This 51-Year-Old Man Just Began Swimming 5,500 Miles Across the Pacific Ocean

by Eben Diskin Jun 5, 2018

If you can’t afford to fly, and get easily seasick on boats, swimming might just be your only option for intercontinental travel. That’s exactly how 51-year-old distance swimmer Benoît Lecomte is choosing to get from Japan to the US: a journey of more than 5,500 miles. But he’s not doing it for lack of other travel options. He already swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, and now he wants a new challenge; he has been preparing for the trans-Pacific journey for the past seven years.

“It couldn’t be a better opportunity to get the attention on the ocean, and the state of the ocean, by doing something crazy like this type of swim” Lecomte told Business Insider, He’s particularly interested in raising awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean, and is partnering with Seeker and Discovery on the journey, which they’re calling “The Swim”. To ensure his safety, Lecomte will be followed by a boat throughout the trip, and he plans to collect samples and test the water, looking for contamination from the Fukushima incident and microplastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The journey itself will consist of eight hours of swimming per day (approximately 30 miles), with the remainder of the time spent resting, sleeping, and eating on the boat. To complete the journey, Lecomte needs to eat 8,000 calories a day, including some soup and other liquites while he’s in the water.

Waves and water temperature pose the most significant risks for Lecomte, as well as unwanted attention from sharks. “They’ll be there,” Lecomte said of potential shark encounters, seemingly unconcerned. He’ll be wearing a magnetic bracelet that will help ward them off, and the boat is equipped with a radar device for spotting them.

You can follow Lecomte’s six-month journey from Choshi to San Francisco on Seeker. They will be broadcasting live coverage of the trip along with short documentaries.

H/T: Business Insider

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