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Sacha Dench - ‘The Human Swan’ travelling 7,000 km from Arctic Russia to the UK on a paramotor!

Charlene Gibson - Oldest British women to summit Cho Oyu in 2016 and now heading to climb Ama Dablam in 2018!

Sacha is an Australian-born conservationist, adventurer and motivational speaker. She works for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in the UK. Over the past 20 years, Berwick swan numbers have nearly halved with just 20,000 remaining in the wild but experts are unsure what is causing the population crash. Sacha had an idea to investigate the problem, which she though was crazy at first.

However, after 18 months of planning in the winter of 2016, Sacha decided to followed their entire 7,000 km migration route from Arctic Russia to the UK. She did this by flying with the birds on a paramotor. Essentially hanging from a paraglider with a propellor on her back!

During this podcast, we learn more about her early life, growing up in Australia, before moving over to the UK. Sacha also shares more about her life as a champion free-diver! She provides advice and top tips that you’ll be able to apply to your next challenge or adventure!


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Show notes

  • Who is Sacha Dench?

  • Growing upon Sydney and spending a lot of time outdoors

  • Moving to the bush with her mum, having a very basic upbringing

  • Getting comfortable being out in remote places

  • How she got to school!

  • Moving to the UK

  • Never really being into sports

  • Working out that she was very good at holding her breath!

  • Free diving and how it came about..

  • Free diving in the UK?

  • Understanding more about Free Diving - what it is and what it’s like being under the water

  • Learning to understand how your body behaves while doing ‘breath holds’

  • Learning how to stay calm and to keep adrenaline under control

  • The transferable skills of free diving - such as mind control and keeping calm

  • The Flight of the Swans..

  • The reason - Declining swan numbers making the migration from arctic Russia to northern Europe. From 29,000 in 1995 to just 18,000 in 2010.

  • How the idea started to form….and why she sat of the idea for a couple of months.

  • Having 18 months to plan and prepare and why she really needed another year to plan and prepare

  • The challenges she had to face and overcome

  • Dealing with the negativity and criticism for her idea

  • The power of connections and why one person can make a difference

  • Doing her research in Russia and developing local partners!

  • The start, heading up to the Arctic!

  • The call of the swans and being accepted as a lead bird

  • What is it like flying in a Paramotor?

  • What was learned about the decline of the swans and the exciting discoveries made along the way

  • The kindness of strangers and the impact Sacha was having by meeting individuals on the journey

  • Being the first women to fly over the English Channel!

  • The next challenge (Spring 2019)- planning to fly around the UK and maybe Ireland!

  • A book and film is on the way!


Social Media

Instagram - @sacha_dench

Twitter - @sachadench


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