A French swimmer attempts to be the first person who swims the Pacific

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His path will be through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in a bid to raise awareness of plastic pollution. His start was on Chōshi, Japan, aiming to reach San Francisco, 5,500 miles away. Lecomte will need to swim for eight hours a day for six months, with an average of 30 miles a day. He could face sharks, swarms of jellyfish and storms as he travels from Japan to the US west coast. The Great Pacific garbage patch, according to the latest March estimate, is twice the size of France and contains nearly 80,000 tonnes of plastic. Lecomte has been physically training for this journey for four years, and has spent even more time putting together the scientific and practical preparations. Researchers and eight support crew members will accompany Lecomte in a yacht called Discoverer.

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Researchers from 12 scientific institutions, including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will be conducting studies and gathering samples throughout his swim. In 1998, Lecomte was first person to swim across Atlantic Ocean (4,000 miles) without a kickboard. After having a shark follow him for five days during his Atlantic crossing, Lecomte is prepared this time, with a shark repellant bracelet. A live tracker for Lecomte’s progress was set up and can be accessed here.

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