Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Swimmer sets off in attempt to be first to cross Pacific

Swimmer sets off in attempt to be first to cross Pacific

Ben Lecomte is set to cover 9,000km (5,600 miles) battling giant waves, jellyfish and the "Great Pacific garbage patch" - a large collection of plastic waste in the ocean between California and Hawaii.

"It is mind over matter", said Lecomte, who is also an architectural consultant based in Austin, Texas when not in the water.

Lecomte is shaking off any personal threat.

"I'm like a tiger in a cage going around and around", he added, after seven years of planning.

For Lecomte, raising awareness of these issues is more important than setting any record. 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", he said.

He told Reuters last week that his plan was to swim for eight hours daily, and consume more than 8,000 calories each day.

Lecomte will be accompanied by a specially outfitted support boat named Discoverer. This is far from the first challenge Lecomte has taken up.

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The Lecomte has already swum the Atlantic ocean in 1998, breaking 6400 kilometers over 73 days.

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.

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.

"I am a little bit like a tiger in a cage, ready to go".

"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".

But Lecomte will actually be in the water, potential shark bait.

Organizers say Lecomte completed a similar swim across the Atlantic in 1998. He could face sharks, cold temperatures and storms during the swim, CBS reported. In the Pacific, the biggest accumulation of plastic smog is about the size of Germany, France, and Britain combined and Lecomte will swim right through it.

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