Lewis Pugh, 48, just did something that even most adventurous souls wouldn’t dare! This former lawyer turned extreme swimmer completed ‘world’s most dangerous swim’ in the Antarctic Ocean, where the average temperate of the water mostly remains two degree Celsius. He began swimming at around 2 PM in the afternoon, off the coast of King Edward Cover close to Grytviken in South Georgia and completed the one-kilometer lap in 19 minutes exact. Just in his Speedo shorts, this man braved the icy cold waters of the ocean and completed a task considered impossible by many! He was also named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in 2014.
Later he was quoted saying “I hate swimming in ice cold water. I swim in the water to carry a message.” Pugh being a United Nations Patron of the Oceans has devoted his entire life in spreading awareness about issues facing the oceans of the world and seeking help to protect them. The swimmer risked a lot of dangerous conditions including hypothermia during this task but thankfully nothing serious happened and he was able to complete without being harmed. Pugh described his swim in the Antarctic water as “the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.”
His team of supporters was present during that time and they used social media to stream live video of his swimming. During this endeavor, Pugh met two elephant seals in the middle of the journey. These sea animals weigh around 8,000 pounds and swimming through them was quite a risk which also resulted in the drop in swimming speed.
It got a little dramatic as maintaining body temperature in such cold water is quite difficult. But Pugh maintained his calm and displayed his physical strength. “There’s nothing more frightening than swimming past a beach with elephant and Antarctic fur seals. I was praying they would stay right there,” Pugh said following the swim.
This endeavor came as the UK Government plans to protect the South Sandwich Islands, where a little bit of fishing activity is allowed until now. However, the government is reconsidering and it might ban fishing completely in the region to protect the sea and marine life. Simon Reddy, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project in the United Kingdom, said, “This is one of the most unique and most pristine environments in the world”. He also said that around 10 percent of the world’s penguin population live here along with myriad endangered marine mammals.