Photo of Swain swimming the Columbia via Basil Childers @ toxtour.org.
Imagine it yourself - waking up at daylight on Earth Day, downing a calorie -rich breakfast and squeezing yourself into a wet suit to throw yourself into the none-too-warm Atlantic - an estimated chest-constricting, goosebump-inducing 38 degrees - ready to swim 1,000 miles all in the name of clean water. Would you do it? Yes, Christopher Swain is a bit crazy, perhaps, an activist's activist, a family guy with two young daughters and a passion to fulfill a big goal: fishable, swimmable, drinkable waterways for future generations. So right now you are probably asking: What about sharks?Yes, that shark issue. Swain has said that it is the question he sees in the eyes of nearly everyone he talks to about the upcoming swim, which he reckons will take him approximately 200 days, with a day off here and there to rest, see his family, and continue his talks to schools. With Swain, it's Earth Day every day.
He isn’t particularly worried about sharks, he has said. Predator shark species in the Atlantic have decreased significantly, giving those of use that don’t undertake 1,000 mile swims a four-times higher chance of being killed by a vending machine than a shark. Swain did purchase a shark deterrent device, and plans to wear it.
When Swain sets off from Marblehead on route to Washington D.C. , he plans to set a steady pace of six miles a day and six hour per day of continual swimming. He’ll stop along the way to talk at many schools about the effects of pollution, climate change, and overfishing that he’s actually observing in the Atlantic. He'll also help the schools create projects to help the health of the ocean.
When I met Swain back before his 1,243 mile swim of the Columbia River, he was a soft-spoken, big-smile type of guy. He didn’t shout his aspirations to the world, though when he told you with a grin that he was going to swim the entire length of the river you really believed him.
And in spite of toxic muck, a lot of those little tubes of too-sweet yoghurt that kids eat (Swain has to eat every fifteen minutes to keep up strength and warmth to go on swimming), and other obstacles in the water, he did. Since then he's also swam the Charles River, the Hudson, and Lake Champlain.
But here's nearly the craziest piece of all: by his own account, in spite of the thousands of miles he's put it and the dedication and commitment, Swain consider himself not a very fast swimmer. And oh, yeah, in his extra time, Swain has committed to collect and recycle ethically one billion pounds of used electronics.
Follow along with Christopher's swim Via: Change Agents
Guy Spends 165 Days Swimming in Columbia River, Has Aquatic Epiphany
VIDEO from Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Source to Sea