Oly’s Ithaca challenge is on

Chris Payne from Green Folk (Left) and ‘human fish’ Oly Rush

Dorset’s ‘human fish’ Oly Rush is preparing to take on his next challenge – swimming around the Greek Island of Ithaca.

And it has been made possible by recruitment company Green Folk Ltd, based in Hook, Hampshire, which has funded Oly during his training and is covering his costs.

It means every penny donated will go to Project Planet Earth and Healthy Seas – both groups dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans.

The 60km – almost 40 miles – swim is expected to take about 24 hours, but there is a potential danger – jellyfish.

It means Oly, from Upton, Dorset, will have ‘spotters’ on the boat looking out for them.

Oly has previously swum the length of the Jurassic Coast, become the fastest person to swim around the Isle of Wight and the first person ever to swim around Grand Cayman.

The vegan swimmer has put on eight kilograms during training because of the relative coldness of the water where he trains off the Dorset coast.

He said: “I am so grateful to Chris Payne of Green Folk Ltd for making this possible. And there are lots of other people giving their time for nothing.

“I’ve had great support from Adriana Eyzaguirre who has helped with the planning and runs a kayak tour company on the island.

“And I’ve also had help from Kerry Jamieson of Argos Animal Welfare out there. She will be helping to observe the swim and ensuring the rules are followed.

“Also, when the mayor of Ithaca heard about the swim he offered me accommodation.

“The sea there is around the island about 28 degrees which compares with 17 degrees in the water where I’ve been training.

“The main dangers are sunburn, exhaustion and jellyfish, which at certain times of the year are found in large numbers.

“But I have a really professional team and hopefully we can raise plenty of money for the two good causes.

“I am lucky in that I can combine my hobby, which is swimming, with my passion, which is helping better protect the oceans.”

Oly spends his time clearing plastic from Dorset’s beaches as well as giving talks to schoolchildren about plastic pollution.

Ithaca was the homeland of Odysseus, the hero of the Homeric poem Odyssey. It is where the faithful Penelope waited patiently for 20 years for her husband to return.

Oly’s swim is planned to take place on Monday 4th September, although if conditions aren’t right it could be delayed for a few days.

There will be a tracker on the www.projectplanet.earth website and the link to make donations is https://gofund.me/a2c63c3d