Lewis completed his final swim from Southend-on-Sea up to the Thames Barrier, breaking the swim into three lengths – Southend to Gravesend on the 28th August and Gravesend to the Thames Barrier on the 29th August. It took him 8hrs and 12 minutes.
Today I start my North Sea swim – the final swim in our campaign for more Marine Protected Areas in our oceans. The swim will be from Southend on Sea to the Thames Barrier. We expect to finish on Friday morning.
It’s a symbolic place to finish this campaign. The Thames Barrier was built 30 years ago to protect London from flooding. Expected to be used 2 or 3 times per year. This year it’s been raised 48 times already. Picture: Facebook
Lewis said: “I’ve just completed the first long-distance swim in the Seven Seas of the ancient world. 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.
Thank you so much to Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, who kindly sponsored our final night in Oman. What a treat. I loved swimming here. Tomorrow we start our final swim in the North Sea! Picture: Facebook
“I will never forget the people I met along this journey, the literally hundreds of people from all walks of life who helped us and supported us and jumped in the sea to swim with us, just to be part of this mission, just for their love of the sea.
Just completed my Arabian Sea swim. 10km in 3h 15min. In 27 years of swimming, I’ve never seen so many turtles. Literally hundreds. Just the way oceans should be! Certainly a highlight of my life. Picture: Facebook
“And then there are the things I would rather forget. Such as the sea floor under me as I swam the Aegean, which was covered with litter; I saw tyres and plastic bags, bottles, cans shoes and clothing – but absolutely nothing that qualifies as ‘sea life’.
About to start my Arabian Sea swim and look what walks between my feet! Great to see such a well protected turtle reserve. Picture: Facebook
In the Arabian Sea I swam through vast shoals of turtles, which was spectacular. They do belong there. But so do many, many other fish species, and those were nowhere to be seen.
My favourite photo from yesterday’s Black Sea swim. Urging nations to protect our oceans. We now have 3 more swims to go – the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and the North Sea. Picture: Facebook
“I never saw any fish bigger than the size of my hand, in any of the seven seas. The larger ones had all been fished out. The Black sea was full of jellyfish. This is not a good thing, because they don’t belong there – they were brought in with the ballast on visiting ships and wrought havoc on an ecosystem that was already unbalanced.
Tomorrow will be my 5th swim to urge nations around the 7 Seas to create more Marine Protected Areas before it’s too late. It will be held near Aqaba in the Red Sea. Many thanks to His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan who has kindly provided the support boat and crew. Picture: Facebook
In the entire four weeks I did not see one shark, anywhere.
“As I was about to jump in the water for the Red Sea swim I asked the boat’s skipper whether I should keep a look out for sharks. He told me not to worry, because the sharks have all been fished out. That’s exactly what DOES worry me. A healthy ocean is an ocean with sharks.
Practice things until u can’t get them wrong. Not until u get them right. There’s a big difference. Picture: Facebook
“But I did see something astonishing in the Red Sea. It was when I swam through a Marine Protect Area, and experienced a sea as it was meant to be: rich and colourful and teaming with abundant life.
“And then, just two kilometres on, outside of the protected area, the picture changed again. There was no coral and there were no fish. It looked like an underwater desert.
My favourite pic from yesterday’s Adriatic Sea swim. Sadly underneath I saw very few fish. Picture: Facebook
“If I had needed more proof that Marine Protected Areas really work, that was it. Everything I knew about how MPAs allow marine life to recover, how they protect and restore fish stocks, how they provide income-generating livelihoods for local people, how they boost ecotourism and ensure long-term sustainability, was all there in front of me.
“Many of the people I met along the way have experienced it too. They have seen their seas changing. They know that there is a serious problem. And they have seen that the problem is reversible, WHEN we take urgent action and create Marine Protected Areas.
I’ve just finished my Adriatic swim. PERFECT conditions. But longer than expected – 3h 55min. This coastline is a key resting place for migrating birds. But they’re at risk from hunting, pollution & overfishing. For example the slender-billed curlew is now down to just 50 animals worldwide. We urge all nations on the Adriatic to increase their efforts to protect this sea through a network of effective Marine Protected Areas. Picture: Facebook
“There’s a reason we ended our final North Sea swim at the Thames Barrier. It’s a highly symbolic example of foresight and visionary design. When it was commissioned 30 years ago, its engineers had no idea how crucial it would be. They thought it would be used two or three times a year. But this last winter it was used 48 times. Where would London be today without the Thames Barrier? In a word: underwater.
“I don’t want to imagine what the world will be like in 30 years time if we don’t protect our marine resources today.
The start of yesterday’s Adriatic swim. Picture: Facebook
“The world’s waters are changing. The seas and oceans are in a state of crisis. And we rely on these seas and oceans – all of us on this planet, wherever we live – for our very livelihood.
“I am well aware that the world is caught up in a number of serious global political and humanitarian crises right now. It is certainly not my intention to trivialise any of these. But in focusing solely on the current state of global hyper-conflict, we run the risk of losing sight of something that is going to affect our children and grandchildren. The biggest risk the world faces right now is what is happening to the environment, and a large part of that is what is happening in our seas.
Passing a massive cruise ship during yesterday’s Mediterranean swim off Monaco. Picture: Facebook
“When Desmond Tutu came to wish me well at the outset of this expedition, he reminded me of something fundamental. He reminded me that so many of the world’s conflicts are over resources. When we fail to protect our resources, we set the stage for conflict. But when we protect our resources, we foster peace.
I dream of a peaceful world of well-managed Marine Protected Areas, protecting our coastlines and extending across our high seas. Of abundant oceans teeming with fish, big and small, with turtles and whales and sea-birds. Oceans filled with sharks.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt the English Channel as warm as it was yesterday. Now’s the time to swim across, if you have the urge! Picture: Facebook
“Now is the time to make that dream happen. To reverse the rampant devastation of our marine resources, to provide them safe havens that allow them to regroup and recover. Too many species are dying out, hunted to near extinction, slipping through our fingers, like sand.
“Let’s stop fighting. And start giving our seas a fighting chance.”
Just finished my Black Sea swim. 10km in 2 hours 48 minutes. It was like a washing machine out there! Thank you to all the Turkish swimmers who encouraged me along and support our campaign for more Marine Protected Areas in this vulnerable ecosystem. We now have 3 more seas to go. Picture: Facebook