A RECORD-BREAKING Huthwaite swimmer has battled through treacherous currents and encountered terrifying sea creatures to become the first Briton to swim the Molokai Straits in Hawaii.
Adam Walker (33) is now the 23rd person to complete the crossing - but had to contend with changing currents, tiger sharks and jellyfish, as well as the highly poisonous Portuguese man o’war during the epic 17-hour swim.
Describing the swim, Adam said: “Quite early on I got stung in the face by a jellyfish and then I got stung on the leg.
“It was going very well. The record for the crossing is 12 hours and eight minutes but after eight-and-a-half hours the current started to go against me.
“Then the current went sideways and I kept getting pushed further and further down the coast.”
Although the crossing is 26 miles, the strong current meant Adam ended up swimming 37 miles and he had to complete the last part of the swim in the dark.
At one point he was stung by the Portuguese man o’war, a jellyfish-like creature which can be deadly.
He said: “I felt a terrible burning and I nearly leapt out of the water.
“I was given an antihistamine but it made me sick.
“Then I had to pull two tentacles off me because they shed their tentacles.
“People do die from Portuguese man o’war stings and I lost feeling in my lower spine.
“My wife was on the support boat and she said, ‘turn it round’. But I shouted, ‘don’t pull the swim’.”
Adam, who trains at Lammas and Hucknall Leisure Centres, is no stranger to gruelling challenges having already completed swims across the English Channel and the Straits of Gibraltar with fellow swimmer Chris Sheppard, from Blidworth.
He is now well on his way to completing the Oceans Seven Challenge, which sees swimmers tackle seven of the world’s toughest ocean crossings.
“I’m hoping to be the first British person to complete it,” he said.
Earlier this month, Irishman Steve Redmond became the first person ever to finish the Ocean’s Seven challenge.
Now Adam, who was supported by three sponsors including Kirkby-based Techmax Pro-Gear, is preparing for his next challenge when he takes on the 21-mile Catalina Channel near California in October.
l As part of the challenge, Adam raised funds for Sports Aid and the Whale and Dophin Conservation Society. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/swimming4whales or www.justgiving/molokaistraitswim.