Anna Wardley. | Archive


British endurance swimmer Anna Wardley’s Balearic Island Challenge for charity sadly came to a painful halt late on Wednesday night after she was severely stung by jellyfish. Anna, who is no stranger to Balearic waters having swum from Cabrera to Majorca and around Dragonera for local charities, was planning on swimming from Minorca to Majorca on to Ibiza and then Denia on the mainland - 215 km without a wetsuit in total.

After months of training in the UK and here, she finally set off from the southern tip of Minorca at 4.30pm local time with her support crew on Wednesday. Ahead of her swim across the Minorcan Channel she had admitted that while she was feeling fighting fit and ready to go, her only concern was the jellyfish.

According to her support team, the initial estimated duration of the swim, to raise money for charities Marine Inspirations, Joves Navegants and the Marine Animal Rescue Project, was 20 hours. At 10.30pm an update was issued: "Anna has been in the water for around seven hours now. She set off around 3.30pm UK time. A night crew has taken over support, meaning the kayaker has stood down and two ribs are out following her instead."

Then, after about 12 hours in the sea, just over half way, she ran into trouble and had to be pulled from the water due to severe jellyfish stings. She was then airlifted to hospital. Support group sources said that she had suffered an "enormous number of severe jellyfish stings" and was "slipping in and out of consciousness".

At 1.30pm today, the Bulletin received a message which said that she had been released from hospital and was awaiting a ferry back to Majorca. "She is healthy and was released in the morning. She appreciates very much the love and support from everyone, and before this happened she was strong and steady, in good spirits and there were lots of laughs! She’ll look forward to collecting hugs from everyone soon."

Unfortunately, the jellyfish proved too much of an obstacle, especially in the middle of the night with limited body protection. But this is not the end, just the beginning: she will be back.