Science

Frenchman begins Pacific Ocean crossing attempt

Frenchman begins Pacific Ocean crossing attempt”

That doesn't even begin to cover it. Lecomte, a Frenchman now living in Texas, is attempting a six-month, 5,600-mile swim across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco.

Battling sharks and jellyfish, the passionate environmentalist hopes his epic mission from Tokyo to San Francisco will raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans - an obstacle that could prove to be his most unsafe foe. 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.

He plans to swim eight hours at a time, eating 8,000 calories a day and resting each evening on a support boat.

In this picture taken on June 3, 2018, French swimmer Benoit "Ben" Lecomte poses during an interview with AFP in Choshi, Chiba prefecture.

More than 27 organizations, including some medical and oceanographic bodies, will be benefiting from Lecomte's Pacific odyssey. "Now, everywhere I go on the beach, I see plastic everywhere".

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'Now every time I go with my kids, we see plastic everywhere, ' added Lecomte, who will also wear a device to test levels of radioactive material from the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant. "It's a problem we created and there is a very easy solution to start reversing it-single-use plastics for example, if we stop using them that will make a big change".

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

"To complete the swim is just one goal", Lecomte said.

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 have a schedule of what I'm going to think about for those eight hours... it's always about keeping my mind occupied". "I try to get into as much detail as possible - to sense the wind or the scent of a person walking by".



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