• Marathon Swimming

Donaldson swallows jellyfish, chased by shark crossing Molokai

That’s four down! Andy Donaldson has ticked off his fourth swim on his journey to complete the Oceans Seven.

Marathon swimmer Andy Donaldson has ticked off the fourth swim on his journey to complete the Oceans Seven in a year.

Mr Donaldson completed the gruelling 42km Molokai Channel between the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu in 15 hours 51 minutes.

The Molokai Channel also known as the ‘Channel of Bones’, as many marathon swimmers call it, is one of the world’s toughest swims thanks to its treacherous waters and unpredictable weather conditions which produce strong winds, relentless currents and large swells.

All of which Mr Donaldson encountered during his crossing, coining it the toughest swim of his life.

“I set off at 7 pm into the sunset and my first few hours were anything but uneventful,” said Mr Donaldson.

“I encountered and was then accompanied by a pod of playful dolphins and then once I was further out into the darkness, I had a shark follow me which was thankfully repelled by the shark shields.

“But as the night went on, the swells continued to increase, and then I was hit with head-on currents and surface chop, which gave me severe nausea and several bouts of sea sickness.”

While Mr Donaldson’s previous three swims on his mission to conquer the Oceans Seven have all been recording breaking swims, this one wasn’t due to the unfavourable weather conditions, but he still went close.

“I was on track for a World Record, but nature took a turn for the worse,” said Mr Donaldson.

“The wind picked up to over 25 knots, which caused my pace to drop from 4 km/h to 1.5km/h.

“It took a lot of resilience and fortitude from not only me but also my team to get me through to the finish at Sandy’s Beach.”

Mr Donaldson’s challenging time wasn’t over when he finished the swim, with him needing to be rushed to emergency care for treatment.

“I was suffering from nausea, dehydration and a swollen throat which made it increasingly hard for me to breathe, so my team rushed me straight to emergency care as soon as I finished the swim,” said Mr Donaldson.

I had a range of tests which determined I was experiencing an allergic reaction from swallowing a jellyfish during the swim.

“It all added to the experience of doing the Oceans Seven and I was just relieved to be finished and recovering because the conditions were relentless and like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

“I did learn a lot from this swim, so I’m excited to take that into my next few swims as I continue on my Oceans Seven journey.”

Mr Donaldson is set to tackle his next swim, the Gibraltar Strait in the coming week, which will be his shortest swim so far, at 14 km.

To follow Andy’s journey follow his fundraising page or Facebook or Instagram.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 16 May 2023
  • (Updated on 25 October 2023)

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