Catching up with Dean Bragonier

In the final days of his round-the-Island swim

Dean Bragonier takes a break on land with and Neil McGaraghan. Photo by Michael Cummo — Michael Cummo

A few weeks ago, we ran a story about Dean Bragonier, and the epic swim he was about to undertake. Starting on July 11, over six weeks, Mr. Bragonier would swim around the Island (about 50 miles, in the first official circumnavigation of the Vineyard by a swimmer) in two-mile increments (two days swimming, one day off), in order to raise awareness of dyslexia, and hit a $145,000 target to develop a middle school curriculum that would treat the condition not as a disability but as a set of different abilities.

Would he make it? Would he have trouble with sharks, jellyfish exhaustion?

We’re happy to report, that as of August 9, Mr. Bragonier had completed 23 of his 26 legs when he finished his Mattakesett to Down Harbor Edgartown paddle. As of August 5, he said, he had raised 80 percent of the funds needed to build the curriculum.

“So far,” he told the Times in a recent email, “no jellyfish or shark sightings. I have seen some massive bass and a refrigerator-sized seal off Devil’s Bridge. A skate, lots of tautog fish.

“Yesterday I swam from Gay Head Beach to Lily’s Pond,” he continued in that email in late July. “When I arrived (with two Coast Guard members in kayaks for escorts), a family ran up to ask if it was true that a whale had been killed by a shark and that the beach was closed. At this point, I have not heard any confirmation of this, but the rumor has spread like wildfire. Nonetheless, I had to make the swim.

My video blogs show the mental/emotional up and downs of the adventure. There has been a lot of inspiration and joy … some challenging spots physically and mentally.”

Mr. Bragonier looks to be right on target to finish his final leg — from Bend in the Road Beach to the finish line at First Bridge on State Beach — this Sunday, August 16. He invites the public to join him for any or all of the two-mile stretch. Get information about staggered start times and locations at Noticeability’s Facebook page:

Join him in the water, or just stand back and applaud.

For more info, or to donate, go to