Percy the Plesiosaur swims to Swanage to highlight plastic trash

During Swanage Carnival week anything goes and this year is no different with a visit expected from a plastic plesiosaur swimming across the bay chasing extreme swimmer Oly Rush – the human fish!

The event, called the Trash Tow was scheduled to take place in Bournemouth, but high winds forecast the event is now planned to take place in the shelter of Swanage Bay on Saturday 29th July 2023 – the first day of Swanage Carnival.

Oly Rush on a plastic plesiosaur
Project Planet Earth

Oly Rush with Percy the Plesiosaur

Swam the entire length of the Jurassic Coast

Oly, from Upton near Poole, is the fastest person to swim around the Isle of Wight and is the only person to have swum around Grand Cayman non-stop. He also swam the entire length of the Jurassic Coast in September 2020.

He’s also passionate about cleaning up our natural environment and uses his mammoth swims to highlight how much plastic waste is needlessly washing up on our beaches.

He can be regularly spotted along with his team from Project Planet Earth clearing rubbish from Chapman’s Pool near Worth Matravers.

Oly with plastic plesiosaur
Emily Endean

Oly swimming with Percy

Created from 600 plastic bottles

Now his latest project is to tow Percy the Plesiosaur, who’s 4.5 metres (15 foot) long, across Swanage Bay from 7 am until 7 pm, taking it in turns with other members of his team.

Percy was created by eco artist Glenn Martin from the Isle of Wight and is made up from 600 plastic bottles, fishing nets and other rubbish collected from local beaches. Some of his other thought-provoking sculptures, all made from beach waste, will also be on display in Swanage.

Outside The Mowlem along Shore Road, there will be a team from Project Planet Earth to explain what’s going on to any bewildered visitor!

Percy the Plesiosaur
Glenn Martin Sculptures
Oly with plastic plesiosaur
Emily Endean

The amazing floating sculpture is made from 600 plastic bottles collected from local beaches

“Percy the Plesiosaur will definitely turn heads”

Oly said:

“I am aiming to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans and Percy the Plesiosaur will definitely turn heads. When I pull her behind me, it will look as if she’s chasing me.

“She was made from plastic collected on beaches and highlights just how much pollution there is out there.

“In September, I am going to swim around the Greek island of Ithaca non-stop, which should take 24 hours. The Trash Tow is part of my training, which I’m able to do full time thanks to sponsors, Green Folk Recruitment.

“If everyone does a little bit, it will make a huge difference.”

Oly completes Jurassic Coast swim

Oly at Middle Beach in Studland in September 2020 after finishing swimming the entire length of the Jurassic coastline

School talks about plastic pollution

As well as doing extreme swims, Oly goes into schools to speak to youngsters about plastic pollution and its impact on our environment.

Plesiosaurs were marine reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs in the Jurassic period and became extinct about 50 million years ago.

The first fossil of a plesiosaur was found by Mary Anning in Lyme Regis in Dorset in 1823 and other fossil specimens (real ones – not plastic!) discovered along the Purbeck coastline are on display at The Etches Collection in Kimmeridge.

Further information

Watch a short film about cleaning up our coast

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