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. It is 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. It is a 10,000-mile, around-the-world voyage on water. He wants 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. He will start in Long Beach, California, on March 22. He will pass through oceans, rivers, canals and other bodies of water in more than 100 countries. He'll swim about 5 to 12 hours each day. That depends 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. He went for a swim in a choppy, rain-swept New York Harbor. It took him 63 minutes to swim 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. It was in remembrance of those who died in the complex that's now rising again.
 
Since 2000, Strel has swum the entire length of five rivers. They are 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."
 
He is a native of Slovenia. It is a small nation near Italy, Austria and Croatia.  Now, Strel lives in Phoenix.
 
He's still finalizing details of his next big, multimillion-dollar adventure. It 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. And that includes the president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor. Strel said the president 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."  It is 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, Strel said with a laugh, blood-thirsty piranhas "are OK."   In his case, that was partially because those on the support boat poured buckets of blood into the Amazon. The blood was 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 (216)
  • emmaj-cos
    10/01/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    I hope he makes it

    • rileym-cur
      11/04/2015 - 11:03 a.m.

      he will probably not make it. he mite drown

  • nickr-fra
    10/01/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    This man is crazy, yet AWESOME! He is swimming across the OCEAN! Do you know how crazy that is! But again, it's awesome.

  • matthewc1-gon
    10/01/2015 - 02:15 p.m.

    p.s u need food and water

    • hannahb2-ree
      10/21/2015 - 11:36 a.m.

      There is a boat assisting him along the journey.

  • dominickp-gon
    10/01/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    i think he can do it

    • rileym-cur
      11/04/2015 - 11:05 a.m.

      I don't

    • rileym-cur
      11/04/2015 - 11:05 a.m.

      do u think he can do it?

  • jakeh-gon
    10/01/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    because he was swim in it

  • karliw-1-bar
    10/01/2015 - 06:57 p.m.

    Martin Strel's international swim is supposed to raise awareness of water pollution by getting people to support and fund Martin (with money obviously) and his dauntless attempt to swim around the 10,000 miles of water that he personally has planned to swim. Strel's possibly perilous challenge also may raise awareness to water pollution because if a news reporter asks him why he's swimming 10,000 miles, it's extremely likely he will provide some insight on why water pollution is obviously unhealthy for the planet, and why it matters so much to him. After all, why would anybody swim thousands of miles without a purpose?

  • joiec-3-bar
    10/01/2015 - 07:12 p.m.

    Martin's swim will help raise awareness of pollution by showing people what its like in the ocean and rivers. While on his swim, people will see how the water looks, which could have pollution in the water. People will see this pollution and could very well be astonished at what they observe and want to put a stop to it. This swim will help humans see what pollution could do to the environment and put a stop to it.

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