‘The Human Polar Bear’ harnesses the Himalayas

by Naomi on August 18, 2010

in Wildlife

A few years back, Dave and I were privileged to meet Lewis Pugh, most famous for being ‘The Human Polar Bear’. What a phenomenal, compelling man, who is harnessing his unique talent for the greater good. Most recently to lobby world leaders about global warming. He took on the Himalayas, learning that Mount Everest is not to be bullied, but rather treated with quiet respect. Much like the man himself.

Managing to raise his body’s core temperature with his mind, he is able to swim in freezing water, clad only in a speedo. The Himalayan stint in May was 1 km long at 2 degrees C. To find out more about this amazing feat, read about it on Lewis’ website: My Latest Expedition and watch Carte Blanche’s video: Carte Blanche: Lewis Pugh (Part 2).

Lewis’ message? “Conservation of the environment is no longer their problem or my problem but our problem.” Himalayan glaciers provide around 2 billion people with constant water, defying the thought of what might happen if they melt. Almost a third of humanity may be affected as radically as our threatened polar bears. You can see more about the Arctic issue on this stunning site: A Beautiful Lie.

Although polar bears don’t occur naturally here, we had a close encounter once at the Johannesburg Zoo, when Dave helped to clean their pool. Here are a few pics, just for fun. Note that, unlike Lewis, the divers all wore wetsuits!


TAKING A DIP AFTER THE WORK WAS DONE - Polar Bear Pool, Johannesburg Zoo

A FISH FOR YOUR TROUBLE - Polar Bear Enclosure, Johannesburg Zoo


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy August 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

I heard him on Jenny’s show on 702 yesterday (sitting a block away from the zoo, waiting for my daughter’s ballet lesson to end); what a self-effacing, modest man. He gives all credit to Tim Noakes, I find that amazing.


Naomi August 18, 2010 at 10:43 am

How interesting, Cin, zoo and all! Thanks for mentioning that – I missed the show. That was possibly when I was preparing this post 🙂 Lewis really is awesome, and so likeable. Your daughter’s ballet reminds me of mine as a little girl. A wonderful thing to do!


nrhatch August 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

The mysteries of the mind are amazing. I hope we can unlock a few more secrets while I’m here.

And solve global warming. That would be good.


Naomi August 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Aren’t they just? I second both sentiments!


Anonymous August 19, 2010 at 11:20 am

Ahh Dave, what a terrific experience!


Naomi August 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

It was quite something, Lori 🙂 I’m guessing that this is you, being such an experienced diver who’s helped at the Cape Town Aquarium!


Tokeloshe October 5, 2010 at 1:17 am

Very interesting. Good post.

Great photos, I especially love the one with the water drops.


Naomi October 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Thank you! This was quite a different experience 😀


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