Martin Strel, Keeping Connected To The World

Martin Strel, Keeping Connected To The World

Martin Strel, known as the Big River Man, has ventured where no person has gone before.

He has swum the length of the five major rivers of the world in solo stage swims: the Amazon through Peru, Colombia and Brazil, the Danube through central Europe, the Yangtze in China, the Paraná that runs through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and the Mississippi that runs through the heart of America.

Despite swimming through remote areas of these rivers, Martin has stayed in touch with the government authorities, safety personnel, the media and fans around the world.

While escorted by a boat with his son Borut and a team of up to 26 people along some of the roughest, toughest waterways of the world, Martin has remained connected to the outer world. Electricity and an Internet connection are between very difficult to impossible to find along the long stretches of these rivers. “We need a constant, reliable Internet connection to the rest of the world for two primary reasons,” explained Borut, a computer expert trained in network system programming and design.

First, we need an Internet connection so the authorities know where we are. You never know what can happen to either Martin or our team. We face snakes, alligators, sharks, pirates, piranha, pollution, boats, bacteria, insects, rapids, boulders and all kinds of things that can cause harm to Martin or others. It is always dangerous in some of the places where we have been. So, keeping in touch with the local government people and the police is always important.

Secondly, the world’s media and fans around the world like to follow Martin. We designed everything we needed by ourselves. We had batteries, generators, redundant wireless networks, satellite phones, dishes, cables and all kinds of equipment. We had to take everything we needed with us. But things broke down and we had to repair everything by ourselves with what we had in our boat.

Fortunately, we were able to stay connected with the world. In fact, when Martin was doing the Amazon Swim, he was the top story on CNN, Yahoo and other media outlets around the world. I had built a system based on three servers around the world. But the volume of website traffic was too much after over 7 million people were logging into Martin’s site. 7 million people were interested in a man swimming down the Amazon. Can you imagine? So we had to improvise and make things work with what we had on our boat

Martin’s story was an adventure delivered from the heart of four continents and Borut kept the communication flow coming everywhere from the heart of a rain forest and the heart of America to the heart of China and central Europe.

They will tell their story at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, California.

Stay tuned and stay connected.

Photo shows Martin Strel speaking at the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in New York City.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones