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[DAY 185 – 190] Hawaii arrival

As we got closer to Hawaii, a plane form the US Coast Guard flew toward us, circled the boat twice, then went back to where it came from and disappeared at the horizon. They probably had been following us for a while and conducted a customary fly by surveillance. We waited for a call on our radio but it never came. That day, we made it to the Hawaiian islands but did not make landfall. We are planning for a arrival on Oahu tomorrow, Monday, December 10th. We have been on standby around the islands for the past few days waiting for our team on land to make the proper arrangements for our arrival; they are dealing with the marina, customs, filming authorization etc…
We have been spending our time sailing up and down west of Oahu on the leeward side to be protected from the strong winds.
To see land after more than 110 days at sea was for me surprisingly not a big deal, I wasn’t excited, it was just there as it was supposed to be.
The day preceding Pearl Harbor, we counted 6 different groups of fighter planes passing high above us. Commercial airplanes occupy the sky more frequently, human activity is more present but we see very little plastic debris in the water and collect only a few pieces of microplastic when we tow the net.
My children had written letters with messages of support for me, and before we left Japan, they passed them on to Paul and asked him to give them to me when I would feel low and needed a boost. That moment never came, I never got close to reaching the bottom, and never needed that extra motivation, so Paul kept those letters until now.
They put in pictures of when they were little with funny writings, they would have been a great morale booster. I will see them in less than a week, this feels surreal.
In preparation of our landfall, we have been cleaning, rearranging the boat, and scraping the barnacles off the hull when the sea conditions permit it.
Tomorrow, Monday, I will be swimming to shore and step on land more than 6 months after I swam off the Japanese coast.
We could just dock the boat in the marina and make landfall this way, but I can’t do that. I have to leave the ocean the same way I entered it. For the past few months, I have been privileged to experience this environment in a very unique way and developed a close relationship with this world in peril. I can’t just jump from the boat to a dock, it has to be more intimate. I want to progressively see the bottom of the ocean appear below me and land take shape in front of my eyes as I swim closer to land. I want to witness sea life living in harmony with the land. I want to feel the sand with my hands while my body is still for the last few seconds suspended. I want to slowly step on the stable ground and walk toward this magical area where land, sea and air meet until one of my feet touches the only land and the other is still connected to the ocean. At that time then, I will be able to say my proper goodbyes…until next time.

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7 comments

  1. I, Andrew Coyle welcome you tothe Hawaiian Islands. I am a Pacific Ocean swimmer also, though my only claim to fame rests in the fact that I swam around the Island of Oahu some fifteen years ago. I took a year and a half because I swam in increments along the coast, with a divers mask on, and walked back to where I started. It was beyond the norm for sure, and I enjoyed the underwater scenery and contours of the sea bottom near the shoreline. I also enjoyed some of the dreams I had, and liked the Beattles song “Octapus’ Garden.” Swimming in places no one else has is a good way to learn things. I hope you enjoy your familiarity of life on land again, though brief. Perhaps you’ll be in the inducted in the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame, for such a significant accomplishment. Mercy and never swim up wave. Andrew

  2. I am so impressed with your experience, was following the progress you are making on Facebook and instagram.
    Hopes the world appreciates your initiative to enhance awareness about environment.
    Have a save arrival to land 🤞
    All best wishes to you and your wonderful team

  3. What a beautifully worded piece you have written today, Ben. Your respect for the ocean and all life in it and around it shines through. May you and your Team have a peaceful and meaningful transition back to your life on land. Thank you once again for having us all along on this amazing expedition. It has certainly made me think about my daily “plastic footprint”.

  4. Hi Ben & crew

    Thank you so much for the dedicated way, you made your mission!
    Thank you for all the meaningful words which witness you’re special relationship to the ocean and it’s creatures. In very special way you became one of them. You are the crew members translated oceans voice.
    May all the inspiration you got from the Swim be a Gift for your Fürther Life,full of Special experience solely for you despite all those,you shared with us.
    Thank you!
    Brigitte

  5. I feel what you have written… the way you will finish the swim by swimming to shore and walk out of the water is so natural, so organic, so respectful, and so honoring the connection you have with the water.

    I want to tell you that I am so much more conscience about single use plastics, and have been trying to alter my ways to be more mindful of the environmental polution and the avoidable harm and suffering of all creatures due to human ignorance and neglect. American Indians consider how their actions will affect the next seven generations. We all would be wise to follow their wisom and guardianship in caring for mother earth, who we depend on for life.

    I hope your landing is met by many journalists and reporters, who will spread your story around the world.

    And, congratulations to everyone on what you did accomplish!!

  6. Thank you for showing us all about our impact on our environment. I’m trying to do my bit in rejecting anything wrapped in plastic, though it’s a struggle in today’s world of convenience. I have been inspired by your swimming feats, and think of you as I plug my way through (only) 1-2 k of nonstop swimming. Good luck Ben on your next venture. You and your crew are one amazing bunch!

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