Swimmer sets off in attempt to be first to cross Pacific

James Marshall
June 5, 2018

Long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte has set off from Japan's east coast in his bid to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

Benoit Lecomte aims to reach San Francisco, some 9,000 kilometres away, in six to eight months on a journey combining adventure with scientific experiments.

He's doing this swim to raise awareness about the health of the world's oceans and the threat of pollution.

"The mental part is much more important than the physical". You have to make sure you always think about something positive or you always have something to think about.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts".

Out at sea were the 20-metre yacht and inflatable boat, which will accompany him across the ocean.

His Atlantic crossing in 1998 was never ratified by Guinness World Records because it could not be verified that he had resumed his swims at the exact point he stopped the previous day.

More than 27 different scientific organisations, some medical and some oceanographic, will be benefiting from the data gathered during the expedition by Mr Lecomte's support team. I remember times when we would go to the beach and walk and never see any plastic.

He will also wear a device to test levels of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was hit by a tsunami in 2011.

"It made me think what [the] future for my kids is going to be like".

"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".

In 1998, Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean, starting in MA and finishing in France, the BBC reported.

But Lecomte will actually be in the water, potential shark bait. On that swim he encountered sharks and stingrays.

His route to San Francisco will take him through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area three times the size of France where large amounts of garbage and plastic waste have collected, CNN reports.

But Lecomte knows the application of science-and a boat stocked with 2.8 tonnes of food-will only get him so far.

He said the hardest part was getting back into the chilly water every morning and admitted that he would hit a "wall" after around four to six hours every day.

"I try to disassociate my mind from my body and everything that happens to my body - pain or cold, I try to put aside".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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