French swimmer begins attempt to swim across Pacific Ocean


Ben Lecomte, a French long-distance swimmer, dropped into the water Tuesday at Choshi, Japan, and embarked on his attempt to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean, BBC News reports.

Six years in the planning, the 5,500-mile effort is expected to take five to six months, with Lecomte swimming eight hours a day and covering an average of 30 miles daily, according to his website.

His route to San Francisco will take him through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area three times the size of France where large amounts of garbage and plastic waste have collected, CNN reports.

More on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Trash and assorted garbage collected form the North Pacific Gyre. The ORV Alguita returns to Long beach after four months at sea sampling the waters of the great Pacific garbage patch' in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Long Beach, California, USA.

(Photo by: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Trash and assorted garbage collected form the North Pacific Gyre. The ORV Alguita returns to Long beach after four months at sea sampling the waters of the great Pacific garbage patch' in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Long Beach, California, USA. (Photo by: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Plastic sample jars. The ORV Alguita returns to Long beach after four months at sea sampling the waters of the great Pacific garbage patch' in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Long Beach, California, USA. (Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Plastic sample jars. The ORV Alguita returns to Long beach after four months at sea sampling the waters of the great Pacific garbage patch' in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Long Beach, California, USA. (Photo by: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Trash and assorted garbage collected form the North Pacific Gyre. The ORV Alguita returns to Long beach after four months at sea sampling the waters of the great Pacific garbage patch' in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Long Beach, California, USA. (Photo by: Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 02: Marine researcher Charles Moore holds an ocean water sample with debris from the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch? in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. The garbage patch is a floating garbage dump about the size of Australia created by Pacific currents. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 02: Marine researcher Charles Moore holds a tray of debris collected on a beach in Hawaii washed ashore from the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch? in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. The garbage patch is a floating garbage dump about the size of Australia created by Pacific currents. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 02: Marine researcher Charles Moore displays a tray of toothbrushes collected among the debris on a beach in Hawaii washed ashore from the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. The garbage patch is a floating garbage dump about the size of Australia created by Pacific currents. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 02: Marine researcher Charles Moore displays plastic debris, including umbrella handles, collected on a beach in Hawaii washed ashore from the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. The garbage patch is a floating garbage dump about the size of Australia created by Pacific currents. (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A small amount of debris found by Ocean Voyages Institute's ship, the Kaisei, is put on display in Richmond, British Columbia August 8, 2012. The tall ship has just returned from the North Pacific where crew members tracked and salvaged man-made debris found floating in the area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The ship also conducted research on debris from last year's Japanese tsunami, which is currently floating across the Pacific and beginning to wash up on shores along the North American West Coast. REUTERS/Andy Clark (CANADA - Tags: SOCIETY MARITIME DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
Mary Crowley, executive director and founder of the Ocean Voyages Institute, walks onboard their ship, the Kaisei, in Richmond, British Columbia August 8, 2012. The tall ship has just returned from the North Pacific where crew members tracked and salvaged manmade debris found floating in the area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The ship also conducted research on debris from last year's Japanese tsunami, which is currently floating across the Pacific and beginning to wash up on shores along the North American West Coast. REUTERS/Andy Clark (CANADA - Tags: SOCIETY MARITIME DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
A liquor bottle, found amid the debris recovered by Ocean Voyages Institute's ship, the Kaisei, is put on display in Richmond, British Columbia August 8, 2012. The tall ship has just returned from the North Pacific where crew members tracked and salvaged manmade debris found floating in the area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The ship also conducted research on debris from last year's Japanese tsunami, which is currently floating across the Pacific and beginning to wash up on shores along the North American West Coast. REUTERS/Andy Clark (CANADA - Tags: DISASTER MARITIME SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - JUNE 22: The Ocean Clean Up North Sea Prototype lies in the water after its unveiling to the press on June 22, 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands. Initiated by Dutch environmentalist Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup's floating barrier will be tested for extreme weather at sea to prepare for its eventual deployment in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)
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Lecomte will be accompanied by a specially outfitted support boat named Discoverer. He will take rest periods on the boat, but it will return him to his stopping point each day to make sure he swims the entire distance.  

In addition to accomplishing a first, Lecomte said, he wants to draw attention to the problems of ocean pollution and climate change. A team of scientists plan to conduct research for 12 scientific institutions, including NASA and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, while he is making his swim.

Lecomte is no stranger to feats of long-distance open-water swimming. In 1998, he swam 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. On that swim he encountered sharks and stingrays. This time, he said, he will be wearing a shark-repellent bracelet.

Earlier: Benoit Lecomte's swim across the Atlantic

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Benoit Lecomte's swim across the Atlantic
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Benoit Lecomte's swim across the Atlantic
QUIBERON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: French swimmer Benoit 'Ben' Lecomte (R) is welcomed, on September 25, 1998 on the beach of Port-Maria in Quiberon by his girlfriend Tinny (C) and his mother Liliane (L), the arrival of his crossing the Atlantic from the United States to France. some 5,400 km, undertaken since mid-July. (Photo by Marcel MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images)
QUIBERON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: French Benoit Lecomte is swimming off the coast of Britanny, 10 sea miles from Port-Maria de Quiberon, 25 September, after crossing the Atlantic from the United States to France. Lecomte started his crossing by mid-July. (Photo by MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images)
QUIBERON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: French Benoit Lecomte is swimming off the coast of Britanny, 10 sea miles from Port-Maria de Quiberon, September 25, 1998, after crossing the Atlantic from the United States to France. Lecomte started his crossing by mid-July. (Photo by MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images)
QUIBERON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: French Benoit Lecomte is welcomed by his girlfriend on the beach of Port-Maria in Quiberon on September 25, 1998, after crossing the Atlantic from the United States to France. Lecomte started his crossing mid-July. (Photo by MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images)
QUIBERON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: French Benoit Lecomte swims on September 25, 1998 10 miles off Port-Maria de Quiberon, Brittany, after crossing the Atlantic from the United States to France. Next to him is the yacht 'Falbala' with an unidentied sailor who accompanied Lecomte during the 5,400 kilometer crossing of the Atlantic which started by mid-July. (Photo by MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images)
Benoit Lecomte, originally from Enghien Les Bains, France and now an airline employee in Texas, rests at the dockside after swimming in the waters off Hyannis, Massachusetts in preparation for his transAtlantic swimming attempt July 15. Lecomte, who intends to swim the 3,400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Hyannis to Brest, France in approximately three months of daily swimming, will depart the United States on July 16.
Benoit Lecomte, originally from Enghien Les Bains, France and now an airline employee in Texas, warms up for the start of his transatlantic swimming attempt July 15 in the waters off Hyannis, Massachusetts. Lecomte, who intends to swim the 3,400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Hyannis to Brest, France in approximately three months of daily swimming, will depart the United States on July 16. JRB/SV/AA
Benoit Lecomte, originally from Enghien Les Bains, France and now an airline employee in Texas, dons his special wetsuit for practice in the waters off Hyannis, Massachusetts July 15 to warm up for his transatlantic swimming attempt. Lecomte, who intends to swim the 3,400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Hyannis to Brest, France in approximately three months of daily swimming, will depart the United States on July 16.
Benoit Lecomte proposes marriage to his girlfriend Trinh Dang with the words "Marry Me?" written on his flippers as he heads into the water for the start of his transatlantic swimming attempt July 16 in the waters off Hyannis, Massachusetts. The 31-year old Frenchman waded into the waters off Massachusetts to began an attempt to swim 3,400 miles (5,440 km) across the Atlantic Ocean. JRB/VM/CLH/
Frenchman Benoit Lecomte gets a hug and kiss in the water from his girlfriend Trinh Dang immediately after proposing to her with the words "Trinh Will You Marry Me?" written on his flippers as he headed into the water for the start of his transatlantic swimming attempt July 16 off Hyannis, Massachusetts. Lecomte intends to swim the 3,400 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Hyannis to Brest, France in approximately three months of daily swimming. JRB/VM/CLH/
Frenchman Benoit Lecomte swims away from the shoreline of Cape Cod at the start of his transatlantic swimming attempt July 16 in the waters off Hyannis, Massachusetts. The 31-year old Frenchman waded into the waters off Massachusetts to began an attempt to swim 3,400 miles (5,440 km) across the Atlantic Ocean. JRB/VM/CLH/
Frenchman Benoit "Ben" Lecomte swims off the Brittany port of Quiberon at the end of his trans-Atlantic swim, Septermber 25. Lecomte left Cape Cod on July 16 to undertake the 5,400 kilometre swim aided by a yacht. JES/CLH/
French swimmer Benoit Lecomte (C) is congratulated by is girlfriend Tinny (L) and friends as he arrives at the Breton port of Quiberon at the end of his trans-Atlantic swim, September 25. Ben Lecomte left Cape Cod on July 16 to undertake the 5,400 kilometre swim aided by a yacht. ??�
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One of the challenges will be making sure he has enough energy each day, and Lecomte said he intends to consume 8,000 calories daily.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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