Andy's Big Splash: Blue Peter Special Blue Peter

Andy's Big Splash: Blue Peter Special

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The Pacific Ocean - largest ocean on our planet. One of the most


dramatic environments on earth. And home to some of the most unusual


creatures known to man. And it is here I am taking on the


biggest challenge of my life and facing my fear of deep, open water


by swimming across one of the deepest stretches of ocean on earth.


But getting here has not been easy. Three months ago I could barely


swim a few months in the safety of a pool, so this challenge seems


insane -- barely swim a few lengths. In fact, it could even cost me my


Just under three months ago when we first started this, I never thought


this challenge was actually going to happen, and now I find myself on


a boat, and in an hour's time I'm going to be swimming the furthest I


have ever swum in one of the deepest parts of the ocean on this


earth. I still can't believe I'm doing this.


For three-quarters of the Earth is covered with water. It might look


flat on the surface, but take all the water away and beneath the seas


you will find mountain ranges that rival even the tallest peaks on


land. There are also massive valleys, the deepest of which are


in the Pacific Ocean. I will swim five miles across one called the


Palau Trench, which has hundreds of miles long. At its lowest point it


is over 8000 metres deep, over 10 times the height of the tallest


building on earth and more than 80 times the height of Big Ben. I am


hoping to be the first person ever to swim across the deepest point.


But I'm not just doing this for myself, I want to help inspire


other non- swimmers as well. It is all part of the Big Splash, a BBC


campaign to help people like me get into swimming.


Since I have been on Blue Peter I have taken on all kinds of


challenges and faced a lot of my fears, like hides. -- high 80 s.


But my fear of deep, open water has always remained and it petrified me.


It has stopped me from doing things like the swim on our summer trip to


Turkey, my fear held me back. Then I met my trainer Dave, who made me


realise I had to face up to my fear. realise I had to face up to my fear.


Three months ago I could barely swim. It was frustrating and it


showed. Come on, let's carry on. With help from Dave and lots of


training in my own time, things started to improve. But no matter


how good my technique was, one thing kept holding me back.


I just hate deep water, I really, really do. I've also exposed, there


is nothing to hold on to. -- I feel so exposed. I see myself from a


point of view of a shark or something, just looking up Abbey is


dangling feet. When Dave made me swim in a lake, I was almost ready


to throw in the towel. I really don't know if I want to do


it, if I'm honest. Because this is possibly my deepest fear ever. But


with the help of a psychologist, I was getting to grips with my fear.


A open-water, deep water... And with Dave's help, my swimming


was improving. 29 seconds, excellent! 29, well done.


By May, I was ready for my toughest challenge yet, the Great Salford


Swim, a mile long competitive event in a former Ship Canal.


When you think only a few weeks ago he could barely swim, it is


terrific. With 100 metres left to go, all the pain I have experienced


over the past three months is suddenly worth it.


Yeah, boy! You feel that?! Mate! That was so good! I never would


have thought I would do that! Come But my journey is far from over.


All this whims I have done so far have been in fresh water. -- all


the swims I have done so far. This will be in the sea, meaning waves,


currents and salt. This is open water, you have the sea swirling,


the currents. These are my fears being realised in front of me right


now. You are out of your comfort zone. You can do this, you can do


this, you can do this, you can do this.


I can't do it, I can't do it! AU, it is cold!


As I swim away from the boat, my fear starts to return. Moments


later, things take a turn for the worse.


I don't like this at all! Even Dave is concerned. Just think


about your stroke. I want to come back on the boat. I really don't


like it. Do you want somebody to swim with you? Can I come out,


please?! He has lost a bit of confidence, I think, panicked a bit.


It has got to him a bit. I was just like... I was just swishing around


and I just felt I was not going anywhere. You have to get control


of your mind, your mind is playing tricks with you. It is no different


from in the lake. I have every confidence you can do it. Let's do


I decide to give it one more try, but this time with a swimming


companion, a local lifeguard. think he is putting on a brave face,


if I'm honest, and he is really nervous. He has to think a bit more


about what he needs to do, rather than just thrashing up and down.


There is more to my challenge than just getting the swimming right. I


could be in the water for up to six hours, so eating, drinking and


going to the toilets have to be done while treading water.


Having someone in the water is really helping, but I mean to prove


I can do this on my own. Alice, we're going to bring you back in,


please! Andy, you are all on your I get down to the task in hand and,


thankfully, the time just flies by. Andy, well done. Swim back towards


the boat. I can't believe I have just done that. Over two hours, it


shows what you can do. The second half of this is about insurance,


believing in yourself and focusing on what you can do. Grab me some


fish, I fancy some chips as well! was worried when he started but he


did brilliant, he got his head around it and conquered his fear,


he proved he can do it, amazing, he swam over three miles. I have


earned a fish dinner but I want to know more about the fish I will


swim with on my challenge. My final swim takes place in one of


the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean, so to find out more, I have


come to the ocean lab at the University of Aberdeen. They are


world leaders in deep-sea exploration. Dr Alan Jamieson is


one of the few people who have been there to explore the Pacific


trenches. What kind of stuff is down there? This really concerns me,


anybody who goes into deep water want to know what is at their feet.


There are probably more things than you would think. We have found


fiche -- fish living as deep as a thousand metres, beyond that we


tend to find a small type of shrimp, they are called scavengers. If you


present there with any food they will turn up in huge numbers under


bow it very quickly. Like human beings, for instance? Yes. You are


not just saying that? They will pretty much eat anything you


present a with, like you, for example. Do you want to see some of


this footage that we have obtained? This was a couple of years ago, a


smell fish, nearly 8000 metres. -- a snail fish. That is disgusting! I


will regret asking this, but I hear you guys have some actual creatures


here from the depth of the sea? Would you like to see one? Yes...


Maybe... This is a fish from the deep-sea


called a lizard fish. Look at the jaws on that thing! It looks


prehistoric. This is quite common in the deep-sea. Imagine one of


them coming at you! Are you sure it is dead? Absolutely. They tend to


eat small shrimp and other fish, they live on the bottom. More than


likely below my feet? Cheers. No time to dwell on sea creatures,


it is time to leave for the Pacific Ocean.


Because of the risk involved in what I'm doing, Dave and I will be


joined by Amy, a skilled expedition doctor. Lots could go wrong so I am


glad she is here just in case. There is a whisker of sun exposure,


heat related illness, dehydration, we have been informed about the


various sharks and deadly jellyfish that might accompany him on his


swim, there is a huge amount that could go wrong. Our destination is


the tiny island of Po Lyle, population just 20,000. It is one


of a string of islands which make up a region called Micronesia. The


islands are effectively the top of a huge underwater mountain range


and it is so far away it takes well over a day to get there.


We have finally arrived, let's just say it is not so bad on the eyes!


That is my view. Andy Akinwolere is feeling good. For now, anyway.


The waters are about 26 Celsius, so what is the temperature -- twice


the temperature of the sea back home. See that arch? That is 1000


metres. Let's do this. It is so warm, it is lovely! I tell you what,


it beats the English Channel, put it that way!


This is only my second swim in the ocean, but it could not be more


different to the sea back home. It is a real confidence booster.


Andy. I'd say about halfway, Andy. You are about half way. You are


looking really good. This practice is only about a quarter of what


I'll be doing in my final swim. It feels easy but I know when I am out


at sea, things could be very different. For a start, the water


beneath me will be five miles deep. I want you to head to the tip of


this island on the left-hand side. Andy, just head for the arch,


straight through the middle. that is where my troubles begin.


I have caught my feet on the coral and the rocks just below the


surface, and it hurts. This ain't good. I didn't estimates


just how shallow that was, because I was so used to swimming in the


deep water, and before I knew it, I was on the coral and the rocks. I


didn't even feel like I cut anything, it has shredded my skin.


Back on the boat and a meat checks the cuts on my feet. Shall we give


that to rinse and spray it? About a mile-and-a-half, use one today.


That feels good. -- about a mile and a half, you swam today. It is


more than just choral I have to contend with. In the open ocean I


might come across all kinds of animals, Dave wants me to get used


to swimming with some. I told you this lake was famous for jellyfish.


What would you save for swimming in them? You are crazy, I am not


getting stung. What have I said they do not sting? I will have to


trust you, but if I get stung you owe me. I promise you.


Jellyfish Lake is one of the -- a saltwater lake which has come out -


- has become cut off from the sea and is home to 20 million jellyfish.


Most jellyfish have stinging tentacles, but these feed on small


plants called algae, and because they are cut off from the sea they


have no predators, so over time they have evolved to become totally


Despite the reassurances I am still scared. This feels just a little


I am starting to panic. Quickly I find the whole thing too much and I


have to get out. Today we went out into jelly fish lake. I completely


freaked out. I think it was just a step too far. I now enjoy swimming


and being in the water but I've realised than when something comes


close to me like a jelly fish I completely freak out. That is


something that I need to work on because in the ocean there is a


high chance that there could be jellyfish or some other creature.


And that really on nerves me. one thing and he needs to improve


on his he has to control his mind. That really shook him up and that


is something that we could encounter on the great swim. This


is only a small place and word has got out about my challenge. I am


joined by a very special guest. Even the local television station


is interested. And our journey is given a traditional blessing to


wish as good luck. With the islanders blessing I feel


ready to set sail. The best time for my swim his early morning, so


we need to leave at night. It is now dark and we are on the boat out


to Palau Trench. It is the first time I have been on a boat like


this and it is pitch black. We are miles and miles away from any kind


of civilisation or bland. I am really scared. But I want to take


this on because I know when I finish it I am going to feel so


good. This is different. This is really


different. I have never woken up to just their ocean. It puts what


we're doing in perspective. That is the massive. I will beat this tiny


person trying to swim across. It is a bit daunting. I had better get


some breakfast. My swim across the Palau Trench, one of the deepest


stretches of ocean on earth, it is five miles long. David thinks it


could take up to six hours but I'm hoping it will be less. First, some


rules. You are not allowed to touch the boat at all. Even when drinking


or eating, you have to stay away. What will happen if there are


sharks, can I get on the boat then? We will let him on the boat.


there anything else I might encounter? There are tiny creatures


and if you got stung by a group of them that is potentially lethal.


This is not what I need first thing in the morning! My biggest worry is


not about fatigued but about what happens if he sees actually fish or


any other creature. Get yourself ready. This is it. This is it. As I


went to enter at the water, day reminds me of what I have achieved


in the last few months. Then I started I could barely swim a


couple of lengths in a pool. But then before I knew what I swam a


mile in Salford. Now I have facing my final and most terrifying swim


yet. A five-mile stretch in some of the deepest ocean on earth. I


cannot delay it any further. With Dave waiting in the safety boat it


is now or never. A dodgy the Lyric! He got in the


water really confident. That is a good sign. There's just one thing


on my mind - keeping my Fiat under control. He has been swimming about


25 minutes. In five minutes and will stop him and give him some


drink and food. We are just going to have a tea


break. This is my first rest break. I must tread water and not touch


the boat. I'm just 30 minutes in and have only Tom three-quarters of


So far I have not met any jelly fish. The Sharks are staying away


and I'm not thinking about just how deep it is. The idea is to have


short breaks for food and drink throughout the serene. Time for


another. We are going to have a break. Well done. How does it feel


to have five miles of water underneath you? I don't want to


think about it. I have been in the water just fair an hour. I still


have over three miles to go. I'm not even halfway yet.


It is starting to rain. It will not make any difference to him.


Suddenly it feels as if I'm making no progress at all. We have just


heard that the current has changed direction which would explain why


he is not making much progress at the moment. That is a bit worrying


if I am honest. I am not going to relay it to him at the moment


because it could demoralise him. keep going until my break. Feeling


all right? A bit tired. I have swum a long way, I'm three miles into my


big challenge. With two miles still to go and my body aching, Dave has


something he thinks could spurred me on. He have got some good luck


messages from your fans. You can do it, we love you. Blue Peter's


number one fan - you can do it. Belief in yourself. During your


messages of support is an nice reminder that as well as my coach,


you guys at home are right behind me. Time is flying by and luckily


the current is back in my favour. I have got a rhythm going and it is


not long before I have some good news. One mile to go, you are doing


fabulous. Just finish this. Just one mile until the finish. On its


own it is a distance I know I can finish but it comes after having


already swamped for four miles. This will take every bit of energy


that I have left. I am retired and the cramped is


setting in but I know that completing this swim is all about


mind over matter. With 500 metres to go, I see the


finish line and I really go for it. I am feeling quite emotional. So


many people doubted that he could do it. They said, he will never do


Yes! Get me on the boat, now! done. After all that swimming my


legs are a bit wobbly. Fantastic. That was immense. There were


moments when my mind started to play tricks on me. You did a


brilliant job. This is the World Open Water Swimming Association.


Beware the first person ever to swim across the deepest stretch of


the Palau Trench. You have to world records for stub that is amazing.


Absolutely amazing. You guys at home, get out there, go for and


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