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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. 51-year-old Ben is going to travel about nine thousand kilometers.

The swimmer will be faced with storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish and sharp temperature drops of water.

"I am very anxious to start right now", Lecomte said as he prepared to take to the waves. "It's very emotional for a lot of people here".

Part adventure, part scientific research, Lecomte and his eight-person support team will conduct a host of marine experiments as they seek to raise awareness of ocean pollution and plastic contamination.

The patch, between California and Hawaii, was formed by a vortex of ocean currents.

Scientific teams accompanying Lecomte, including NASA, will collect more than 1,000 water samples and study plastic pollution, mammal migration and the effect of extreme endurance events on the human body. He will swim for eight hours, jump on board the support boat to eat and sleep, and then enter the water again.

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"To do the physical aspect of it, yea, it is hard, but what is much more hard is to be in that very hostile environment, and the mind has to be super strong", he said. "You have to make sure you always think about something positive".

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

The 51-year-old, who lives in the United States, has been preparing for more than six years for the swim, with his daily routine including hours of open water swimming.

"I have a schedule of what I'm going to think about for those eight hours... it's always about keeping my mind occupied".

French swimmer Benoit Lecomte to swim across the Atlantic ocean, chose to conquer the largest terrestrial reservoir to draw public attention to a "junk spot" of the ocean. I remember times when we would go on the beach and walk and never see any plastic.


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