Man plans to swim around the world Martin Strel is greeted by his daughter Nina after completing his "Clean Water Swim" from the Statue of Liberty to Manhattan's North Cove Marina, operated by Island Global Yachting, on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, in New York, N.Y. (Stuart Ramson/Invision for Martin Strel/AP Images)
Man plans to swim around the world
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Martin Strel swims with a knife strapped to his right leg - in case he encounters sharks, "vampire" fish and other deadly marine life in the world's wildest waters.
 
The 60-year-old marathon swimmer has announced the toughest feat of his life: A 10,000-mile, around-the-world voyage on water to draw public attention to increasing aquatic pollution.
 
"And for peace and love," Strel added in his native Slovenian language.
 
He aims to circle the globe in about 450 days, starting in Long Beach, California, on March 22 and passing through oceans, rivers, canals and other bodies of water in more than 100 countries. He'll swim about 5 to 12 hours each day, depending on the weather and changing currents. An escort boat will offer emergency support and space for small breaks.
 
But first, Strel took a demonstration 2.2-mile dip in a choppy, rain-swept New York Harbor, taking 63 minutes from the Statue of Liberty to a marina near the World Trade Center.
 
On the eve of the 9/11 terror attack anniversary, still in his wet suit, he bowed his head for a moment of silence to remember those who died in the complex that's now rising again.
 
Since 2000, Strel has swum the entire length of five rivers - the piranha-infested Amazon, the Danube in Eastern Europe, China's Yangtze, the Parana in South America and the Mississippi.
 
Those daring forays have earned him the nickname "Big River Man."
 
A native of Slovenia, a small nation near Italy, Austria and Croatia, Strel now lives in Phoenix.
 
He's still finalizing details of his next big, multimillion-dollar adventure, which will include the Panama and Suez canals, the English Channel, the Amazon again, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Red Sea.
 
Costs, including overnight accommodations, plus food and other supplies, will largely be organized by the Arizona-based TDG global marketing and branding firm.
 
Strel won't be alone in the water. He says he welcomes anyone who's interested to join him for stretches of the route, including the president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, who Strel said was a fine swimmer. "We'll all be discussing ecology - like how to eliminate plastics from water."
 
How does he rate the Hudson River that flows past the World Trade Center?
 
"It's not especially clean, but it's not dangerous, except for the boats, maybe," he said, compared to what he called "the most dangerous fish on the planet" - the tiny candiru in South America that bores into every human cavity, from the mouth to the ears and nose, growing by feeding on human flesh and blood.
 
By comparison, he said with a laugh, blood-thirsty piranhas "are OK" - but partially because those on the support boat poured buckets of blood into the Amazon to draw the fish away after they attacked him.
 
As for sharks, Strel said they've left him alone as long as he swam in the same direction, without confronting them.
 
"I touch them and it's 'OK! I'm your friend.'"

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How will Martin’s “big swim” raise awareness of pollution?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (57)
  • lexim-pla
    9/30/2015 - 07:27 p.m.

    Martin wants to swim across the world to raise awareness for pollution. I think martin is going to achieve his goal of swimming 10,000feet, but I do not see how this will raise awareness for pollution. I think he will get lots of recognition for swimming and the swim may show the effects of the water pollution. He could be sick some days because of pollution. He is taking on the role of a fish. Realistically I do not think most people will care about the cause, people will only care about the swim.

  • ianc-day
    10/01/2015 - 10:47 a.m.

    Martin Strel is living life to the fullest. I've heard of a man swimming from Florida to Cuba but never the whole world. That knife he keeps on his leg isn't the only thing protecting him. He has to have a lot of luck to be alive when swimming near sharks, dangerous fish and other dangerous animals. He's got guts.

  • ryanw-pla
    10/02/2015 - 10:05 a.m.

    The focus of this article is about accomplished swimmer Martin Strel's planned journey to swim across the world in order to raise awareness of "increasing aquatic pollution". Martin's "big swim" will raise awareness of pollution by drawing the attention of the public and also by inviting others, like the president of his home country of Slovenia, to swim with him on this 10,000 mile odyssey around-the-world. I find this to be extremely admirable and inspiring that a 60-year-old man would undertake this huge and physically strenuous challenge just to try and do what he can to help the world's water systems.

  • matthewm-bac
    10/02/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    If I were to swim in every body of water all over the world I would have made a first and final stop by swimming to Ellis island to Marina's coast in Manhattan, New York. It seems very risky to swim in all the bodies of water from all over the world and there is a lot of dangerous animals you could confront with it and I would not take that chance. I would do it from Ellis Island to Manhattan because their are no dangerous animals and it's a straight forward swim.

  • tylers-day
    10/02/2015 - 10:34 p.m.

    I can't believe that he is willing to risk his life to swim around the world. I understand it's for a good cause but I think risking a life is a bit extreme. He will be swimming in some of the most dangerous water on the planet and he is totally fine with it. I wonder how he must feel when he's swimming.

  • dimyam-day
    10/02/2015 - 11:16 p.m.

    This is a crazy yet cool idea. Swimming for more than a year like that's insane, I would be scared of sharks. I like how at the end how he wasn't phased about the sharks and was like I touch them I thought that was interesting. I hope some people are able to swim alongside of him so he has company I would feel bad.

  • olgan-4-bar
    10/04/2015 - 03:14 p.m.

    Martin's big swim will raise awareness of pollution because he will draw attention to the bottles I. The water and all the trash that will encourage people to recycle more. " we'll be discussing ecology like how to eliminate plastics from the water ". I think the swimmer will accomplish his goal but in more than 459 days. I think it will take him at least 2 years

  • brandonn-pel
    10/06/2015 - 11:16 a.m.

    Every one will look at him and say "wow he did this to stop pollution" and they will follow and stop polluting the ocean

  • brandonn-pel
    10/06/2015 - 11:17 a.m.

    Martin plans to swim around the world in 450 days to stop pollution or at least raise awareness of it and its dangers

  • laurenc-bag
    10/06/2015 - 06:46 p.m.

    Martin's voyage will raise awareness of pollution because his big swim will probably bring a lot of attention to him so that he can talk about how pollution and how important it is. His act is courageous! He is as bold as a lion!

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