Swimming in Antarctica – for MPAs and Peace

Lewis-Pugh-AntarcticaLewis Pugh, “human polar bear” and U.N. Patron of the Oceans, is giving a BBC interview about his recent quite terrifying swims in Antarctica in minus degree waters chased by sea lions, and about his goal to raise international awareness and encourage the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in and around the Ross Sea. He is also asking:

“As we seem to be sleepwalking into another cold war, can we use the (protection of the) waters around Antarctica and the Ross Sea as a bridge for building peace elsewhere in the world?”

lewis-pugh-antarktis_620x349During his Antarctic expedition in February/March he set a new record for the most southerly swim in history, near Cape Adare in -1.7°C waters (where salty sea water starts to freeze) and -37°C air temperature, wearing nothing than a speedo, swim cap and goggles.

Read more about his “speedo diplomacy” visiting the Kremlin, his vision of ocean conservation as a positive influence on international relations and details about his Antarctica campaign and other expeditions on → his blog and on lewispugh.com/lewis-pugh-sets-sights-on-russia/
(Fotos: Kelvin Trautman)

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Dover March 7th/8th – CS&PF Channel Dinner and Sunday Dip

After the Channel Dinner in Dover on March 7th, crowds of swimmers enjoyed the Sunday morning sun and, braving chilly air and water temps, invaded the sparkling Channel waters in the harbour – lead by CS&PF President Nick Adams and King of the Channel and CS&PF Hon. Secretary Kevin Murphy.

crowds Kevin1entering-the-water

sparkling Kevin-MurphyVasanti-dover-2015

 

Mayorbirthdayned-cliffEven the Mayor, Cllr Pamela Brivio and her husband watched and took photos. They were quite amazed at the wide smiles and glowing faces of the swimmers coming out of the freezing element, and the general joyful atmosphere of this quite international family gathering.

Enjoy some more of my pics on the CS&PF-Website: http://cspf.co.uk/article/92/swimmers-take-to-the-sea-to-clear-their-heads

I went to the CS&PF Dinner to represent our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and our 3 swims in 2014: two EC solos by Scottish Karteek Clarke (solo no 11) and Dover-Heidelberg English Channel-triathlete Angikar Djordjevik from Serbia (who was supposed to come but forgot to extend his visa!), plus the New Zealand-Czech “Sri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee” girls relay, who were all part of the annual honourees. Lucky Peter Hücker won the coveted guaranteed entry to the Zurich Lake Marathon Swim in 2016 in the raffle – congratulations!  On Monday we met with the Mayor again, together with two British and Welsh friends to discuss to an upcoming peace project.

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New Year’s Greetings from Croatia

Sea-peace-600As a child I loved swimming and snorkling in the Adriatic sea in Croatia when we used to go there on holidays with my grandparents. After so many years, it was a very nice experience to spend the New Year’s holidays of 2014/15 on the spectacular Croation coast together with Peace-Run-Dobrovnikour team, including friends and a number of English Channel girls and boys from literally all over the world – New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, Europe… Meditation, swimming (outside temps down to below freezing for a few days,  water around 14°C), running along the scenic coast, Ston-Walls-Iceland-New-Zealand-GermanyPeace Run activities in Dubrovnik (UNESCO world heritage) and at the Ston Walls as part of local races, a Song of the Souls concert and lots of fun activities like a swim-run, a treasure hunt and some sightseeing made this holiday quite memorable. Apart from a few rainy and quite stormy days we were blessed with lots of sunshine and calm seas. (We were actually unable to land in windy Dubrovnik even after couple of attempts by the pilot – left and right of me people were using their sickness bags, but I felt fine and protected, surprisingly, with a handful of other teammembers on board. So we had to be diverted to Split, which resulted in a special 3 hour bus trip around midnight down along the moonlit coast to our hotel in Orasac.)

The run-swim (it was too cold to start with the swim and run in wet clothes) at the end of our stay was such great fun – people were even allowed to walk in the water just to get as many as possible to participate. The more adventurous and hardened swimmers chose the long course out to the other beach and back. For quite a few it was pure self-transcendence to get into the chilly water – but they ended up loving it!

Here a few more impressions:

Sunset-700wild-sea-700Abhejali-Vasanti-600Temp-600swim1-600      swimrun-600 Dyutimati-600seascape-600seascape2-600Sunset-red-700Orangen-600Songs-600

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English Channel girls relay honouring 50 years of service

Video-English-Channel-Relay-2014

To honour our teacher Sri Chinmoy’s 50 years of peace service to the world, 4 female members of our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team chose another English Channel self-transcendence adventure. On Sept. 17th, at 12:42 p.m. they embarked on their 16 hour 34 min. long journey to France.  With lots of inner and outer support again from around the world,  Harita from New Zealand, Abhejali (several Zurich lakes, EC relay 2009, EC solo 2010, MIMS 2012, Gibraltar Straits 2013, ), Jayalata and Ritadyumna (EC relay 2009, breaststroker) from Czech Republic and their two  enthusiastic and experienced helpers (Bahula from New York and Haribala from Zlin) were lucky to have the weather gods on their side again and enjoy a great time – before, after and even at times during the swim.

Team2

Victory! The flags are flying at Varne Ridge Caravan Park!

While a solo swim is of course much more demanding, a relay has its own challenges – like being cold and seasick (in spite of pills and patches) on the boat and maybe unable to eat or drink in between 3-4 sets of 1 hour swims and having to dive back into black and choppy cold water at night etc. But the experience of teamwork is even more special in a relay – and it can be a nice stepping stone for the next sized challenge, the solo. FinishSri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee Team at Varne RidgeThe girls were in good hands with Mike Oram on Gallivant, one of the top EC swim pilots, who has led several of our team members across already, his co-pilot James Willi and crew.

I was very happy they were able to swim during the few days I was visiting Dover, so we could swim a little in the harbour, be excited and celebrate together. It would not be surprising to see another solo develop out of this relay in the near future!

Self-transcendence
Is my
Ever-blossoming goal.

Sri Chinmoy

Here the →  link to the slide show-video on vimeo again.

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Angikar finished in Heidelberg 9/11 around noon

First of all: HUGE CONGRATULATIONS – to Angikar and the whole team!

Just a few glimpses for now – more to come.

Sept. 6: swimming on the best swim day of the year in unbelievable conditions – looks like liquid silver (click for video):

Swim-Sept-6

 

 

Heidelberg Castle

A very happy Angikar with the Serbian flag – and Heidelberg Castle in the back

 

More photos  of the swim → here

 

 

 

 

Being busy with many other things, Angikar`s training had actually been quite limited – mainly to swimming. However, his absolute faith – and the inner and outer support from friends and teammates all over the world – carried him through.  One “mantra” or idea that inspired and helped Angikar right from the beginning tremendously, was a quote by his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy:

Peace Tree Heidelberg

Angikar with local and main helpers, finishing at the Ethnological Museum at the Gingko Peace Tree planted in 2001 with the current mayor of Heidelberg

Peace Tree Ethnological Museum Heidelberg

Two EC-Triathlons: Dover-Aachen 2010 (right), Dover-Heidelberg 2014 (left), and 4 EC solos and 3 EC relays in one photo

We are all truly unlimited,
If we only dare to try
And have faith.
Sri Chinmoy

Interestingly, to the day 29 years ago, back in 1985, after our first two team members successfully swam the English Channel, Sri Chinmoy commented:

“Yesterday`s impossibility has surrendered to today’s reality. But this reality also has to be transcended… Self-transcendence is a very special kind of perfection in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme.” – Sri Chinmoy, Sept. 11, 1985

 

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Angikar made it! And is on his way via Brussels and Aachen to Heidelberg

Map-FinishTeammate Angikar Sasa Djordjevic (43), first EC soloist from Serbia in 2010, just finished his 2nd English Channel swim in 18 h 41 min – faster than his 2010 solo. He is now being delivered to Calais for some well-deserved rest before he will get on his bike on Sunday morning. (See his swim route on the left.)

 

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Otto Thaning, new EC age record at 73 (photo credit twitter Lewis Pugh)

Map-to-CalaisJust a bit earlier today a new age record was established: 73 year old heart surgeon Dr. Otto Thaning from South Africa became the eldest English Channel swimmer – breaking the old record by about 3 years in 12 hours 52 min (Otto was scheduled to swim in 2012 at age 72 but the weather did not cooperate then. It is amazing and extremely inspiring to see him come back to fulfil his dream!). The breaststroke swimmer Tony Baley with Anastasia is also heading towards Calais – but still  swimming (after 20 hours!). He finally finished after 25 h 56 min!

Victory flags are flying at Varne Ridge

Flag-Varne-Ridge2- the Serbian flag for Angikar and the South African flag for age record breaker Otto Thaning, in front of one of the rows of successful Channel swim plaques.  Such a special service by Dave and Evelyn at such a special place for Channel swimmers and aspirants – thanks so much!

Update Monday, 8th: As of Monday, Angikar has passed Brussels and covered over 1/3 of his bike route. They had some logistical problems and he took some more rest. Expected to reach Aachen tonight.

Dover-Heidelberg triathlon route Angikar 2014 - on his bike leg right now

Angikar`s planned Dover-Heidelberg Channel Triathlon route – on his bike leg right now (Sunday, Sept. 7)

Update Wednesday, 10th: He finished biking in Bingen late last night and started running at 2:30 a.m. this morning. One Serbian helper had to leave, but now a local helper from Heidelberg ist also with him. At 10:30 p.m. he still has 50 km to go. But the weather is fine and there is a beautiful full moon. Slow and steady wins the race! He will finish on Sept. 11th – the anniversary day of my first EC-triathlon attempt in 2008, when I was pulled out of the water hypothermic. And his start on Sept. 6th was the finish day of my shorter EC triathon Dover-Aachen in 2010.  Things are evolving very nicely!

He told me he is carrying the Peace Torch (previously World Harmony Torch) with him and is dedicating every stroke, pedal and step of his “Self-Transcendence Challenge” to peace and the European Peace Run 2014, which will end in the capital of his country, Serbia/Belgrade, on Oct. 7/8th.

Also, he will be able to write a book just about the challenges leading up to the start, and another one about the various challenges en route – like locking up the bikes during van-dinner, misplacing the key and calling the police etc.

Angikar and Peace Torch in 2010

Angikar and Peace Torch in 2010 at the start of his 1st EC solo

 

What gives life its value,
If not its inner cry
For self-transcendence?
- Sri Chinmoy

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Angikar attempting to conquer the English Channel – again – and more…

Angikar-6-1-Sept-5b

Screenshot about 2 p.m. Dover time. Below you will find the link to the tracker – the green arrow is Gallivant. http://cspf.co.uk/tracking#

At 5 a.m. this morning (Sept. 6) Angikar, Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team member from Serbia, with pilot boat Gallivant/James Willi and helpers set off from famous Shakespeare Beach in Dover, together with an armada of other pilot boats and their solo or relay swimmers, in an attempt to conquer the English Channel a second time (his first solo was Aug. 8, 2010, in 19 h 24 min, followed by an EC relay Sept. 2010) – this time as part of a personal EC triathlon. It is the first day of the spring tides, with a bit more current, but the weather conditions are looking great.

Angikar and his helper Aryavan

Angikar and his helper Aryavan at Shakespeare beach in 2010

His goal will be Dover-Heidelberg – a long cherished dream, which might be manifested soon!  He will have a short rest in Calais, than get on his bike on Sunday and Monday for 560 km through Brussels and Aachen along the Rhine to Bingen, followed by a short rest again, and then running 3 marathons to Heidelberg. Good vibes and lots of inner support is very welcome! The whole project will take a few days. More updates to follow.

Here you can follow the tracker (the green arrow is his boat, Gallivant, if you click on the arrow and then on “latest track”, you can see the course due to the currents – the boats always try to go straight, but you get swept into a curve): http://cspf.co.uk/tracking#

Update 7:50 p.m. Heidelberg time:

Channel is pancake flat – here a breaststroker stroking away with Anastasia:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=357602904397132

And this is the current position of the boats in the Channel – Angikar green arrow:

Position around 7 p.m. Dover time

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Lewis Pugh: Seven Swims – Seven Seas – for 1 Reason

Vietnam Beach - Nha TrangOn my trips around the world I so often wondered what will happen to our oceans with increasing pollution via plastic and other garbage and reckless industrial overfishing that also destroys corals and other sealife. Beaches, seabeds and the water itself are losing their pristine beauty, the sea and its inhabitants are suffering in many ways. Before swimming Gibraltar in 2012 we watched a film about how endangered not only whales and dolphins are in the straits, but how bluefin tuna is on the verge of extinction being caught by industrial fishing boats even on their way to spawn in the mediterranean. Local fisherman are losing their livelihoods. Similar situations can be found all over the world, where catches don’t serve to feed the hungry but the well-nourished, not serving the need of people but rather their greed (Einstein). Today, to work for a peaceful world also has to include taking care of our environment and our resources – including, very importantly, the oceans, which cover over 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the water of our blue planet.

Seven-seasSo when environmental campaigner, UN Patron of the Oceans, North Pole and Everest swimmer Lewis Pugh got ready for his new expedition to help preserve our oceans and to highlight the need for the creation of marine protected areas, Peace Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu blessed him and told him:  “You’re not a swimmer, you’re a peace campaigner.” And explained:

“When you damage the environment, you create conditions ripe for conflict. When you protect the environment, you bring peace.”

Lewis new project happening right now till the end of August is his Seven Seas Expedition – a series of long distance swims in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea and a final 100 km staged swim in the North Sea with the mission “to inspire people around the world to protect and preserve our oceans, and all that live in them, for a peaceful and sustainable future.”

And he is inviting everyone to GET INVOLVED - in whichever way you feel inspired. Like with the Peace Run – every little step or action counts. Each of us CAN make a difference. Because we are all connected.

On August, 28-29th, Lewis finished his last of the 7 Sea Swims:

60 km in 2 sets from South End in the North Sea up the Thames to Thames Barrier, London,UK in 8hrs and 12 minutes in 2 swims (with the incoming tide).

Here is a very deep and touching summary of his swim experiences and a call to action to protect our oceans. He says:

“I’ve experienced some things I will never forget. And seen some things I wish I could erase from my memory, but which will haunt me for the rest of my days…” continue:  http://lewispugh.com/our-fight-for-a-fighting-chance/-swims

Lewis Pugh 7 Swims7 Seas for MAPs

Lewis Pugh swimming an an MAP (Marine Protected Area) in the Red Sea, and in a non-protectd area during his 7 Swims in7 Seas (Photo: Kelvin Trautman)

 

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Karteek and the washing machine – EC solo no 11!

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Karteek’s wim track – courtesy CS & PF

Karteek-6-day-race

At the 6-day race, N.Y., April 2014

After a few years away from the English Channel, exploring other (cheaper) open water swim adventures across Scottish lochs and firths, then back crewing for our teammate Adriano from Brazil who “conquered” the English Channel in July 2013, and completing his first 6-day footrace  in April 2014, Scottish “King of the Channel” Karteek Clarke felt ist was time again for the “real thing” this year – another EC solo. He was booked for the tide starting July 20th, but as is so often the case, there was a lot of waiting involved, weather and tides not quite cooperating the way they were supposed to, with the added challenge of having to switch his pilot last minute. Karteek finally got his chance to swim on July 30th, on a windy spring tide – and an opportunity to enter new territory, timewise!

Spring tides and wind over tide combined to make it his longest swim so far – 19 hours 01 min.  He will post a longer story soon on his blog.  Here some of his first remarks about the swim:

“I felt super strong at the beginning and it seemed it would be a fast swim, but then it was a ‘washing machine’ all the way and I could never get into a proper stroke. Also it was on a spring tide, which is probably fine if you have flat calm conditions, but it made the end hard as you can see on the map – I thought we were going into the bay of Wissant, but then I saw two huge ferries between me and the beach (which is where they go near Calais) and then Devashishu, my helper, told me we were next to Calais!  So we just made it in, I think.  It was great to do the Channel again though. Mike Oram, my boat pilot, was really great – very helpful and professional – I could not imagine a better pilot.  Maybe I needed to have the experience of knowing I can swim for 19 hours! I will write up more on my blog in a while.”

There is only one dream
That will always be perfect
In your lifetime,
And that is the dream
Of self-transcendence.
- Sri Chinmoy

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Around the block in 52 days – CBS reports on the 3100 mile race in N.Y.

CBS-3100
Great coverage for a great bunch of world elite runners on → CBS news

The 18th edition of the annual Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race of New York – called ‘The Mount Everest of ultramarathons’ by The New York  Times – started on June 15th and will end on August 6. Of the 14 runners, the first ones already finished, in first place Sarvagata Ukrainsky (from Ukraine), who has run the race for the 4th time now, followed by Yuri Trostenyuk in 2nd place in his 2nd 3100 mile race.  Vasu will finish in 3rd place in his 3rd race!  For Pranjal Milovnik in 4th place, it is his 10th edition of the race. And for Stutisheel (Ukraine) in 5th place it will be his 8th finish. (See → result details.)

3100-miles-girls

From left to right: Jayasalini Abramovskikh (RU), Sarah Barnett (AUS), Nidhruvi Zimmerman (A) – still happy after about 36 days of running over 2 marathons (50-60 miles or more) daily!

I am particularly impressed, however, by the 3 girls in the race, Sarah from Australia, Nidhruvi from Vienna, Austria, and Jayasalini from Russia – with their absolutely inspiring performances. Having done one 6-day-race myself in April 2010 I have just a small idea of what the runners have to be going through in terms of physical and mental challenges and sometimes excruciating pains – on the one hand. On the other hand, there are many transformative spiritual experiences and deep inner experiences of satisfaction, peace and even ecstasy – which will permeate the entire being and be absorbed  and felt #even more for weeks and months after the race is finished. For deeper insights into the world of this mind-blowing challenge there are Utpal’s great daily posts about the race and its runners, with live interviews, photos and very knowledgeble background and inside information on → www.perfectionjourney.

Main website: www.3100.srichinmoyraces.org/main-3100

My life’s only road:
Forward.
My heart’s only road:
Inward.
My soul’s only road:
Upward.

Sri Chinmoy, Morning blessing-call-prayers

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