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Ocean advocate Lewis Pugh swam with icebergs to call for a marine protected area in Antarctica

Lewis Pugh, Patron of the Oceans for the United Nations, has completed five Antarctic swims intended to jolt Russia into backing his call for a giant marine protected area (MPA) encompassing the entire Ross Sea. The trouble is, Russia has vetoed the idea for each of the past four years.

Whale Tail

In the stretch of sea nearest to the South Pole where the air temperature was minus 37C, and dressed solely in a pair of swimming trunks, Lewis explains that the water he was jumping into “is so dense because it’s about to freeze.” Salt water freezes at minus 1.8C. It was minus 1C when he got in.

The idea was to swim a kilometre – “a proper symbolic swim” – but immediately he could see the water freezing on his arms as he lifted them for each stroke: “I get to 330 metres and I realise if I carry on any longer I’m actually going to lose my hands right here.” It took an hour in a hot water shower to get his core body temperature back up to normal.

Lewis Pugh post-Ross Sea swim - Photo from

When his cruise ship docked in Argentina, he flew immediately to Moscow to press the case for a Ross Sea protection area. He gave a packed press conference, and met with Sergei Shoigu, defence minister and head of the Russian Geographical Society, who Lewis says was warm and receptive. To the point that Russia might not veto a Ross Sea MPA for the fifth year in a row? “I’m hoping they’re not going to.”

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For more information on how to book Lewis Pugh as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Pioneering swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh to undertake “world’s most dangerous swim” in Antarctica

Lewis Pugh speakerAs a follow-up to his successful Seven Swims In The Seven Seas For 1 Reason  a summer time series of marathon swims in the warm waters of the Seven Ancient Seas – Lewis Pugh, Patron of the Oceans for the United Nations, is heading to the bottom of the planet to do another series of unprecedented swims.

The purpose of The Five Swims in Antarctica for 1 Reason is to have Antarctica’s Ross Sea declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Ross Sea is one of the most incredible and diverse areas left on earth; Lewis describes it as “a polar Garden of Eden.” However, it is tragically now threatened by overfishing and climate change.

His extremely tough 1 km swims are in waters between -1.7ºC and 0ºC (28.9ºF and 32ºF), where he may encounter orcas, leopard seals and colossal squid. Three of the swims will be the most southern ever undertaken. If you look at the map below, you will see there is no water any further south.

Lewis Pugh - Antarctica Swim

Afterwards, Lewis will be going to Russia to meet President Putin to encourage him to back this Marine Protected Area (Russia is currently chair of the organisation responsible for setting up protected areas in Antarctica). Follow Lewis on Twitter for live updates.

For more information on how to book Lewis Pugh as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

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