Ocean campaigner swims 1km along Arctic ice

Ocean advocate Lewis Pugh has undertaken a perilous one kilometre swim across a sheet of Arctic ice. The only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean in the world, the adventurer’s latest feat formed part of an upcoming documentary entitled Arctic Peril.

In water that was -0.7 degrees centigrade, Mr. Pugh, aged 47, described his latest swim as his most perilous yet, recalling how his body “started shutting down” after 900 metres.

Mr. Pugh and his team found damning evidence of environmental change before taking to the water; on reaching the High Arctic region prior to the swim, they found that the water there was 7 degrees warmer than it had been just over a decade earlier, when he had completed another swim there in 2005.

After completing his latest swim, Mr. Pugh was transferred to a hot shower where he stayed for close to an hour, in order for his body temperature to return to normal. Experts have said that, for those unaccustomed to the training that Mr. Pugh has undergone, the Arctic water temperatures would be fatal. Tim Noakes, a physiologist who has worked with the swimmer since 2003, said “Most people would die within a very short time”.

Mr. Pugh has been described as “the Edmund Hillary of swimming” and is also a United Nations Patron of the Seas, a title given to him by the UN in 2013. He hopes to continue raising awareness of the earth’s oceans, and the adverse human impact he has directly witnessed in ecosystems all over the world.

On his website, Mr. Pugh says “I’ve witnessed drastic changes in my lifetime — changes that have come about because of our actions. Why do I do what I do? I do it because I believe in protecting our fragile planet, in peace and in justice. I do it because it’s right. I do it because our souls need nature. And I do it as much for nature’s sake as for ours.”

Jasraj S Hothi

Friday 9th February, 2018

(Note: Lewis Pugh’s Artic swim took place in 2017)