Photo credit: @thevortexswim
When last we updated on Ben Lecomte’s cross-Pacific journey, Ben had arrived in Hawaii and made the call to end his journey there – with the promise that he’d get back in the water and continue to swim the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about plastic pollution at a later date. That time has come. Ben is planning to complete a 300 nautical mile swim through the plastic Vortex – also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He’s seventeen days in on this journey, and approaching 50 nautical miles.
The Vortex Swim
According to an Icebreaker Press Release, “Single use plastic is the most obvious of offenders when we consider ocean plastic pollution. Yet the biggest offender of plastic pollution is something that might not be front of mind: our clothes.”
In fact, it seems that “[w]ashing clothing can release up to 700,000 synthetic microfibers per full load” – and these fibers then make their way into our water ways and ultimately our food chain. The Vortex Swim’s primary purpose is to raise awareness of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced in the world each year. Ben’s 300 nautical miles will include taking samples every 30-50 nautical miles to obtain an extensive sampling of plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California.
Ben’s Journey So Far
The Vortex Swim will span over 100 days, should all go as planned. As with The Big Swim, Ben has a crew and a boat, The Discoverer, following him and providing resources and a resting place. Thus far, they’ve had no problem encountering a variety of debris. With larger debris, Ben and his crew face a dilemma: “Most of the Plastic we find has life growing on it and fish using it as shelter. The question is: Do we leave it to save those animals now? Or take it to stop it from breaking up into smaller and smaller fragments potentially hurting more animals in the future?”
Follow Ben’s Journey
We’ll be checking in on Ben as he completes his goal of swimming 300 nautical miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You can also keep abreast by following The Vortex Swim live tracker and checking in with Ben on his Facebook Page as updates are posted. I have no words for how proud I am of Ben Lecomte – and how excited I am – for him to be undertaking this new project.