Ex- soldier plans swim around Dubai's World Islands after Palm Jumeirah challenge

Will Follett dodges jellyfish but is hit in the head by a flying fish during 11km swim

The fifth person to swim around the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai now wants to take on the World Islands in another mammoth endurance feat.

British former soldier Will Follett swam 11 kilometres around The Palm on Saturday, raising almost Dh40,000 ($10,890) for charity — double his initial target.

Those funds will go to the Gulf for Good charity and contribute to a building project at an orphanage in Tanzania.

Mr Follett, 41, dodged the worst of the strong currents and jellyfish to complete his solo swim in four hours and 10 minutes.

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I've heard of some people who swam 24 kilometres around the World Islands, so that would be something I would like to try next
Former soldier Will Follett

“I only saw two jellyfish in the water and managed to avoid any stings, but I did get hit in the head by a flying fish. Another jumped out of the water and into a kayak of the support crew,” he said.

“I was happy with the time. I got into the water about 7am at low tide so missed the worst of the heat.

“For the last two kilometres I was swimming against the current, which was tough, and it was getting hotter so that was the worst part.”

Authorities gave Mr Follett special permission to complete his swim inside the outer fronds of the giant man-made archipelago.

A flotilla of support crew accompanied Mr Follett on his swim, with paddle boarders and kayakers offering water and supplies alongside a security boat manned by Nakheel, The Palm's developer.

Sun-baked and exhausted, the father of two dragged himself on to the golden sands of Palm West Beach just after 11am, where he was greeted by family and friends.

The funds he raised will go towards a new school at Larchfield Children’s Home in Mkuranga, south of the Tanzanian coastal city of Dar es Salaam.

“I think the cause resonated with a lot of people as we were very surprised by the response from donors,” Mr Follett said.

“I'm weary, but the swim has stoked the appetite for the next challenge.

“I've heard of some people who swam 24 kilometres around the World Islands, so that would be something I would like to try next.

“For now I’m just happy to have raised so much money.”

Updated: November 22nd 2021, 4:33 AM
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