SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — An environmental activist says he plans to swim from Tokyo to San Francisco to bring attention to ocean pollution.
Ben Lecomte says he will swim through what’s known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during his 5,500-mile journey so that researchers can collect data and samples from the debris.
He knows 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.
Lecomte won’t be alone. He’ll be spending six months on a 67-foot sailing yacht called the Discoverer.
However, even crew member Tyral Dalitz, who will be on the boat traveling alongside Lecomte, says the swim is “crazy.”
“It’s amazingly crazy, yet a noble thing to do,” Dalitz said, adding that the trip normally takes six to eight weeks.
Lecomte says it’s simply “mind over matter.” He’ll also have some physical tools to help, like a specially-designed wet suit to keep him warm in the colder waters of the northern Pacific.
Prep work for the swim is underway at non-profit and ocean research center AltaSea, located in San Pedro.
AltaSea Executive Director Jenny Krusoe met Lecomte six months ago and decided to get involved.
“You see the determination in his eyes and you know he’s going to do it,” Krusoe said.
The organization also hopes to livestream the journey.
Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.
“For me, I don’t know any better, so it’s almost natural,” he said.
The swim begins in spring.