Lonely Planet Writer

This man is swimming across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco

Through sharks, raging waters and paralysing jellyfish, this man’s quest to conquer the ocean is as perilous as it gets. French swimmer Ben Lecomte aims to be the first man to make a record attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco.

It’s going to be a very, very long journey. Image by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

The 9000km (5500 miles) adventure is expected to take more than six months and is said to be part-research and part-adventure. He and his support team of eight, while out at sea, plan to host a variety of marine experiences while raising awareness of plastic contamination and ocean pollution.

Lecomte set off from Japan on 5 June and plans to swim for eight hours a day which will burn more than 8000 calories. “It was a day loaded with emotions; I was finally going to start the swim after so many years dreaming about it and seven years of tumultuous preparations, I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Ben said of his departure. “But it was also difficult to know that I was leaving my friends and family behind”.

Lecomte dived into the Pacific Ocean kicking off an epic quest swimming through shark-infested waters choking with plastic waste. Image by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Wearing just a wetsuit, snorkel and fins, he will be at the mercy of the elements during the day. When out of the water the avid swimmer will rest and eat on the 20-metre support boat and will enter the water exactly where he exits the following day.

According to Lecomte, the biggest challenge will in fact not be the storms or dangerous marine life, but in fact the monotony of doing the same thing for six months. The swimmer noted that he needed to be physically ready of course but also mentally prepared. “Ben’s average swimming speed is 2.5 knots,” his website says. “With the push of the Kuroshio and North Pacific currents, he plans on swimming an average distance of 30 miles per day”.

Ben is no stranger to swimming in dangerous waters. Image by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

But this isn’t the first time that Lecomte has taken on a challenge like this. A decade ago, he become the first to do a solo trans-Atlantic swim covering over 6400km (4000 miles) in just 73 days. Lecomte was taught by his father to swim and raised money during this time for cancer research as a tribute to him.

You can find out more about Lecomte’s journey through his logbook on The Longest Swim here.