Severe Storms Disrupt Ben Lecomte's Record-Setting Swim

Intense weather wracks the Pacific as Ben and the Seeker crew maneuver to avoid dangerous typhoons and tropical storms.

Becoming the first man to swim across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco was never going to be easy. Over the past two months of this perilous campaign for ocean conservation and science, Ben Lecomte and the crew aboard Seeker have faced rough seas, seasickness, nausea, and a constant stream of plastic. The 51-year-old swimmer has still doggedly progressed more than 500 miles, pushing forward eight hours daily against a parade of hurdles.

Now two typhoons, Jongdari and Wukong, have interrupted his momentum and forced the ship to head back to port in Japan — a development that reflects the difficulty of the journey and the unpredictability of the ocean.

Tropical storm Jongdari had already created hazardous swimming conditions along Japan’s eastern coastal waters when it became a hurricane-strength typhoon as it approached Japan this weekend, hitting the island nation with winds of up to 110 mph and cutting off electricity to more than 158,000 households. At least 24 people have been reported injured. Wukong has meanwhile been churning the ocean northeast of Japan.

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