Man begins to swim across Pacific Ocean, garbage patch and all

3 2018 French swimmer Benoit

Swimmer faces sharks, massive garbage patch on record Pacific crossing

Ben Lecomte has set off from Japan in an effort to swim to California, undaunted by sharks, low temperatures, fierce weather, a huge garbage patch-and the fact that nobody has even swum across the Pacific before.

A French man set off on a daunting excursion Tuesday, hoping to swim six months through a massive pile of garbage and raise awareness of plastic pollution. In the Pacific, the biggest accumulation of plastic smog is about the size of Germany, France, and Britain combined and Lecomte will swim right through it.

The 50-year-old's plan is to swim for eight hours a day, as well as consume over 8,000 calories, as he undertakes an extraordinary journey that is part-adventure and part-scientific experiment.

"The mental part is much more important than the physical. You have to make sure you always think about something positive or you always have something to think about", he said.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts".

More than 27 organizations, including some medical and oceanographic bodies, will be benefiting from Lecomte's Pacific odyssey.

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Lecomte will be accompanied by a specially outfitted support boat named Discoverer.

The team accompanying Lecomte will collect water samples each day along the way to determine the level of plastic and microplastic pollution.

When Ben Lecomte stepped on to land for the first time after swimming across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, he told himself "never again".

His training included hours of open water swimming, and "visualization" exercises to prepare mentally.

"I try to disassociate my mind from my body and everything that happens to my body - pain or cold, I try to put aside".

To keep the boredom at bay, and to perhaps stave off thoughts of just how far he still has to go before he passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Mr Lecomte draws up a detailed schedule of what he will think about for each of the eight to 10 hours he will spend in the water during the epic swim.

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