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Day 2: The Swim With Ben Lecomte

Courtesy of WOWSA, Pacific Ocean.

Ben Lecomte is starting to provide more and more information from onboard his escort boat Discoverer on his transoceanic stage swim.

I am officially in the water for Day Two of The Swim. After [the first] day of swimming [for 6 hours 4 minutes covering 9.6 nautical miles or 17.7 km], I come onboard our support boat Seeker. There I eat, rest and spend time with the crew. They are making my GPS location when I break for the day, and bring me to that exact spot to dive back in the next morning.”

With Choshi, Japan far off in the distance, Lecomte wrote for his blog, “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 [Romeijn] 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 [Lecomte] and Ty [Dalitz] who were on the [rib] asked if I wanted to get out of the water, but I decided it was safe to continue swimming so I just did.

His crew reported the shark encounter from their own perspective, “We saw two sharks yesterday, one 2-3 meters, one from the support vessel seeker and a smaller one that came to check Ben out and swum under him. This slowed us down for a bit, but ultimately we decided to call it a day because Ben had already swam 6 hours and he was starting to feel a bit cold.

[It was a] good first day after an overwhelming start with many emotional goodbyes to friends and family. A short session for Ben in order to get his body and the crew gently in the rhythm of the many days to come.”

Lecomte’s swim can be followed on the Seeker [see here] and on his website.

His live tracker can be seen here and a Facebook link is here.

Lecomte reported on his blog, “I woke up around 6 am. I wasn’t too stiff and overall I had a good night. My night was interrupted by my midnight meal, a plate of pasta and my regular bathroom stops.

I went on deck and found Yoav Nevo, our skipper, making adjustments to the sails. We had drifted over night more than expected and had to sail back to the spot I finished my swim the previous day. It took us a good part of the morning to get back to our position. Unfortunately, I know I would not have a full day of swimming. Ty [Dalitz] was at the helm for most part of the morning and spotted a 3-foot long shark.

I was a little anxious before going in the water not because of the shark, but because of the water temperature. I put an extra layer on and hope it would be enough to keep me warm.

Ty and Maks were on the rib and led me in the right direction. The extra layer did the trick. After the first two hours, I was back into my routine, letting my imagination guide me into my parallel universe. On the deep blue static backdrop in front of my eyes, images of my family started to form.

Every 30 minutes, Ty and Maks stopped me to feed me. Maks had some warm soup ready, my stomach enjoyed that.

My hands felt the cold each time they were out of the water and the top of my shoulder as well. It started raining and the air was colder than the water. During my feeding time, I noticed that Ty and Maks started to put on more layers and our visibility started to diminish.

After about 5 hours, Maks grabbed my hands to assess my body temperature, his hands were colder than mine. Both of them looked pretty miserable and were getting cold. Since our visibility was dropping and we were losing light, I decided to swim another half hour before stopping for the day. At times we could not see Seeker [so] stopping was a wise thing to do.

Before going to bed, we got another report from our weather routing partner that warned us of the system they have been tracking, it was developing faster and stronger than expected.”

Day 2 Starting location at 3:18 UTC: 035°45.379N / 141°03.808E
Day 2 Stopping location at 8:27 UTC: 035°52.808N / 141°22.237E

First mate Tyral Dalitz is shown above in a squall after departing Honolulu, Hawaii while powering the escort boat Discoverer to the start on June 5th 2018 in Choshi, Japan. Lecomte and crew will encounter similar weather – and probably much more difficult – during their assisted stage swim between Choshi and San Francisco, California over the next 6-8 months.

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