The white cliffs of Dover have come into sight, which will mark the end of the journey for Pugh, who will become the first ever person to swim 350 miles wearing only Speedos, goggles and a hat!
Lewis started his Long Swim from Land’s End in Cornwall and is close to finishing his 350 miles from there to Dover, with its famous white cliffs marking the end of his challenge.
After more than 100 hours in the water, he has so far taken half a million strokes and burned 98,000 calories, with numerous jellyfish sting marks to show for it. As well as jellyfish, Lewis has also encountered plenty of plastic on his swimming journey, which is one of the main reason’s he’s out there in the English Channel – to raise awareness of the excessive plastic in our oceans.
Lewis’s campaign also centres on the hope that 30% of the world’s oceans can be protected from damaging exploitation such as industrial fishing, mining and drilling. He resents the fact that waters set aside as conservation zones in the UK have little to no protection.
Lewis has said: “I’m mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. I have never done anything so tough in my life.
“But we are also excited. We can see the white cliffs of Dover and we are going to get there.
“It has been incredibly tough, especially when we were trying to get around Dungeness and we couldn’t several times.”
Goodwin Sands, near Dover, was given protected status by the government on World Oceans Day in June. As well as being an important habitat for sand eels, blue mussels and the rare Thornback ray, it is also one of only two haul-out sites in the south east of England for seals. Dover Harbour Board, however, have been granted permission to dredge 3 million tonnes of aggregate from the area to expand the port, shredding up the very seabed which supports a wide array of sea life.
Lewis said: “Goodwin Sands is a perfect example of what I’m fighting for. It has been recognised for its biodiversity, it’s been set aside by government as a marine conservation zone and what we have is a company allowed to dredge the seabed and destroy the biodiversity marine life depends on.
“Why is it that the economy also seems to be more important than the environment?
“I’ll be asking the government to review this decision. If we carry on there’ll be nothing left for our children and grandchildren.
“It makes a mockery of marine conservation in the UK.”
Image source: Sky News.
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