PRESENTATION OF THE CHALLENGE
In 2016 I became the first Spaniard and the fifth person in history to have walked around the world, an expedition that took me for three years to travel 4 continents, 31 countries and 33,000 kilometers on foot, alone, without assistance and uninterruptedly to document climate change. I walked across mountains, jungles, deserts and cities to take the pulse of the planet’s health, and witnessed with my own eyes the immense amount of garbage and plastics that flood the beaches and coasts of the world. Even then, I began to feel the urgent need to undertake a new expedition to draw attention to the alarming situation of our seas and oceans.
We live on a planet where more than 70% of the surface is covered by water. Every day we hear news about pollution by plastics, the loss of biodiversity by overfishing, the rise in sea level by global warming, the destruction of coastlines by port and tourist activities. I began to investigate, to read marine environmental studies, and I discovered that garbage, remains of fishing gear, cans, bottles, tires have been found at more than a thousand meters of depth, where not even sunlight can reach. That thousands of turtles, birds, marine mammals die every year from the tons of plastic floating in the oceans, which they ingest by confusing it with food. Let’s dump our waste into the rivers, rivers that are going to the sea, like someone who sweeps under the carpet and thinks that by changing the problem, it disappears. The oceans regulate the temperature of the planet, generate most of the oxygen we breathe and absorb the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, however, the amount of CO2 we produce is such that it is causing the acidification of the waters and phenomena such as the bleaching of coral reefs. The sea is the great forgotten one, to the point that occupying ¾ parts of its surface, we call Earth what should be called planet Water. We are not aware of the importance of the oceans for the health of the planet, nor of the profound deterioration to which we are subjecting them. As a lover of nature and a person sensitized to the degradation of the planet, I could not remain impassive, sitting idly by, doing nothing.
In 2017, after I finished my world tour on foot and with my book Free and Wild on the Street, many people start asking me curiously – What now? – As if it were impossible to do anything else, or as if life would then be tremendously boring for me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Moved by a firm commitment to nature protection, my passion for adventure and an indomitable spirit of self-improvement, I decided to embark on the challenge of uniting the five continents by swimming to launch a message of ocean conservation and document the state of the marine ecosystems I have travelled through.
After two years of expedition and more than 2,500 kilometers swimming in training, in 2019 the adventure was over:
- The Strait of Gibraltar, linking Europe and Africa (26 June 2018)
- The Meis-Kas journey, uniting Europe with Asia (1 July 2018)
- The Bering Strait, linking America and Asia (13 September 2018)
- The Bismarck Sea, uniting Asia and Oceania (29 November 2018)
- The Gulf of Aqaba, between Africa and Asia (5 March 2019)
Miles away, sharks, waves, currents, jellyfish, crocodiles, waters at 37,4 ºF… the thrill is served!
I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF INTRODUCING YOU TO THE NEMO EXPEDITION.