Way back in June we reported on the start of long distance swimmer Ben Lecomte’s attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean. Later, we followed up that story with an update on his progress and the news that he was encountering far more trash and plastic debris than expected. Now, we have further news on this monumental undertaking as the French endurance athlete passes a major milestone.
Lecomte is now approaching the end of his fourth month in the water and progress has been slow and difficult at times. When he set out, he estimated that it would take roughly 180 days to complete what he calls The Long Swim. But this undertaking is proving even harder than he suspected as Ben has only now passed the 1000 nautical mile (1150 miles/1852 km) mark. Still, he isn’t about to give up and there is a lot to accomplish out on the water yet.
Part of the challenge has been the number of massive storms that Ben and his team have encountered while crossing the Pacific. There has been an unusually high number of typhoons so far this year, some of which have forced him to return to shore to wait out the weather. But in doing so, the team was very careful to mark the exact GPS location of where Lecomte entered and exited the water so they could return to that spot to resume the swim.
As you can probably imagine, swimming 1000 nautical miles will take its toll on the body and the video below helps put that into perspective. If you want to see just how the demands of swimming for so long impact someone, take look at the clip. It is sobering to say the least.
The purpose of The Longest Swim is to raise awareness of the threats to our planet’s oceans, not the least of which is the amount of plastics and trash that are collecting there. Just last week alone, the crew of Ben’s support ship collected more than 600 pieces of microplastics, an average of 85 pieces per day. That’s a staggering number and a good indication of what he is encountering out on the water.
If you want to follow Ben’s progress, be sure to visit his official website or check for updates on Facebook and Twitter. He still has a very long way to go, but he isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
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