Storms halt Pacific swim record attempt
TOKYO, Aug 2, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Powerful storms have forced a Frenchman
attempting to become the first person to swim cross the Pacific Ocean to
suspend his bid, nearly two months into the mammoth undertaking.
Ben Lecomte set off on June 5 from Choshi in Japan, planning to swim
across the ocean in six to eight months.
But after nearly two months swimming eight hours a day, severe storms
forced the 51-year-old to head back to port in Japan, Seeker, a media company
tracking the swim, said Wednesday.
“Two typhoons, Jongdari and Wukong, have interrupted his momentum and
forced the ship to head back to port in Japan — a development that reflects
the difficulty of the journey and the unpredictability of the ocean,” Seeker
said in a post that Lecomte also tweeted on his account.
“Lecomte is as determined as ever to forge ahead with his historic trans-
Seeker did not say when the attempt might resume.
Lecomte was 800 kilometres (500 miles) into the 9,000-km swim when the
weather forced the crew to turn back.
He consumed 8,000 calories a day to keep him going.
Part adventurer, part environmentalist, Lecomte organised the swim to
raise awareness of plastic contamination and ocean pollution.
His support team conducted a raft of experiments on the trip, including
collecting samples of plastic waste.
“The trash is way worse than we thought it would be,” Maria Amenabar, a
research assistant with the crew, told Seeker.
Lecomte said the scale of the pollution made him all the more determined
to continue the swim.
“It’s more important now than ever that we make it to the Great Garbage
Patch,” he said, referring to a massive vortex of trash that floats between
the US states of Hawaii and California.
“I want to show people why our oceans are so important.”
BSS/AFP/FI/ 0816 hrs