Champion freediver and conservationist Sacha Dench (31) is originally Australian, but holds a joint British-Australian Nationality, and has a British National Depth Record in her name from when she competed at the World Championships in Ibiza 2001.
Ms. Dench is about to go on a journey of a lifetime! Sacha Dench, who works for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Slimbridge, London, will fly 7,242km (4500 miles) from the Russian Arctic to Britain following the Bewick’s Swans on their annual migration. The champion freediver uses a parachute wing strapped to a small propeller engine.
The goal of the expedition is to uncover new information about the Bewick swans whose numbers have halved over the past 20 years, and with her remarkable journey she will try to unite different cultures in an attempt to reverse the decline. Her research objectives are amongst others exploring new research opportunities, from doing an aerial survey of the swans’ breeding grounds to documenting the turbulence from wind turbines.
Her extraordinary journey comes with many challenges similar as faced by the swans. The first challenge will be to safely cross the Russian tundra, one of the most wild and hostile places on earth where she faces extreme weather conditions and possibly coming face to face with top predators like polar beers. Other challenges are finding safe places to land, rest and refuel. Because of the limited food and water supply she’s able to carry with her on board the paramotor she even attended a survival course teaching her how to fish and find eatable plants and berries and such.
The total migration will last about 10 weeks and covers 11 countries before she returns in Gloucestershire this next autumn which will also make her the first female crossing the channel by paramotor.
WWT is still looking for volunteers to join Sacha’s team. The WWT is especially interested in expedition planners, engineers and filmmaker for the expedition itself since the whole expedition will be filmed, documented, and will be broadcasted live. If you are interested in helping out WWT and Sasha Dench on this remarkable conservation project you can apply here.
EDIT: Link no longer active.
FREEDIVE+ will follow the developments closely and report on the expedition regularly.