Antarctic swim aims to highlight climate change

23 January 2020: An environmental campaigner planning an Antarctic swim to highlight the effects of climate change is relying on Inmarsat connectivity to spread his message around the world.

Man using BGAN 710 terminal against icy backdrop
Lewis Pugh is pictured in the Antarctic with a Cobham EXPLORER 710 terminal

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh, the United Nations’ first Patron of the Oceans, will brave the icy water to swim 1km across a newly-formed supra-glacial lake in East Antarctica – the culmination of years of training.

Just ahead of today’s challenge, he became the first person to swim under an ice sheet, spending eight minutes in a tunnel formed underneath the largest single mass of ice on Earth – clad only in swimming trunks.

Beautiful place

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Lewis described the tunnel as being every shade of blue. “It’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen in the whole world, in my whole life,” he said.

Man swimming through ice tunnel
Lewis Pugh is the first person to swim in a river under an Antarctic ice sheet

But with the ice sheet melting at an unprecedented rate, he also sent a message this week to world and business leaders meeting in Davos, calling on them to act on cutting carbon emissions without delay. “Change is happening, and fast.  We don’t have 50 years, or 20 years, or even 10 years to cut our carbon emissions. It has to happen now,” he said.

Despite the risks of swimming under such extreme conditions, Lewis said: “I’m utterly determined to show the world what’s happening here in East Antarctica and protect this last wilderness area.”

Broadband data

Inmarsat has provided Lewis and his team with two Cobham EXPLORER 710 BGAN terminals, offering him the broadest range of broadband voice and data capabilities, from keeping in touch with supporters at home, uploading images and reports to his website, to superior quality live broadcast video, even from the bottom of the world.

The supra-glacial lake swim is just the latest endurance challenge undertaken by the Lewis Pugh Foundation, which is calling for international consensus on creating Marine Protected Areas across 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

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