Article

[DAY 1] Leaving Land

DAY 1
June 5th 2018

It was a day loaded with emotions; I was finally going to start the swim after so many years dreaming about it and 7 years of tumultuous preparations, I couldn’t be more excited about it. But it was also difficult to know that I was leaving my friends and family behind.

During the drive to the beach, my children and my wife didn’t say much, it was an intense quiet moment, no word could have made the situation less painful. Once we got to the beach it wasn’t our moment anymore, the press was present asking me questions and the local public and officials came to wish me a safe swim. I hugged my wife one last time, no words were exchanged, I asked Ana and Max, my children, to wait until I was ready in the water to join me and swim the first 50 meters with me. The water was cold, I wore a wetsuit but they did not. Max was a little hesitant at the beginning then he dove and lead Ana and me toward the open ocean. I had to grab his leg twice to put him in the right direction as he was swimming straight toward some big rocks. Once we were out I stopped them and the three of us hugged one last time. They turned around and I waited for them to reach the beach before swimming off.

That was it, I was on my own with my thoughts and swimming on top of my streamline that leads me in the right direction.
Within the first 30 minutes, I was back into my routine, keeping a steady pace, stretching my shoulders to glide as much as possible and focusing on my streamline. Already in the first hour, I was reliving the moment I spent on the beach few minutes before, everything happened so fast I wanted to remember and relive some moments that I didn’t have the time to enjoy.

In the second hour, the water temperature started to drop and it became uncomfortable as the day progressed.

In the fifth hour, my support RHIB got a call from Seeker to let us know that they had spotted a 5 foot long shark. They were sending out our medic Maks on a kayak to bring us our shark protection device. Before Maks got to us I saw a 3 foot long shark swimming right below me in the opposite direction. I stopped to look around but couldn’t see anything, I had limited visibility. Paul and Ty who were on the RHIB asked if I wanted to get out of the water but I decided it was safe to continue swimming so I just did.

Few moments later Maks joined us with the kayak and asked me few questions to access my state, he took my pulse and felt my hands and decide that I was getting cold and asked me to stop, he said “Ben it was a good day, you swam for 6 hours, it is good start, let’s not over do it”.

So I jumped in the RHIB and got back to Seeker to start my first night onboard. My stomach was a little upset and I could not hold much food at the beginning but it got better through out the night and wake up few times for a night snake.

Tomorrow will be another day.

Ben

Start position: 35°43.220N
Stop position: 140°52.208E
Start time: 09:00am local / 00:00 UTC
Stop time: 03:00pm local / 06:04 UTC
Duration: 06h04
Miles covered: approx 9.6nm

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37 comments

  1. Ben you are amazing! It’s a long journey ahead, a lot to swimm, and much more to think about. Keep up we are all with you!!

  2. Hey,

    I’m impressed your challenge and your bravery. I’m going to continue reading your adventure everytime you post a new message!

    Have a safe swim

    🏊🏻‍♂️ Greetings from Belgium 🏊🏻‍♂️

    Manu

  3. Our Vancouver-based French family and I will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers for this amazing journey you just started. Bonne chance.

  4. Dear Ben – I’m from San Francisco but live in Choshi. I said good luck to you on the beach yesterday. I look forward to reading your updates and cheering you on from this side of the pond! What a honor and thrill to meet you. God speed and safe travels.

  5. That must indeed have been an intense start, leaving your family behind and realising what’s ahead of you. I found really great that your kids accompanied you in the first 50m in the water. My sisters and I have been swimming since our childhood, we participated in many competitions with our club and always found the relation with water to be important, so much that I humbly try to pass on this passion to my daughter today. So to read that your kids swam with you on the first moments of this incredible adventure made something tingle in me.
    I’ve always been uncomfortable swimming at large in the ocean, a kind of fear of the deep and what’s underneath that I couldn’t see. Hence I really admire your courage and strength, keeping going on even though you know sharks are around. And in the same time, to be able to swim next to oceanic fauna must be incredible.
    Anyway I wish you all the courage and luck in the world, and will keep in touch with your posts and position.

  6. Dear Ben,

    I shall look down from time to time over the next 5-6months, imagining I can see you from the plane on your amazing journey.
    All the best from up here, and as we pilots say:
    Always keep the blue up

    Capt. Boris

  7. BEST WISHES ON YOUR SUCCESS. I HAVE BOOKMARKED YOUR WEBSITE TO MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS. STAY SAFE AND WELL!

  8. Hi Ben ! Good luck to you ! Prayers goes 😉 One question : it’s true that you are wearing some device to measure the concetration of radiation ? If so can you make the results public , wright here on your site ? Thanks a lot , and take care ! Barney from Europe.

    1. Hello Barney! Yes, this is true, and we will be sharing our findings on this blog. Stay tuned and thanks for your interest in the project!

  9. Hello Ben,
    My name ist Yu from China.
    Honestly I am moved very much by reading your article! Especially when I read your description about how you left your family! I have a huge respect to you and wish all the best!

    I am going to read your dairy and everyday. You will finish this for sure!

    BR
    Yu

  10. All the best Ben! I keep my fingers crossed!
    Which equipment do you use, I saw a TYR suit? Will you use flippers?
    Have a safe trip!

  11. Ben Lecomte, must be hard for you to leave your family..
    Remember your goal and stay strong.
    You are crazy, i love it.
    Mes meilleurs souhaits

  12. You are my hero. I will be following you every day!! I once swam across Lake Tahoe from East Shore (NV) to west shore (CA) and thought I was a bad ass. I am surely humbled by not only your Atlantic accomplishment but your current endeavor as well as the incorporation of marine science with global/societal implications for wanton disregard for our trash and its sad fate on our marine animals. Good on ya man!!!!

  13. Rather you than me my friend but I wish you all the best and I shall follow your progress with great interest. Good luck.

  14. I try to comprehend what is ahead of you in terms of the monotonous and repetitive movement. Media says the biggest challenge would be psychological and I know this. On the other hand I know that the human mind is limitless and it can overcome unthinkable things, so I think you will achieve what you have set on. I wish you some more and good variety in every aspect around you, what would help you to better cope with the mental challenges. Following you …

  15. Dear Ben, I wish you good luck for your phenomenal and inspiring adventure. I will follow your track. Bon vent!
    Ulysse from France

  16. Dear Ben

    May YOU, your Family and Team have continued fortitude on this incredible journey.

    Best Regards from South Africa!

  17. Wishing you Bon chance Ben, an incredible attempt that is beyond belief for most – I shall be following your progress with earnest and wishing you favourable conditions all the way. Adam, England, UK.

  18. What an EPIC adventure! Wishing you all the best of luck, adventure and positive vibes to get you to the Bay Area in California! I will have to make my way to SF to watch you swim in to Beautiful Nor. Cal.

  19. Max was so excited to swim with you! I’m following your amazing journey and am praying for your health and pure strength!
    Blessings,
    Kristi Martin
    (Aka- Mrs. Martin- Max’s 5th grade teacher)

  20. I enjoy so much reading this adventure that just started… I can’t wait to see your future post, warm regards Ben 🙂

  21. Hallo Ben!

    What an outstanding challenge – crazy and simultaneously admirable!

    Once Felix Baumgartner said: “Everyone has his limitations but not everyone accepts them.” It fits to 100% also in this case!

    You did it bevor in 1998,…therefore: GO FOR IT! 😉

    DOMINIK

  22. Congrats on the landing and it will be a great experience. By the way ur trip to the beach is how I was that’s how I was the other day when I went to camp for 9 days and I hardly said a word but hope it’s going well I know tyral he is my teachers best friend my teachers name is Tim (timothy)Cleeland

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