The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is more than twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France, but the sea life in the area are not the only ones impacted by its presence; every bird on the Pacific island of Midway Atoll dies with loads of plastic in their stomachs. It’s these atrocities that Benoît Lecomte hopes to draw attention to in his attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean.
He started this incredible journey on June 5 of this year in Japan and hopes to arrive in San Francisco within six months. The fifty-one-year-old will be swimming for eight hours a day and consuming eight thousand calories a day for six months to maintain stamina and a healthy body weight.
This isn’t the first time Lecomte has attempted a swim of such a large scale, however.
He was the first person to swim four thousand miles across the Atlantic without a kickboard in 1998. He endured storms, twenty-foot waves, jellyfish, ice-cold water temperatures, and being followed for five days by a shark to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research, now known as the World Cancer Research Fund International.
This time is a bit riskier, considering he’ll be swimming through an area where great white sharks are known to migrate. He’s taken some precautions, though. The boat following him will be broadcasting an electromagnetic field, and Lecomte will wear a magnetic bracelet in hopes of warding off any unwanted attention by the beautiful beasts.
His swim is also much longer, at fifty-five thousand miles. But Lecomte, the French swimmer who works at a sustainability service consulting firm in Texas when he’s not breaking records, is determined to succeed. In the process, he’s partnering with twenty-seven organizations, including NASA, to provide important information along the way about pollution, mammal migrations, phytoplankton and so much more.
With so much ugly in the world right now, it’s beautiful to see someone go to such great lengths to raise awareness and attempt to bring about positive change in the world.
If you’d like to stay updated on Lecomte’s journey, Seeker’s channelsand Discovery GO will be posting live video from the boat and more for all those as eager to see him succeed as we are.