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Friday, November 16, 2018

Swimming At The Bottom Of The Earth

Courtesy of Nicolene Steynberg of Madswimmer, Antarctica.

14 swimmers from South Africa, Poland, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Italy, China, Bulgaria and Spain will participate in the first 1 km Ice Swim in Antarctica, led by International Ice Swimming Association's founder Ram Barkai.

The journey departed today, but the Ice Swim will be held between November 17th and 27th depending on the weather.

The swimmers include ice swimming world champion Petar Stoychev, Global Swimmer Diego López Dominguez, Madswimmer founder Jean Craven, Barkai, Wyatt Song, Samantha Whelpton and Clinton Le Sueur.

Craven is raising funds for children’s charities with this swim. The Antarctica swim is Part 1 of a dual series attempting ice swims at the extreme ends of the Earth - starting with this expedition at the South Pole and completing the series at the North Pole within the next year.

The aquatic adventurers will gather in Punta Arenas in the southernmost part of South America where they will meet up with a Canadian expedition cruise operator, One Ocean Expeditions, and board the expedition ship, the RCGS Resolute.

A 200m swim will be held before boarding the RCGS Resolute in order to acclimate and confirm all safety measures are in place.

The swim route is expected to be a 100m length along the ship with 5 loops starting from the ship and back.

The water temperature is expected to be 0°C (32°F) or less while four swimmers will be in the water at a single time, accompanied by two rubber rafts, four kayaks, and medical and safety staff wearing dry suits and floating devices who will be ready to jump in and rescue a swimmer if needed.

Dr. Sean Gottschalk is the expedition doctor and a specialist emergency physician with extensive experience in extreme swimming expeditions. He was the physician who accompanied Lewis Pugh on his Mount Everest swim.

The swimmers will be on a 13-day Antarctic Polar Marine Travelling Expedition where they will observe wildlife and the environment as well as do sea kayaking, onshore hiking, ice camping, whale watching, and learning from educational presentations by polar experts.

Craven explains, "Madswimmer will invest everything to showcase the human spirit and prove the impossible is possible when the goal is set at helping others. Come hell or cold water, the sight is set at the end of those 100m icy loops that will change underprivileged children’s lives.

The costs of the swim are covered by corporate sponsors and swimmers themselves.

Supporters’ contributions will therefore benefit children solely. To make a donation visit www.madswimmer.com

Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile
Depart the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas through the Straits of Magellan, bound for Antarctica.

Days 2-3: towards Antarctica
On a southerly course for Antarctica, they pass through the Drake Passage while learning from onboard experts on the approach to the coastline of Antarctica, icebergs and whale sightings.

Days 4-5: South Shetland Islands and Antarctica
Reach the South Shetland Islands and enter the McFarlane Strait which separates Greenwich and Livingstone Islands. Half Moon Island or nearby Yankee Habour are possible landing sites. A short way to the southwest lies Deception Island, a flooded volcanic caldera. Overnight, they cross the Bransfield Strait and will find themselves along the coastline of continental Antarctica.

Days 6-9: Gerlache Strait in Antarctica
With Zodiac excursions, onshore hikes and camping, wildlife observation, sea kayaking, and whale watching, they travel as far south as ice conditions permit with the hopes to navigate as far as Neko Harbour and into the Errera Channel.

Day 10: South Shetland Islands
They may land on Aitcho Island or several other sites in Half Moon Island, or Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point as they navigate north into the Drake Passage as they head back to South America.

Days 11-12: Drake Passage
On the return back to South America, they will approach the Beagle Channel.

For more information, visit www.madswimmer.com and www.internationaliceswimming.com .

Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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