Frenchman begins swim across Pacific to raise awareness about ocean’s health

Long distance swimmer Ben Lecomte set off from Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, on Tuesday in his bid to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

"When I was little and I was with my father walking on the beach, I didn't see any plastic, or hardly any", he said.

"In the Atlantic, I swam for five days with a shark following me, its fin circling", shrugged Lecomte, who previously suffered nasty stings when jellyfish got caught in his snorkel.

He's doing this to raise awareness about the health of the world's oceans and the threat of pollution.

"The mental part is much more important than the physical", he told AFP.

They will study plastic debris, the effect of extreme exercise on the heart and examine how the Fukushima nuclear disaster has affected the ocean. You have to make sure you always think about something positive or you always have something to think about. "Now, everywhere I go, on the beach I see plastic everywhere", he says.

Lecomte is no stranger to feats of long-distance open-water swimming.

"The worst thing that can happen is not knowing what you are going to do with your mind and going to the wrong place", he said. In 1998, Lecomte was first person to swim across Atlantic Ocean (4,000 miles) without a kickboard.

"It didn't take that long for me to change my mind", he told NPR. He will be accompanied throughout the journey by a support boat, where he will rest, eat and sleep before restarting his swim every morning.

To keep the boredom at bay, and to perhaps stave off thoughts of just how far he still has to go before he passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Mr Lecomte draws up a detailed schedule of what he will think about for each of the eight to 10 hours he will spend in the water during the epic swim.

"I have a strict no sugar diet. Most of my calories will come from a high-fat diet and include a lot of freeze-dry full meals, rice, pasta and various soups", he posted during a Reddit interview earlier this month.

Much of Lecomte's backing comes from scientific publisher Seeker.com, who will be providing daily updates on his progress as well as promoting research on the data collected by the support team.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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