French man to cross Great Pacific Garbage Patch on 6-month swim

James Marshall
June 5, 2018

Ben Lecomte has set off from Japan in an effort to swim to California, undaunted by sharks, low temperatures, fierce weather, a enormous garbage patch-and the fact that nobody has even swum across the Pacific before.

His son and daughter swam with him for the first hundred metres or so, then rejoined a crowd of around 70 well-wishers, with family and friends hugging each other on the shore.

Lecomte said last week that his plan was to swim for eight hours and consume over 8,000 calories each day.

In an interview with AFP just before he began his Odyssey, Lecomte revealed the mind tricks that keep him going through the physical torture of eight hours of ocean swimming per day.

The swimmer is hoping to raise awareness of the plastic waste and ocean pollution blighting the water, with his support team hoping to carry out experiments throughout the trip, which is expected to take between six and eight months.

According to the BBC, Lecomte has spent more than six years preparing, and he has completed a similar swim across the Atlantic in 1998.

"To do the physical aspect of it, sure it is hard and all that but what is much more hard is to be in that very hostile environment, to do that days in and days out, to push you and to push your limits, then the mind has to be super strong". Scientists are increasingly concerned about its effect on marine ecosystems and entry into the food chain.

Microplastic particles come from large plastic trash that has fragmented into smaller pieces or microbeads in products like soap, body wash and toothpaste.

Past of Lecomte's journey will take him through a 1,600-kilometres floating pile of garbage that is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

More than 27 different scientific organizations, some medical and some oceanographic, will be benefiting from the data gathered during the expedition.

"I am very anxious to start right now", Lecomte said as he prepared to take to the waves.

"When I was little and I was with my father walking on the beach, I didn't see any plastic, or hardly any".

"If we are all aware of it then after it is much easier to take action and to change our behaviour because the solution is in our hands. We know what we have to do".

"In the Atlantic, I swam for five days with a shark following me, its fin circling", shrugged Lecomte, who previously suffered nasty stings when jellyfish got caught in his snorkel.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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