Swim Adventurer Lewis Pugh Becomes The First Person To Swim Across the Red Sea

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Swim Adventurer Lewis Pugh Becomes The First Person To Swim Across the Red Sea

British endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh recently became the first person to swim across the Red Sea. Pugh set off from Tiran Island, Saudi Arabia on October 11, and completed the 76-mile swim 16 days later, arriving in Hurghada, Egypt  on October 26. The Red Sea is home to some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. The swim was undertaken to help shine a spotlight on the plight of coral reefs in the area as a result of climate change. During the swim, Pugh was joined by fellow open water swimmers and conservationists from Egypt, and Saudi swimmer Mariam bin Laden.

In his 35-year open water career, Pugh has swam in some of the world’s coldest and isolated oceans. These include swimming in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, where the water temperature was -1ºC. He was also the first person to swim across the North Pole in the Arctic. The Red Sea swim, however, posed a different type of challenge to the ones Pugh is usually accustomed to. For large parts of the swim, he came up against choppy waters and sizable waves. He also swam through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Gulf of Suez. The water temperature hovered around 30 degrees Celsius, making it incredibly difficult to keep hydrated and fight off exhaustion.

A self proclaimed ocean advocate, Pugh has dedicated his career to highlighting the decline of the world’s oceans. Pugh issues a stark warning stating that, “If we continue to overheat our planet we are on course to lose 99% of all coral reefs.”

The Red Sea swim was completed before the start of COP27, where the world’s governments and leaders have convened in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt to discuss climate issues.  

After swimming past Sharm El-Sheikh during his swim, Pugh traveled to the climate summit to discuss climate issues and ocean protection with politicians from around the globe. He wants the world’s leaders to introduce marine protected areas and would like to see 30% of the world’s oceans properly protected by 2030. Pugh, the current United Nations Patron of the Oceans is “urging all nations gathered at Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27 to drastically cut their emissions, tackle the climate crisis and protect the world’s oceans.”

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