A British man, Ben Hooper has begun a milestone journey to set the first official world record for swimming across the Atlantic Ocean.
The former British policeman, after a delayed start, aiming to swim across the Atlantic finally set off Sunday from Senegal, bound for Brazil more than 1,900 miles (3,000km) away. Mr Hooper’s four-month attempt is due to end in Natal in north-east Brazil, next March.
Hooper has been preparing for over three years for the immense journey that will see him swim up to 10 hours a day across the Atlantic.
The 38-year-old will rack up 1,635 nautical miles, equal to nearly 1,900 land miles (3,000km) over the course of the journey, while taking in up to 12,000 calories a day. He will don a wetsuit specially designed to make him invisible to sharks.
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The father and former police officer from Gloucestershire was supposed to leave Africa’s western coast from Dakar, Senegal at the start of November but delayed his departure due to a problem with the support vessel. He has postponed it severally before actually setting off on Sunday.
Hooper’s journey will be observed by a Guinness World Records representative who will join a crew of 10 supporting the swimmer.
His crossing will be filmed and can be tracked on his “Swim the Big Blue” website. Hooper has a £1 million fundraising target for charity.
At risk of hazards such as storms and ocean predators, Mr. Hooper says the idea is to get across safely as his only real fear is if something goes mechanically wrong with him.
Ben Hooper says beyond that, he is not too worried about marine life, because all he needs to do is be respectful since he is venturing into their domain.
Tugging his goggles and bidding farewell to loved ones and supporters on the beach of a hotel in Hann Bay, in the east of Dakar, Ben Hooper said; “Here we go!”
He thanked the whole world for their support before striding into the waves at the start of the record-breaking attempt.
Ben Hooper was inspired to attempt the feat by two fearless English explorers: Ranulph Fiennes, who reached both the North and South poles overland, and Vivian Fuchs, the first man to cross the Antarctic on foot.
Only one man has achieved a comparable feat before: Frenchman Benoit Lecomte, who swam across the Atlantic in the other direction in 1998, from Cape Cod to Quiberon in north-western France.
But he did not make the Guinness book of records because fatigue forced him to rest up in the Azores for nearly a week.