Swimmer faces sharks, massive garbage patch on record Pacific crossing

Postado Junho 08, 2018

Long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte has embarked on his historic attempt to become the first man to cross the Pacific Ocean as he was waved off by his children.

A Frenchman has set out to break a world record, swimming from Japan to San Francisco. He designed his route to pass through a collection of micro-plastic refuse roughly the size of Germany, France and Britain combined.

"I'm very anxious to start right now", said the swimmer as he prepared to take to the waves.

"The challenge is to keep doing the same thing for hour after hour and day after day", 50-year-old Mr Lecomte told The Telegraph before his departure from Choshi Beach, to the north-east of Tokyo.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind, it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts", he said. He will be accompanied throughout the journey by a support boat, where he will rest, eat and sleep before restarting his swim every morning.

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.

"What is going to be hard is every morning going back in the water (because) you hit a wall, normally after 4-6 hours", he said of the mental challenge.

Teams of scientists are also accompanying the swimmer and will collect more than 1,000 water samples and study plastic pollution and mammal migration.

"It didn't happen very soon after the Atlantic (swim) because I got married, I had children, so I put that aside". I remember times when we would go on the beach and walk and never see any plastic.

"I have a schedule of what I'm going to think about for those eight hours... it's always about keeping my mind occupied".

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.