Ben Lecomte is a long distance swimmer from France who is currently swimming his way from Tokyo, Japan to San Francisco, CA. His route covers over 5,000-miles, and is the first citizen science expedition of its kind, according to The Swim.

Swim from San Fransisco to Japan

Ben Lecomte. Photo: Courtesy of The Swim

Lecomte was the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kickboard in 1998; now, he is attempting to swim across the Pacific.

He and his crew left on June 5th, and plan to arrive in Japan within the next 6-8 months. Swimming with sharks and expecting to be stung by jellyfish daily, his plan is to swim 8 hours a day, which totals to over 1,440 hours and burns over 8,000 calories a day.

A swim for science. Photo: Courtesy of The Swim

So, why is he taking on this massive swim? Lecomte and his team have spent over 7 years preparing for this traverse, all with the mission to spread awareness of plastic pollution. According to The Swim, Lecomte will be joined by 27 science institutions (Scripps, NASA, etc.), who will collect “over than 1000 samples along the way to learn more about plastic pollution, mammal migrations, extreme endurance and even long term spaceflight.”

Swim from San Fransisco to Japan

The route. Photo: Courtesy of The Swim

Lecomte’s route passes directly through the Plastic Accumulation Zone in the North Pacific Gyre. According to The Swim, the latest studies “found up to 1 million microplastic pieces per square kilometer in this area.” Because of his slow pace, the follow-crew will able to collect an enormous amount of samples along the way.

The scientists and rest of the crew will be following from a distance on a sailing yacht, where Lecomte will eat, sleep, and rest after a day of swimming. Guiding Lecomte’s direction will be an inflatable motorboat conducted by two who will keep a close eye on him and mark his exact location via GPS when it is time to rest on the yacht.

You can keep up with his journey here.

h/t The Swim

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