French man to cross Great Pacific Garbage Patch on 6-month swim

Ismael LynchJun 08, 2018

Part adventurer, part environmentalist, Lecomte hopes to raise awareness of plastic contamination and ocean pollution and his support team will conduct a raft of experiments on the trip, expected to take between six to eight months. "But I knew I was going to come back to that project eventually".

Lecomte aims to swim around eight hours a day and will burn off more than 8,000 calories daily in the process.

More than 27 organizations, including some medical and oceanographic bodies, will be benefiting from Lecomte's Pacific odyssey.

Lecomte, whose departure took place on World Environment Day, has said he is concerned about the effect of pervasive plastic pollution on marine ecosystems.

The support boat will be fitted with a Global Positioning System tracker and interested viewers will be able to track its progress on Mr Lecomte's website. "Rather than calling it an island of trash, it is more like plastic smog throughout the ocean". I remember times when we would go to the beach and walk and never see any plastic.

"The mental part is much more important than the physical. It's a problem we created and there is a very easy solution to start reversing it-single-use plastics for example, if we stop using them that will make a big change".

The Frenchman, whose Atlantic crossing was never ratified by Guinness World Records because it can not be fully verified that he resumed his swims in the exact point he stopped them the day before, believes the mental battle will be tougher than the physical endurance.

"The challenge is to keep doing the same thing for hour after hour and day after day", 50-year-old Mr Lecomte told The Telegraph before his departure from Choshi Beach, to the north-east of Tokyo.

"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 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.

"I am a little bit like a tiger in a cage, ready to go".

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