After a string of delays, some attributed to technical problems, Briton Ben Hooper on Sunday started an historic 3,200 kilometer swim across the Atlantic ocean.
He is hoping to swim every mile of the Atlantic from Senegal to Brazil.
The 38-year-old who has been preparing for the challenge since 2013, expects to accomplish his adventure within four to five months.
Spotting his swimming shorts, Hooper had his last laughs, hugs and pictures before plunging into the ocean at Dakar’s Monaco beach. A group of Senegalese onlookers said a prayer for the former military policeman.
The 6-foot tall Briton who has had a lifelong passion for swimming since he nearly drowned at age 5, said he first thought about the Atlantic challenge while battling depression.
He however appears to have a clearly thought out plan for his adventure.
“We probably go three hours (swimming) this morning. Then a bit of a break. Then we get back in for the second session and that would be that,” he said of his first day in the water.
Hooper aims to swim up to 12 hours a day in two sessions, resting on board one of two vessels sailing alongside him. The vessels are loaded with water, food rations and bottles of vinegar for jellyfish stings.
To give him morale for the task though, Hooper said he will be thinking about his daughter and will also bear in mind the exploits of explorers like Ranulph Fiennes who crossed the Antarctic unsupported on foot.
Hooper’s 3,200 kilometer swim across will be used to raise a million pounds for charity.