The Bajan Swell, Barbados (2006)

Portuguese Men-of-War deflate to avoid surface predation

Salinity of surface-water is measured to monitor currents

Both Reef and Tiger sharks are found in the shallow waters

Swimming in hot water dulls thirst: regularly re-hydrate

Vaseline for the “pits and bits” to prevent salt sores

Blotted by the failure of the previous year, George aimed for the stars this time. A suitably tricky and rather obscure challenge was found. A full swim around the island of Barbados had only ever been completed before by a very large team of swimmers.

George with four other endurance-mad athletes decided to take on this 100km ultra-marathon through the quite-literally ‘shark-infested’ waters around the island, not to mention the very dangerous jelly fish!

As always, once the bar had been set the training and dedication to smashing this challenge was unwavering. With much heartache, and due entirely to the very bad weather, the attempt had to be abandoned after just 25km. The team had been thwarted by the elements and a lack of reliable local knowledge.

Apart from the obvious issues of visibility and safety for the swimmers, more paralysing to the team was that one of the two vital support vessels was left engine-less after the swell overwhelmed the crew. Undeterred, and keen to put to the test the hours of training in spite of the troubled first day, the team returned to the water the following day, and, accompanied by a kayak, swam 10km around the calm side of the island. Faced with absolute failure, having only swam such a short distance, those involved managed to come away with a success, if not the target initially set.

When you are going through hell, keep going
— Winston Churchill