Cross-Pacific swimmer to pass through garbage vortex
08 June, 2018, 00:29 | Author: Darnell Taylor
Ben Lecomte has set off from Japan in an effort to swim to California, undaunted by sharks, low temperatures, fierce weather, a very big garbage patch-and the fact that nobody has even swum across the Pacific before.
Ben Lecomte dived into the Pacific Ocean on June 5, kicking off an epic quest to swim 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) from Tokyo to San Francisco, through shark-infested waters choking with plastic waste. He designed his route to pass through a collection of micro-plastic refuse roughly the size of Germany, France and Britain combined.
"I am very anxious to start right now", Lecomte said as he prepared to take to the waves.
Lecomte will be accompanied by a specially outfitted support boat named Discoverer.
One of the challenges will be making sure he has enough energy each day, and Lecomte said he intends to consume 8,000 calories daily.
More than 27 organizations, including some medical and oceanographic bodies, will be benefiting from Lecomte's Pacific odyssey.
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His training included hours of open water swimming, and "visualization" exercises to prepare mentally.
After swimming across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998 he promised himself "never again", but Lecomte felt compelled to take on the monstrous Pacific after starting a family.
Scientific teams accompanying Lecomte, including NASA, will collect more than 1,000 water samples and study plastic pollution, mammal migration and the effect of extreme endurance events on the human body.
'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. "Now, everywhere I go on the beach, I see plastic everywhere".
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That leaves open the possibility that microorganisms once populated our planetary neighbour and still might. New Mars discoveries are advancing the case for possible life on the red planet, past or even present.
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