“Swim The Big Blue” will chart a course from Dakar, Senegal to Natal, Northern Brazil across the open Mid-South Atlantic Ocean. Using freestyle swimming (front crawl) UK national Ben Hooper will swim up to a total of 12 hours per day. His epic swim will take him over 30-foot surges, passing through shark inhabited regions, and without doubt, he will encounter jelly fish, flying fish and a harsh Equatorial sun. Then, there will be “The Doldrums” and her stillness, humidity, lack of movement…yet at any time the dead calm could explode into raging storms, heavy squalls and lightning to sting the sea.
Swimming in sea temperatures ranging from 20 – 30 degrees centigrade, (68 – 86 Fahrenheit), with currents from 1 – 7 knots flowing westward and north-west, this will be a gruelling trial of endurance and mental strength unlike any before. When successful, Ben will be the first man in history to have swum an ocean in full, and will be the first man to explicitly and transparently detail his swim – swimming the exact mileage of the intended crossing.
He will compete against the elements and himself, and with varying temperatures, sea conditions and rough seas, he will have appropriate swim clothing available to ensure swimming and safety can be maintained. Should a smack of jellyfish be encountered, a ‘stinger suit’ may be worn to counter or minimize the effect of stings. Additionally, Ben will be wearing or surrounded by at least one Shark Shield device, as will the boat be equipped with a counter-shark device and shark-safe chemical repellents.
The swim, on a daily basis, will be broken down into a maximum of two 6-hour periods. Between the two 6-hour sessions, there will be two hours of rest on the support boat. During this rest period (and overnight up to 10 hours), Ben will be aboard the boat where he will sleep and consume a high carbohydrate, fat and protein diet as well as rehydrating. He may burn up to 12,000 calories per day.
The boat and crew, will note the GPS position of each swim entry and exit, and will account for drift in order to add any vacant distances back into the swim or to the end of the swim, by altering course to a point further than the intended port of arrival, thereby ensuring the whole distance of the originally intended route is completed. As a further measure, use of a sea anchor will reduce the drift ensuring that the total mileage spent out of the water is minimized, recorded and still swum before the end of the expedition: a total of up to 2000 miles in approximately 90 days.
During each swim leg Ben will feed and drink approximately every thirty minutes while in the water. Always without touching the boat or any other supporting device, the crew will pass supplies to Ben by throwing or by pole depending on conditions. Unless there is an emergency or safety risk, Ben shall not have any other form of physical contact with the boat (other than being passed food/drink) during the two 6-hour periods of swimming.
This is it, Ben versus The Atlantic Ocean. Ben will depart in November 2015 from Dakar Harbour, Senegal and is expected to arrive in Natal, North-East Brazil in January of 2016.
This text was reposted from its origin on swimmingtheblue.com.