Henko Roukema makes Arctic Swim
Area: east coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut, arctic Canada
Location: North 66 degrees 17,553’ ; West 062 degrees 46,224
Distance: 1 mile (1 600m)
Water temperature : 4,6 ËšC
Time to complete swim: 26 minutes
Weather: cloudy & windy, adding to the chill factor!
Off course I must stress the importance of enough cold water training before attempting an extreme swim like this, the support of medical back-up and being mentally focused and prepared for such a swim! Although I have lots of extreme cold water swim experience and am a proud red jacket member of the IISA after completing the Speedo Africa Ice Swim (held 23 July 2011) , this swim was different. Now I was the only swimmer in the water and this certainly add to the challenges you face in these extreme conditions!
For me personally, it was amazing to do this swim with my all time personal extreme explorer hero, the famous Mike Horn, as my guide & skipper!
But why should we care about Global warming?
The Arctic region is affected by climate change about ten times faster than other region of the world. It is to scientist what the canary was to miners, an indication of poisonous gases! The whole ice shelf of the Arctic is melting, causing dramatic changes in not only the animals but also the people that live here. Melting ice is causing animals to change migratory patterns and this directly affects the lives of hunters and therefore the survival of communities.
The most frightening thing is the albedo effect. As the ice shelf melts it exposes darker colored areas such as the sea water and ground where there was previously white ice. The way the albedo effect works is that the lighter the colour of our planet is, the more efficient it is at reflecting heat. Without the precious white colored ice our planet is loosing its ability to cool itself down. And to cool the planet is one of the most important factors of the Polar Regions!
The melting of the ice and glaciers will not only affect the people living in the Arctic but we will see rises in sea levels across the world. The dramatic thing is since the year 2000 there has been a 2 degree Celsius rise in temperatures globally!!! Some areas in the world are having lower temperatures and others are having higher temperatures causing an imbalance in agriculture and many other aspects of our daily lives!
It makes you think what can you do to help our precious planet!?
The goal of this extreme Arctic swim is twofold – firstly to raise awareness and show people the reality of the effects of global warming on this fragile region. Reality is exactly what we as humans are the most afraid of – especially the reality of what is happening to the world and its climate which enables me to swim a mile in the Arctic area of Canada!
Secondly I did the swim as an athletic feat to show what the human body is capable of! And off course the power of the human mind – each person has the ability to do magnificent feats if we can apply this inner strength to every part of our lives!
I was really over whelmed by the support I got from my fellow young explorers while swimming, they even jumped in the water to see and feel what swimming in the cold water is all about.
I am over whelmed with joy by completing the swim but also so sad that I am able to swim in these waters…