Frenchman embarking on protest swim across Pacific Ocean

  • 14/09/2017

A French long-distance swimmer plans to paddle across the Pacific Ocean - a whopping 8850km - to bring attention to ocean pollution.

Benoît Lecomte, 49, has teamed up with Californian non-profit ocean research centre AltaSea to go along on the journey from Tokyo to San Francisco.

Lecomte will break his swim into eight-hour stints which will be completed daily, planning to cover about 65km in each chunk.

He will wade through what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch so researchers can collect data and samples.

Lecomte says he well-aware some people may call him crazy.

"I know it's a crazy feat - but sometimes that's what we have to do to get the attention, in order to get something moving," he explained to CBS News.

Ty Dalitz, one the crew members accompanying Lecomte on his incredible swimming feat, said it was "amazingly crazy, yet a noble thing to do".

The pair will be spending six months together, starting and ending their day on 67-foot sailing yacht The Discoverer.

Right now the boat's docked in California at AltaSea, where the prep work will be carried out - including re-doing some of the living quarters.

Mr Dalitz says the trip normally takes six to eight weeks, "so to drag it out to six months - you know, no one does that. And that in itself is a challenge."

That challenge of course also applies to Mr Lecomte, who say it'll be difficult "to do the same thing over and over - so it's mind over matter".

AltaSea executive director Jenny Krusoe says the non-profit will bring researchers together and is hosting an event Saturday with Mr Lecomte.

"You see the determination in his eyes, and you know he's going to do it," she told CBS.

Plus he's already done it on the United States' east coast. He swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.

The swim is scheduled to begin early next year.

CBS News.