Man plans 5,500 mile swim across Pacific to highlight plastic pollution

cross-pacific swimmer photo
© Seeker

I sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough. This guy makes those feelings worse.

From time to time, most of us environmentalists get hit with that feeling that we are not doing enough to divert the planetary crisis. There's nothing like receiving a press release about a dude who is literally going to swim the entire Pacific Ocean to compound those feelings...

Now, from crossing the ocean on a boat made from trash to the woman who paddleboarded across England documenting litter, we've seen some relatively epic journeys on the quest to clean up our oceans and waterways.

But long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte—the first person to swim the Atlantic—is blowing them all (sorry!) out of the water. Together with a team from the folks at Seeker.com and Discovery, Ben is embarking on The Longest Swim—an attempt to swim the 5,500 miles from Japan to California—taking him right through the famed Great Pacific Garbage Patch—in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans.

Accompanied by a yacht and support team, Ben isn't just doing this for awareness and publicity. He'll also be collecting more than 1000 samples along the way, partnering with respected science institutions like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to study issues ranging from plastics pollution to mammal migration.

He's also likely going to have to deal with sharks:

The Longest Swim mapThe Longest Swim/Screen capture

Now, a quick visit to the project's trailer on YouTube will reveal plenty of geniuses pointing out that he's going to have to stop to sleep and eat. Which is a given. The entire journey is going to take 180 days, so it's somewhat silly to complain about the man needing to eat or sleep. But for those wondering, the plan is to spend eight hours a day in the water, covering an average distance of 30 miles per day. He'll be eating/sleeping/resting on the yacht, but the crew will be marking his exact location with GPS when he exits the water, and he'll be plonked right where he left off to continue his journey.

Anyone interested in following along can do so on the live tracker embedded on The Longest Swim website. You can also tune in to Seeker.com and its social channels to watch daily videos and live moments from the expedition, with weekly updates on Discovery.

Good luck Ben! And rather you than me...

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