Why You Can’t Just Swim Straight Across the Ocean | The Swim
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Why You Can’t Just Swim Straight Across the Ocean | The Swim

November 19, 2019


BEN LECOMTE IS SWIMMING MORE THAN 5,500 MILES
ACROSS THE PACIFIC OCEAN — AND FROM THE GET-GO, THIS WAS NEVER GOING
TO BE EASY. IN ORDER TO COMPLETE HIS JOURNEY, BEN NEEDS A MAP TO NAVIGATE STRONG CURRENTS,
EDDIES, AND EVEN TO ADJUST FOR THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE EARTH. JEREMY: The further north you go, the circumference
of the Earth is less and less, so that can help shorten the overall voyage. If he stays too far south for too long, those
winds and seas are gonna be going against him, which will end up slowing him down. BEN’S TEAM HAS BEEN PLANNING THIS ROUTE
FOR OVER THREE YEARS, WITH THE HELP OF JEREMY DAVIS. IT’S HIS JOB TO PROVIDE DIRECTION FOR ANYONE
CROSSING THE OCEAN — FROM COMMERCIAL VESSELS, TO CRUISE SHIPS, TO ROWBOATS — AND NOW,
BEN. So we’ve been tracking Ben. He’s been able to swim at about 20 or 30 nautical
miles per day. It just all depends on his own energy levels,
time of the day, visibility, all those factors can play into it. We wanna make sure they’re on the best possible
route to try to help shorten it as much as possible and give the most favorable conditions. The weather is gonna be a major factor on
the success of this voyage. SO FAR, WINDS AND EXTREME CONDITIONS HAVE
MADE THE INITIAL SWIM GRUELING FOR BEN. AT THAT RATE, IT WOULD TAKE BEN OVER THREE
YEARS TO CROSS THE OCEAN, SO, JEREMY AND THE CREW ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OCEAN BEHAVIORS
AND BATHYMETRY TO SPEED THINGS UP. Once they head little bit farther offshore,
they get into the Kuroshio current. That’s a major boost for him for swimming,
so he can cover a lot more ground in a shorter period of time. THE KUROSHIO IS A WARM-WATER CURRENT THAT
FLOWS OFF OF THE COAST OF JAPAN AND THEN PEELS OFF TO THE EAST, DRIVEN BY THE CIRCULATION OF THE NORTH PACIFIC GYRE, A LARGE AREA OF HIGH PRESSURE MOVING CLOCKWISE. TAKING MAXIMUM ADVANTAGE OF THE KUROSHIO CURRENT HAS ACCELERATED BEN’S SWIM MILEAGE TO AS MUCH AS 45 MILES A DAY. BEN: I am finally in the Kuroshio current, so right
now I know I am getting a good push whenever I swim. I am very happy about that. PAUL: Like every good highway, we have maps. Instead of going straight to San Francisco
we have to do a curve, like this, meeeeow, and go down, and after that we probably have
to go up, like this. If we just headed straight east we wouldn’t
have all that push, so it’s not instinctive but we have to trust the weather team, we
have to trust the scientists, and so far it’s working very well. UNFORTUNATELY THE KUROSHIO IS NOT GOING TO
LAST MUCH LONGER. SOON, BEN WILL FIND HIMSELF OUT OF THIS CURRENT
AND ON HIS OWN. BEN: I am happy to be in the current but I’m not like, “Oh yay, I made it, I’m in the current now!” I still have a lot to conquer. FOR THE NEXT LEG OF THE JOURNEY, HE’LL BE
SWIMMING AT A MUCH SLOWER PACE, LIKELY ALONGSIDE EDDIES: TEMPORARY LOOPS OF SWIRLING WATER BRANCHING OFF FROM CURRENTS. THESE COULD GIVE HIM A SMALL BOOST, OR PUSH
HIM BACKWARDS. JEREMY: Ben’s route’s gonna be changing quite
frequently, and sometimes on an every three- or four-day basis we’re gonna be making minor
changes to the route. WHILE BEN’S CREW CAN MAKE MINOR ADJUSTMENTS
TO HIS ROUTE, THERE ARE MANY UNPREDICTABLE FACTORS THAT COULD THROW
EVERYTHING OFF-COURSE. JUST AS BEN WAS FINDING HIS STRIDE IN THE
KUROSHIO CURRENT, THREE LARGE STORMS CONVERGED ON THE BOAT, FORCING THE CREW
TO MAKE A DIFFICULT DECISION. JEREMY: So, Ben and the crew were about 500
miles east of Japan in the Kuroshio current when we detected the development of the tropical
storm 14W to the south, another one, 15W, that would be developing right after that
and moving off to the north up towards Japan, and a third one, developing in the southeast
of Japan. So with all of this activity, the decision
had to be made to send them back to Japan to keep them safe and out of harm’s way
with all this tropical activity. WITH HEAVY HEARTS, BEN AND THE CREW HAVE RETURNED TO PORT TO WAIT OUT THE STORMS UNTIL THEY GET THE GREEN LIGHT TO CONTINUE. JEREMY: So it’s going to be a little more
difficult for Ben to get back out and restart the swim for at least the next week and a
half; hopefully at that time we’ll start to get a break in the weather and he be able
to head back out to the east. ACCORDING TO METEOROLOGISTS, STORMS AND TYPHOONS OFF THE COAST OF SOUTHEAST ASIA HAVE BECOME MORE FREQUENT, POWERFUL AND DESTRUCTIVE OVER THE PAST FOUR DECADES; SO IT’S CRITICAL THAT BEN AND THE CREW DON’T TAKE ANY UNNECESSARY RISKS. LUCKILY, TYPHOONS THAT STAY OVER THE OPEN
OCEAN ARE LESS LIKELY TO INCREASE IN INTENSITY. SO ONCE THEY GET THE ALL CLEAR, THE SEEKER
CREW WILL RACE BACK TO BEN’S LAST GPS POINT AND CONTINUE THE SWIM, AS WELL AS ALL THE ESSENTIAL RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION ON BOARD. BE SURE TO VISIT SEEKER.COM/THESWIM TO READ DAILY UPDATES FROM BEN LECOMTE, TRACK HIS PROGRESS IN REAL TIME, AND WATCH MORE VIDEOS ABOUT THE SCIENCE HAPPENING ONBOARD SEEKER. CLICK HERE FOR THIS NEXT EPISODE,
AND DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE. THANKS FOR WATCHING!

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  1. Note: At 6:10, "less likely to increase in intensity" refers to a long-term trend of many open-ocean typhoons over time, when compared to those that make landfall. An individual storm is more likely to increase in meteorologically-defined intensity (maximum mean wind speed) the longer it stays over the open ocean.

  2. Who the fk pays for this shit, someone has to foot the bill to keep a crew out in the ocean for years on end ..

  3. Getting out of the water and into the boat is cheating. He might as well just swim in a pool and say he's done the distance.

  4. These ocean lovers are spending millions of dollars, wasting untold amounts of fuel, producing a large carbon footprint, to bring awareness about pollution, and global warming ect.
    Just so a guy can swim for a bit then sleep on a comfy bed, swim for a bit, sleep on a comfy bed… most swimmers could do this without much problem, this isn't interesting even. The poor guys on the boat have to be bored out of their minds doing this for their pretentious friend, and so called "cause". BOOOOOOOORING!!! It's about as interesting as watching a speed runner use save states in a video game. Yeah… I totally went there! Have fun getting overly angry about an opinion brahs n brahettes of the greater interwebs! =D

    Yes I know it's impossible to swim across in 1 go, but it's still boring and lame n stuff. Climbing everest has become lame too. Sports are lame. UFC is lame. All pop culture music is lame. Most movies are lame. Most tv shows are very lame. Only me, and PC video games are cool. Introverts like me are the future! well… until there is no more kids. This is how earth dies. I call it INTROVERTED ENTROPY.

    Speaking of oceans…

    NUKE THE WHALES! All they do is eat all the plankton so there is less fish for us to eat. They are destroying our oceans. It's either that or we have to stop fishing, and I love eating fish so ya know what? Whales gotta go brah!
    Oh and I hate the stupid noises they make. So annoying that people love whales….

    yes…

    I suppose…
    ..
    ..

    indeed…

    I guess…

    I guess I was just THAT HURT….

    by star trek 4…

    IT WAS SOOO TERRIBLE!
    I HATE WHALES NOW!
    I HATE YOU WHALES!!!
    YOU RUINED STAR TREK!

    I am gonna go cry in a corner now, while gently stroking my 95% accurate replica of captain kirks uniform saying "shhh shhhhh, it's okay, it was only 1 terrible movie, it'll be okay…" then after a while I'll say-

    "SCOTTY! Beam our tears up!"

  5. Whichever sea creature is the first to eat this self-indulgent idiot should be the celebrated hero of this dopey pointless story. I hate this guy and these kinds of pointless endurance things. It's 2018. Nobody gives a shit if some rich dope can swim along with his safety crew. Wow! Big fucking deal.

  6. So It would take him years to swim if he did not use currents to his advantage? Does this mean he could just as easily crossed the ocean by just gupping around in a life west and adjusting his course? The swiming part seems unecessary.

  7. Wait the guy's getting up on the boat and like chilling out for interviews and shit? Is the distance the boat moves in that time being accounted for? This whole scenario totally doesn't count

  8. But… If he's stopping and getting on the boat to eat and sleep… Then it doesn't sound like he's swimming across the pacific at all. It sounds as if he's just swimming 60km (thanks to currents) over and over.

  9. He won't have swam across the pacific. He'll have swam between a series of artificial islands that span the pacific and consists entirely of his boat. He may as well have swam 30 nm worth of pool lengths a day on a private yacht until he makes the equivalent distance. Name me one human person who's actually tried to swim across the ocean by themselves with no solid ground to rest on, without dying. I'll wait…

  10. Humans dont have flippers on their feet lol !!! The ocean would swallow him after the first few hours if he would really SWIM without any extra equipment and massive assistance, not to even mention him swimming in a big storm.

  11. He should have to start again from the beginning after the typhoon scare in order for it to count as a continuous Pacific Ocean crossing, no?

  12. heh yeah our bulgarian Diesel had to fail 2014 kom e-mi-ne 2014 ~600km mountain run with 5 peaks due to conditions and last 10km.. at first he puked, he wanted to break record-do it under 5 days. around 2016 or something he achieved it so then that old guy was mad and he did it again ;d.. still doing a record for a old guy doing it. /// No matter what u do, Dnews is what ull remain to me as official channel.. not some Seeker wannabe. UR real name is DNEWS u hear me !! ;d

  13. Omg He is going to stop before he reaches the edge right? Or is he trying to get the cliff edge? the waterfall at the edge is going to be too strong for him to swim away from. I will pray for him.

  14. How the hell is it possible an oldish man can swim 8 hours straight every day that's impossible he would need to eat like 20000 calories every like 10 minutes

  15. Can’t these people use their minds to imagine greater things to do?! They have accomplished nothing and helped no one. What a waste of evolution. Sheer stupidity. Utterly self indulgent and useless.

  16. What is the substance which is present in water as a renewable sorcerer of energy
    Which have availity like
    1)it can produce 6times of sun energy per second .
    2)it can produce electromagnetic waves which can be harmful for aquatics animals according to its range.
    3)it can decrease the pressure of our earth and our atmosphere or high level of pressure.
    3)it can produce easily through our technology have been discovered.
    (I need a video on this topic)
    Please

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