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Swimmer Reaches Hawaii Six Months After Entering the Pacific Ocean in Japan

A French swimmer has reached Hawaii just over six months after stepping into the seas in Japan as he attempted to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

Benoit Lecomte entered the water on June 5 in Choshi, on the eastern cost of Japan, approximately 80 miles east of Tokyo.

Read more: This adventurer just became the first person to swim 1,780 miles around the British Isles  

The 51-year-old aimed to swim to San Francisco, situated some 5,500 miles away to raise awareness of the increasing plastic pollution that plagues the world’s oceans.

On Monday, he came ashore on Queens Beach in Oahu, Hawaii, after bad weather forced him to make an unscheduled stop.

"My legs are a little shaky," he was quoted as saying by CNN affiliate KHON2. "I'm not used to having something stable, but it feels good. I grabbed some sand with my hand to feel the earth.

"We had very bad weather along the way. We tried to fix a few things that broke on the boat, the reef and all that, but in the end we couldn't [do] that. It was putting too much stress on the boat [that has accompanied him throughout] and compromising our safety also, so we decided to hold off on the swim.”

Despite stopping in Hawaii, he told the TV station San Francisco remains its end goal.

Lecomte planned to swim to California via the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a large system of circulating ocean currents of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean.

The patch, a collection of plastic, chemical sludge and other debris, floats approximately halfway between California and Hawaii. While researchers have suggested the patch is inhabited by around 80,000 metric tonnes of plastic, it is seldom easily seen from the sky, due to the fact the plastic is widespread over a large area.

The associate director of sustainability services at a consulting firm, Lecomte said upon his departure that he hoped his endeavor would also shed light on climate change and ocean pollution.

In November, the Frenchman abandoned plans to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean, but insisted he would continue his mission of research alongside his crew.

"Today, The Swim as a world record attempt has stopped but The Swim as a platform keeps on living because it has always been the most important goal of the expedition," he wrote on Facebook on November 27.

Since setting off from Japan, Lecomte has been followed by a yacht called Discoverer, which carries his support crew and a team of researchers from 12 scientific institutions.

The original plan had been for Lecomte to cover approximately 30 miles a day.

The crew would note his GPS position at the end of each day and haul him on board, where he would rest and recuperate, before returning him to the same point at the beginning of the following day.

Benoit Lecomte, The Swim French marathon swimmer Benoit 'Ben' Lecomte, takes the start of his attempt of swimming across the Pacific Ocean in Choshi, Chiba prefecture on June 5, 2018. - Ben Lecomte dived into the Pacific Ocean on June 5, kicking off an epic quest to swim 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) from Tokyo to San Francisco, through shark-infested waters choking with plastic waste. Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

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