The wind was up again this morning, and Aquila had been rocking a little more strongly than I'd have liked all night long.

Motoring out of Portland Marina, I was anxious that we'd be in for a rough day.

For once, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The sun burnt off the early morning cloud and the minute we turned the corner around Portland Bill and headed towards our start position in Lyme Bay, the swell dropped entirely to reveal a flat ocean.

There was a knot of current in the right direction and the skipper put me in just as it started to build. The water was a gorgeous 19C (66F) and there was not a jellyfish in sight. I flew.

Lost in my own thoughts, the first two hours went by without me barely noticing it.

I was engrossed by a question of politics.

The former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, resigned from his post the day before I started this swim.

When he did, he failed to follow through on a promise he made to the British public - a promise to protect the waters of our overseas territories, starting with South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The waters around these islands are one of the world's most important biodiversity hot spots and are home to iconic species like king penguins, humpback whales and elephant seals.

They desperately need our protection.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt can in one move create a marine protected area around these islands to future-proof these areas against the destruction we are seeing in many other parts of the Southern Ocean.

The importance cannot be underestimated - the proposed area around the South Sandwich Islands is more than double the size of the UK.

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 08.34.59.png

In almost all areas around the world there has been a dramatic decrease in penguin populations.

The largest king penguin population the in world, which was on the French islands of Ile aux Cochons, for example, has shrunk by nearly 90% in the past 30 years - from 500,000 to 60,000 pairs since the 1980s.

I have been fortunate to swim amongst king penguins, and I can tell you that there is nothing more humbling.

To see how these birds, who awkwardly hop over land and are unable to fly, are transformed when they enter the water into agile divers totally at home in their environment. They fly underwater.

We have the responsibility to protect species like this, both in overseas territories and for other species in domestic seas, but we have become complacent and arrogant.

We are not good stewards, but that could change - today.

8.2 miles (13.2km)