Lonely Planet Writer

Meet the man attempting to swim across the Atlantic Ocean in four months

A man is about to embark on an epic attempt to be the first person in history to swim every mile of the Atlantic Ocean, setting off on a 2000-mile journey from Africa to Brazil.

Ben during a heated training swim in Florida Keys Community College.
Ben during a heated training swim in Florida Keys Community College. Image by Swim The Big Blue

Ben Hooper from the United Kingdom will set off in two days from Dakar, Senegal, with the final destination being Natal in north-east Brazil where he is expected to land in March next year. Using a front crawl technique, Ben will swim up to a total of ten hours per day, in two sessions, over the course of 140 days, stopping for recovery. Attempting to set the Guinness World Record as the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, he will need to swim the straight-line distance of at least 1632 nautical miles to meet his goal. He will be taking a near 3000-nautical-mile sailing route due south across the equator to account for drift, whilst sleeping on the boat at night, keeping his straight line distance.

Throughout his journey, Ben will battle 30-foot swells and harsh equatorial sun, passing through shark- and jellyfish-inhabited regions. He will need to eat every 20-30 minutes in the water and will be receiving food and drink by a pole from his support team. He will have no contact with support vessels during his daily swimming session unless an emergency or safety risk warrants it, and will be attempting to avoid the need for a wet suit in the 26 – 34 degree-centigrade water. Ben will also be wearing a shark shield device as a safety precaution throughout the swim.

Ben charting out his long journey.
Ben charting out his long journey. Image by Swim The Big Blue
The attempt is expected to take Ben four months to complete.
The attempt is expected to take Ben four months to complete.

The epic attempt was inspired by an incident in Ben’s childhood when he was nearly drowned. His team told Lonely Planet News that ever since it happened he has been determined to swim across an ocean, viewing the challenge as a life-changing opportunity. He has trained in over 12 million metres of pool distance as well as swimming in Florida, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to prepare for the attempt. Funds from the journey are being donated to four charities, with members of the public sponsoring the swim.

To track Ben’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean and to find out more about his world record attempt visit the Swim The Big Blue website.