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An Unprecedented 120 km From Sfax To Djerba Island

Courtesy of WOWSA, Sfax, Tunisia.

Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia has trained long and hard to attempt the longest, toughest, most challenging swim of his career.

I have swum for 24 hours straight without any stops in 25m swimming pool in Tataouine. I crossed the English Channel in extreme weather and tidal conditions. I swam 1400 km along the entire coast of Tunisia in all seasons over the course of a year. I did icy swims in 1°C water in Barbara Lake and 2°5C water in Oued Mallegue Lake, both in Tunisia and a pulled a 1014 ton boat in the last of my Iron Swims. I am ready,” he explained about his planned 120 km (74.5-mile) crossing between Sfax and Djerba Island in Tunisia, scheduled to start on September 15th.

It may take me 3-4 days to swim 120 km from Sfax to Djerba – or from Djerba to Sfax – depending on the wind. I initially considered swimming in a shark cage, but after thinking of the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to swim without a shark cage despite the number of sharks in the Mediterranean Sea because the cage could cause injuries during my swim and I will not use of a Shark Shield.

The white sharks exist in the Mediterranean Sea in this area but I realized that I’m not aimed by shark as a prey in his feeding chain. My mental orientation will protect me. In my steady-state effort, my heart beat and pulsations will be quiet and friendly – and will not alert the sharks.

I will wear a stinger suit at night – this is a lesson learned from my Sicilian Channel Swim in 1995 – as I swim near the escort boat Aladin captained by Jalel Ghandri.

My support organization is composed of Houssine Ben Jmaa, Harbor Master of Marina Houmet Essouk Djerba as 120K Swim Operation Chief, Captain Mohamed Kilani, President General Director of CAMAR Logistic as the Regional Event Organizer for Sfax, Dr. Adel Mezdari, President of Ajim Red Crescent as the Regional Event Organizer for Djerba, Slim Sahloul, Head of Engineers of the Highway Sfax-Gabes-Medenine as the Coastal Event Coordinator, Arbi Essousi, Director of Influence Consulting as Media and Communication Head, Professor Dhaker Lahidheb, Cardio Department Head in Military Hospital of Tunis as the General Medical Supervisor with a group of doctors in Sfax from the Hedi Chaker Hospital, Habib Bourguiba Hospital and El Alyia Polyclinic, ATORECD Association in Monastir and Doctor Faouzi Gouga, Director of the International Polyclinic Houmet Essouk Djerba who will host me after my arrival. This organization is under the guidance of Malek Boujbel, the President General Director of Holiday Beach Djerba as the host of the finish ceremony. GRT Security will provide security throughout the event that will attract large crowds.

For more coordination and support redundancy, CAMAR Logistic ships will serve support roles to communicate between the escort boat, me, and the Regional Event organizers in Sfax and Djerba, and the Coastal coordinator.

The sea in the Gulf of Gabes has strong tidal currents and large swells when it becomes windy, but the scope and amount of support that I am receiving is large and includes the Minister of Sport, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport, the governorates and Commissaries of Sport and Tourism of Sfax and Mednine, the Regional Director of Health of Sfax and Mednine, the Municipalities of Sfax and Djerba, OMMP, APAL, Red Croissant of Djerba Ajim, Influence Consulting, Marina Homet Essouk, Aladin Boat, the Tunisian Armed Forces, Coast Guard and Civil Protection Units of Sfax and Djerba, Radisson Blu Hotel Djerba, Holiday Beach Djerba, Odyssée Zarzis, El Mouradi Menzel Djerba, Hasdrubal Thalassa Djerba, Traveltodo, Concorde Hammamet, Syfax Hotel Sfax ,Palm Azur Djerba Hotel, Babour Express, Confisserie Triki, ATORECD, SVR Laboratoires, Octopus, MediaFly, Digit-U, Horizon, and Polyclinic El Alya.”

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