"Into the Maelstrom" will be a world-first attempt to swim across the two biggest and most powerful whirlpools in the world – the mighty Moskstraumen and Saltstraumen in Norway.
We're journeying to the Arctic Circle to raise awareness about . We believe that the wild places left in the world and the creatures that inhabit them deserve our protection, and we see wild swimming as the perfect immersive experience to bring people closer to the natural world around them.
Swirling violently off the Norwegian coast, above the Arctic Circle and on the edge of the Lofoten Islands these two vast whirlpools are the strongest and fastest tidal currents in the world. They were made famous in Edgar Allan Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom", also featured in the climax of Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” as Captain Nemo's submarine the Nebuchadnezzar is sucked under the waves, and were feared by Captain Ahab in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. They are truly the stuff of literary legend.
The Moskstraumen swim is an eight kilometre point-to-point crossing between the islands of Vaeroy and Mosken, across the strongest and biggest whirlpool in the world. It's central whirlpool has a diameter of some 40–50 meters (130–160 ft) and tides combined with the northerly Norwegian Sea currents and storm-induced flow result in currents up to 10.7 knots (20 km/h; 12 mph).
Calum Hudson of the tells how he and his siblings will embark on their greatest challenge yet
We have some whirlpool swimming experience, as last July we swam across the third largest whirlpool in the world – the Corryvreckan, off the west coast of Scotland. This was our big final training swim before our 90-mile “Swim the Eden” expedition and we faced the biggest waves and swell our ship captain Doug had seen in 10 years. We completed the Corryvreckan swim in 22 minutes. Fewer than 100 people have ever completed this swim (more people have been into space).
What this means is that “Into the Maelstrom” is truly taking us into uncharted territory. We believe that this swimming expedition is an exciting new world first and truly an adventure like no other.
Saltstraumen from Saltstraumen Bridge by Frokor (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
The Saltstraumen swim is a rapid sprint across a 0.25km tidal split with the world's fastest whirlpool. Up to 400,000,000 cubic metres of seawater forces its way through a three kilometre long and 250-metre wide strait every six hours, with water speeds reaching 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph).
No one has ever attempted either of these swims and we're truly heading into uncharted waters. This adventure will be our greatest challenge yet and the biggest test of our brotherhood so far.
Not only are these swims across two mighty whirlpools with the strongest and fastest currents in the world, we will have to contend with the freezing cold water of the Arctic Circle, over 600 killer whales roaming the region, and the infamous Lion's Mane Jellyfish – which can grow bigger than a human. The very real prospect of a large black shape appearing beneath us in the abyss is frightening to say the least – but it's important to remember that we're entering their home and not the other way round.
Swimming across the Corryvreckan
Green Adventures July 2016
Calum Hudson is the middle brother of the – three brothers raised in the Cumbrian outback who together promote wild swimming, conservation and the connection between the arts and the natural world. They want to inspire people of all ages to take part in open water swimming. Calum graduated from the University of Durham with a degree in Law, and is no stranger to the UK's Iron Man, Celt Man and The Brutal extreme triathlons.