According to a press release,
On Friday, May 18, 2007, sword swallower Dan Meyer made history by
being the first person in America to swallow a solid steel sword while
submerged underwater in a tank of live sharks and stingrays.
Has someone done that already with an aluminum sword? What about
while battling sharks but not stingrays?
On further reading, it seems he's the first in America to swallow a sword of any kind while underwater, with or without an entourage of chondrichthyes. But still, there's the geographic caveat. Somewhere out there is the guy who actually did it first. I can picture him sipping espresso in a cafe in Zagreb, reading his Sword Swallowing Quarterly, rolling his eyes at the provincial attention seeker copying his trick. "The sharks are a nice gimmick," he'd say in Croatian. "Maybe I should add some piranha to my act, spice it up a little."
Today I went hiking in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, which is hidden in the Seattle suburbs. My cell phone had good coverage, but the park otherwise looked and sounded a like like a wilderness (as much as anything can with nicely maintained trails.) After so much hiking in California, it was fun to be somewhere lush.
I thought it might be crowded when I saw a dozen cars in the trail head parking lot, but I was in there a few hours and never heard or saw anyone else. The park map quotes someone who describes the park as "a great big green and quiet place", and I have to agree. It's especially impressive given how close it is to civilization. (I'm sure it helped that I was there the day after a three-day weekend.)