Renowned British endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, has today completed the most southerly swim in human history – just 10 days after setting the record for the first time.
On this occasion, Lewis completed a 350 metre swim in the Bay of Whales, which lies in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic Ocean. The bay, which was named by Sir Ernest Shackleton due to the proliferation of killer whales in the area, represents the most southerly point where man could swim. It is impossible to swim any further south in the world.
Although Antarctic conditions are naturally hostile, Pugh’s achievements are made all the more remarkable given he completed the swim in conditions that were especially harsh. A sea temperature of -1 degrees, an a air temperature of minus 37 degrees Centigrade and a wind gusting at 40 knots (75 km/h) made for a hugely challenging and treacherous effort.
Speaking after his super-human undertaking, Lewis Pugh said: “The Bay of Whales is the most terrifying place I’ve ever swum. During the swim, a wave broke over my support boat, I took another stroke, and when I looked up, the seawater had frozen on my crew. They were caked in ice instantly – that’s how cold it was.”
Lewis is undertaking a series of death defying swims in the Antarctic Ocean to influence world leaders to make the Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Ross Sea is one of the most pristine and untarnished areas in the world and is under threat from human influences including commercial fishing and global warming. Lewis is particularly keen to appeal to Russia who, as well as having a distinguished history in Antarctic exploration, are presiding over The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – the body which can grant MPAs.
Talking of the importance of the area Lewis added: “The Ross Sea is a place I care deeply about. It’s the most pristine marine ecosystem left on Earth, with wildlife found nowhere else and holds great scientific importance – it is now being destroyed by industrial fishing.
“Our generation is driving species to extinction and irreversibly altering ecosystems – leaving our children with a planet that is unsustainable. I urge the 25 CCAMLR nations responsible for protecting Antarctica’s ocean to urgently aside the Ross Sea as a Marine Protected Area forever.”
Follow Lewis’s progress via his website, www.lewispugh.com Twitter @LewisPugh #5Swims and Facebook – Lewis Pugh.
For more information visit – www.lewispugh.com
NOTE: Each swim will be 1km with water temperatures expected to be between 0°C and minus 1.7°C. Each swim is expected to take about 20 minutes to complete.
Swim 1 – Campbell Island | 14 Feb
A long distance swim along Perseverance Harbour, a fjord in Campbell Island. The island, situated at 52º South, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a large colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses and three penguins species – Eastern Rockhoppers, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins.
Swim 2 – Cape Adare | 19 Feb
The first long distance swim around Cape Adare at 71º South. If successful, this swim will break the world record for the most southerly long distance swim ever undertaken. Cape Adare is the site of the first wintering by explorers on the Antarctic Continent. It’s also home to the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world. More than 250,000 pairs breed there.
Swim 3 – Cape Evans | 23 Feb
Cape Evans is situated at 77.6º South and is where Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the British explorer, built a hut before racing the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen to the South Pole in 1911. Tragically, Scott died on the journey back with 4 colleagues. Lewis will have the privilege of preparing to swim around Cape Evans, in this historic building, which is still much the same as it was left over 100 years ago.
Swim 4 – Bay of Whales | 2 March
This is the most southern swim possible (there is no open sea further south in the world) at the Bay of Whales at 78.5º South. This bay was named by explorer Sir Ernst Shackleton due to the large number of killer whales seen in the area.
Swim 5 – Peter I Island | 7 March
Lewis’ final swim will be at Peter I Island, which is in the Bellingshausen Sea at 69º South. This volcanic island is surrounded by pack ice for most of the year and is home to three seal species (Crab-eater, Southern-elephant, and the formidable Leopard Seal), is a breeding ground for southern fulmars, and is visited by Adélie and Chinstrap penguins.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Lewis Pugh:
Lewis William Gordon Pugh, is an ocean advocate, a maritime lawyer and a pioneer swimmer. He was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world, and he frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to their plight. Pugh is a leading figure in efforts to protect the oceans. In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and in 2013 the UN appointed him “Patron of the Oceans”.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean.
We would like to thank the following partners for making these swims possible:
Oak Foundation: http://www.oakfnd.org/
HRG Rennies Travel: http://www.renniestravel.com/