Google Doodle And Lewis Pugh

Google Doodle And Lewis Pugh

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

One of Google’s Doodles that celebrates Earth Day 2016 [shown above] reminds us of Lewis Pugh‘s mind-bending, mind-boggling, mind-shifting 1 km swim at the geographic North Pole.

Prior to Pugh’s swim in 2007, we thought of the North Pole as the snow white tundra top of the globe. Just kilometers-thick slabs of ice over impossibly cold water.

But Pugh enlightened us when he undertook the first and only open water swim at the Geographic North Pole. His 1 km swim, across an open patch of sea, in -1.7°C water, took 18 minutes 50 seconds.

The swim coincided with the lowest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded at that time.

In his autobiography Pugh wrote, “Ironically, global warming played no small part in undermining the entire expedition. We believed that the greater melting of summer ice would open up large areas of sea and allow us to paddle north at good speed. What we did not fully appreciate was that to the north of us there was a widespread melting of sea ice off the coast of Alaska and the New Siberian Islands and the ice was being pushed south towards us … The evidence of climate change was stark. Fourteen months before I’d sailed north and I’d seen a preponderance of multi-year ice about three metres thick north of Spitsbergen, but this time most of the ice was just a metre thick.”

Google’s Doodle also calls attention to the melting polar cap.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association