave up and went home, no explanation for why they quit. This after much hulabaloo about dragging trailers over sand dunes and taking blood samples and drinking their own urine.

Prior to that he "led" the Gobi2011 expedition which was a long walk leading camels while a sag wagon carried cook, guide, heavy items and water. He walked no further or faster than any of the novice clients who paid for his "experience" as a leader. He rode in the "sag wagon" when sick and demonstrated little talent as a leader. Prior to that he claims he walked 2/3 of his planned solo route across Mongolia but evidence of that has been erased... by Ripley. And prior to that the only "talent" he demonstrated is the ability to make up fanciful "expeditions" that never happened.

Ripley will attempt an 850-mile ultra adventure swim round Ireland in 2014. Classic Davenport-speak. Everything is hyperbolic.. it's not just a swim around Ireland, it's an "ultra-adventure". One wonders what a simple "adventure" swim would be like and how an "ultra-adventure" is noticeably different. It is an enormous challenge mentally, physically and emotionally battling cold, monotony, fatigue, storms, jellyfish, hunger, and isolation. Isolation? shadowed by a kayak and a yacht? When successful, he will be the first person to have swum the entire distance around Ireland. This is reminiscent of Ripley's claim to set the "record" for longest unassisted walk. Where's the proof, the research that shows that no one else has swum around Ireland?

He will attempt the arduous task of swimming the 850-miles in a clockwise direction to go with prevailing winds and currents battling the Atlantic Ocean. He will then head across the crown of Northern Ireland and into the narrow Northern Channel heading south through the Irish Sea and Saint George's Channel and into the Celtic Channel. Then it's homeward bound back into the Atlantic Ocean finishing at his start point in Derrynane, County Kerry.

Shadowed by yacht and support kayaker, Ripley, equipped with wetsuit, thermal swim hat, and swim mask, will swim in sea temperatures between 10-17°C, (50-63°F) up to 12 hours per day. His Round Ireland Ultra Adventure Swim will take him over high Atlantic swells, through furious storms, heavy squalls and adverse weather. This sounds wonderfully reminiscent of the "sand dunes, jagged mountains, salt pans, washes and canyons" that Ripley literally imagined he would cross in Death Valley when in fact, the entire route was on a road.

The daily routine will be divided into *two-six hour sessions. During the swim, Ripley will feed and drink in the water every thirty to forty-five minutes. Between the two six-hour sessions, there will be hours of rest on the support boat where he will sleep, eat and rehydrate. This might be vaguely plausible if there was one reputable person from the open water swimming establishment that would enthusiastically endorse his project.

The yacht and the crew will not only GPS note the position of exit and entry from the staged swim but will account for drift; thereby ensuring the whole distance of the intended route is completed. Ripley will also wear an interactive tracker that will update his position in real time to the Round Ireland Swim website. In Mongolia in 2010 on his solo walk Ripley also made a big deal out of having a tracker. But after the walk it was revealed that the tracker "didn't work" and the locations provided on Ripley's "track" were manually entered, basically made up.

The magnitude of this swim has many elements that reach beyond anything that Ripley has ever attempted. It will require tremendous physical and mental strength as he confronts the sea in an ambitious adventure, an indisputable test of human endurance. The Round Ireland Ultra Adventure Swim ultimately conveys a message to everyone that you can make a change and anything is possible and anyone can achieve a dream that transcends all boundaries. All this conveys is that if you are a hopeless Walter Mitty you can convince yourself and a few naive supporters to follow you on a windmill tilting trip. Ripley's Death Valley trip was also intended to show that someone with MS can do anything, except, he couldn't.

As a warm up and a prelude to the 850-mile ultra adventure swim, Ripley will also attempt a non-stop open water swim, never exiting the water, on May 24th, a distance covering approximately 30-miles from Derrynane to Kenmare in County Kerry.