In less than 48 hours, I will be a part of an international delegation of open water swimmers from around the world in an attempt to swim across the Dead Sea.
At 40 miles long, and 11 miles across at its widest point, the Dead Sea is strategically situated on the border of Israel and Jordan. A region that is often brought to our attention for political, rather than environmental reasons.
Because 95% of the water from the Jordan River Basin is now diverted to agriculture in Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, the Dead Sea is at serious risk of disappearing in our lifetime. The Sea is shrinking at a rate of 1 meter per year, with the shoreline receding by a further 5 meters.
It is with this sense of purpose that we are able to use our skills as open water swimmers to give this critical body of water the international significance and awareness that it rightly deserves.
In a world in which we are so divided over so many issues, this is a chance for us to transcend division and bring unity.
This swim has never been attempted before for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the 34% concentration of salinity making it 10 times more saline than the ocean. The risks are potentially fatal if the water is ingested which is why we will all wear specialized face masks and be accompanied by an experienced team of medics. This is not a traditional marathon swim.
As one of 28 swimmers from South Africa, England, America, Jordan, Israel, and New Zealand, I am but one small component of this massive undertaking. There will be a flotilla of seven support boats, which will travel together to accommodate the needs and abilities of each swimmer. Therefore, we have set no time limit, but our goal is to reach Israel as a team. We are estimating that this swim could take up to 8 hours.