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(12/17/2007) Braving ocean waves and patrol boats securing the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Bali's resident marathon swimmer, Monte Monfore, swam from Serangan Island near Bali's Sanur Beach to Nusa Dua on the morning of December 10, 2007.
An official parallel event of the UNFCCC, Monte dubbed his event a "Reverse Climate Change Swim." Addressing the media before entering the water at Serangan island, the 47-year-old endurance athlete said, "this swim is to support efforts to reduce global warming, and highlight the serious threat it poses to the world's endangered coral reefs."
The UNFCCC swim is the latest installment on a series of swims undertaken by the American resident of Bali to promote the United Nations Millennium Campaign and is intended to underline Millennium Goal of ensuring environmental sustainability.
Wearing slogans on his swimmers cap and suit proclaiming "Live Green and Save the Reefs," Monte dedicated his latest feat to "Mother Earth" and reminded the press and his group of enthusiastic supporters that "it's our responsibility to protect and safeguard this fragile planet for future generations."
After a morning downpour, Bali's skies brightened just before the swimmer entered the water at the southeast corner of Serangan Island at 9:19 a.m.. Because of strong outer-reef currents, the athlete's support team advised him to swim inside the reef where he faced substantially less current. The change in route lessened the originally planned seven-kilometer swim to six kilometers. Despite swimming against a slight current most of the way, Monte said he was very pleased with the windless conditions, which greatly improved his stoke efficiency.
Before the start of the swim, Monte drank five large glasses of a high-calorie liquid consisting of eleven eggs, protein powder, fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter. To contend with warm ocean water and prevent dehydration, the marathon swimmer paused in the water to take 10-second breaks to consume sports drinks approximately once every 15 minutes. And, as with past swims, he strictly obeyed the rules of ocean swimming: no wetsuit, no fins, and no touching the support boat.
Monte's swim was supported by half a dozen vessels, three filled with armed Navy and Marine Police escorts providing security for the UNFCCC and Monte as he swam the busy Benoa Harbor channel. The armada of warships securing the Nusa Dua and the UN Conference provided an additional and unique navigational challenge to the swimmer.
After two hours and three minutes Monte stepped onto white sands of Nusa Dua beach at 11:22 a.m. directly in front of the Convention venue for the UNFCCC at the Westin Resort. There he was greeted by a cheering crowd of UN officials, observers, and more than 20 members of the media.
A Man Who Cares About the World's Oceans
Echoing the message being delivered just meters away at the important climate change conference, Monte told the press that he had "terrible news." Explaining, he said: "The ocean is dying. 15 years ago I used to see dozens of reef sharks and turtles every week. Now I rarely see them." He also spoke about the "beautiful coral reefs" dying because of global warming, which, he said, was "up to all of us" to stop. He concluded by encouraging people to change their lifestyles and learn to reduce their "carbon footprints"; inviting "everyone to join the growing chorus of citizens worldwide becoming part of the Green Generation."
Following his remarks, Monte introduced renowned US-based Coral Ecologist Dr. Thomas J. Goreau who spoke briefly about the effects of garbage, pollution, and global warming on the world's ocean and sensitive coral reef ecosystems. Monte then announced that his swim was "carbon neutral" and introduced Yensen Alaiman of American Express who revealed that his Company would be planting hundreds of trees on nearby Nusa Penida island to mark the "Reverse Climate Change Swim."
Don't Forget the Next Generation
Reflecting Monte Monfore's strong commitment to child welfare in Indonesia, the swim also featured a US$2,500 donation to the Sanur-based Baitul Muslimin Orphanage, symbolically received by 10 children from the orphanage attending the ceremony. Much to the delight of spectators and the children, two rescued 50-centimeter green turtles were released back into the ocean to underline the continuing efforts to stamp out the illegal turtle trade in Bali.
[Merdeka – One Stroke at a Time]
[Sink or Swim - Monte Fights Child Hunger]
[High Altitude Swim for Peace in Lake Batur]
[Monte Sets Records and Fights Child Hunger]
[The Full Monte]