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[DAY 191] The Last day of The Swim

This morning on deck I put on my swim gear for the last time. I can see the shore, the buildings and Queens Beach where I will make landfall. The last piece of equipment are my fins, I wrote on them a message in memory of my close friend Gino. I slowly slide in the water to keep the communication device attached to my snorkel out of the water. We are about a mile from land and the water is so clear that I can already see the bottom.

Ty and Paul are already on the water and ready to escort me on kayaks. It is a straight swim to the beach but the wind is strong and pushes them West, fortunately it doesn’t have much impact on me. Both of them are struggling to stay on course and very soon Paul falls far behind and very soon Paul is out of my sight. I am now alone with Ty and we are making good progress.

A few minutes later Paul is back on our side, Charlie, a person who had been in contact with our team on land pulls him with his dinghy. Paul did not realize he had been dragging a dry bag in the water which acted as a sea drogue and limited his progress.

Now the three of us are back on course. I swim a few more minutes and get a surprise. A group of women openwater swimmers came to welcome me. We take a couple of selfies and resume swimming. I stop Ty to take footage of a sea turtle laying on the sea bed right below me. Soon after I see a ray, and so many colorful little fishes.

Before I reach the beach another person came to welcome me on a surf board accompanied by his dog.

As soon as he gets near me his dog jumps in the water and climbs on my shoulders and stays there until his master calls him back.

I am now about two hundred meters from land. The waves are pushing me and speed up my progress, before long my hands touch the sand. I grab some sand, press it against my palms and let it fall between my fingers. This is my first contact with land.

I stand up, my feet are on solid ground and I am getting launched into a world I had forgotten about; people are hugging me and asking questions, lays are being placed around my neck, selfies, pictures and videos are a constant flow…I feel like I am drowning.

This experience is not real, this is not my reality, this is not what I had visualized, my dream and goal were different, I feel as if I have been put into somebody else’s body. During the past few months, I had created in my mind the perfect end for The Swim; we arrived in San Francisco, my children were swimming with me for the last 100 meters…

But I have to realize that it is now my reality. Not everything turned the way I wanted but we all made it safely back on land and we kept on focusing on our overall mission; collecting data and samples to contribute to the collective knowledge about plastic pollution, raising awareness about the ocean health and inspiring people to make some changes in their life to reduce their plastic use.

No matter how the expedition ended, I did not have any control over the weather that damaged our boat beyond repair and forced us to stop the swim, what I can control is how I am going to use this expedition as a stepping stone to further our mission? How could I engage more people and touch them?

Nothing has stopped for me and my purpose, it is just the beginning.

It has been an amazing experience and it could not have been possible without the help and support of so many people, our investors, sponsors, partners, experts, supporters, followers, on land team and my crew.

My deepest thanks to all of you!

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25 comments

  1. So glad you have all arrived safely in Hawaii. You had a monumental task and your main goal of highlighting the plastic pollution in the ocean has certainly been met. Congratulations for this important step forward in publicizing the problems.

  2. In the yogi world, we surrender control as a means of peace and acceptance. You are accomplishing an astonishing feat, bringing awareness and education to so many. Congratulate yourself, give yourself a hug of gratitude. You are amazing. Trust the Universe’s plan. Thank you for your work and congratulations! Love and light!

  3. Thank you! I followed your journey and shared with my friends, I think everyone should know about what is happening in our oceans!
    I appreciate very much what you and your team doing !
    Mayda

  4. Thank you and the team for the inspiring journey. I can assure you that your brave team has already made a big impact in Israel. You have been in our hearts almost everyday in the past six months.
    Hats off and good luck.

  5. Thank you for keeping us updated about your journey. It has been such an inspiration and educational experiance to share with my family and friends. Please continue to let us know about future projects. I followed you every day. We will miss you. Congratulations on a great job well done. Thank you for making our world a better place.

  6. a stroke can be a devastating experience for a person yet a stroke of luck can open up exciting possibilities. For you, every journey begins with a single stroke and in making your journey an example to all who dream and act on that dream, you are truly a stroke of luck to all of us who have been inspired by you. the balance of the universe strikes as a constant, and missed goals are balanced by made progress and learning. I have loved watching your exploits and wish you nothing but further adventures and fulfillment. Good luck, the stroked kind.

  7. Dear Ben and crew,
    You all have accomplished your goal, raised awareness and collected invaluable data about plastics in our oceans. We, the people who were touched by The Swim, will continue your mission, to educate and encourage others to make the necessary changes to our way of life, in order to eliminate plastic from our oceans.
    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and joyful times with your loved ones.

  8. Dear Ben,

    we are sorry you have been obliged to abandon your challenge. Your choice of not putting at risk you and your crew was the only one possible, and you made it right.

    What you have achieved is incredible: put a team together and start the challenge, seen by many as difficult as going to Mars and come back, was already a victory. Swimming for 610 hours, 1524 miles in 6 months in the middle of the pacific ocean an incredible achievement.

    Thank you for what you have done, and to your crew who have supported you. As open water swimmers, as environmentalists and as human beings we are greatefull to all of you.

    We are looking forward to hear from you!

    Massimiliano Amirfeiz
    Caprajalonga Open Water Swim
    Capraia Island (Italy)
    Mediterranean sea
    (43.0421 N, 9.8176 E)

  9. Hey Ben,

    Greetings from Chicago! Just want to say our company has been watching your journey from the beginning.

    Although you only made it to Hawaii we are still insanely impressed as the task at hand was crazy to begin with.

    Keep us in the loop with what is next and grab a good meal!

    Best!

    Rebecca

  10. Dear Ben – my four grandsons and I, their swim mates at Crimson Aquatic in Rhode Island, are simply in awe of your Pacific swim, the spotlight you placed on ocean pollution and the ugliness of it, as well as the beauty of the fish, the dolphins, the whales, the color of the seas, highlighting the respect we need to show it. We all are richer for the knowledge you gave us. Now as you rest your mind and body, may we ALL strive to make our world a better, cleaner place for generations to come. Noel dear Ben and crew………….

  11. Dear Ben, many congratulations from the UK, you’ve been an inspiration to so many and you’re helping the planet and educating us so we can do the same. I too have told so many about your epic swim, you’re a hero.

  12. Ben, what an amazing endeavour and I bow to your tenacity in demonstrating the world what can be done! It did not get as far as you wanted it to be but I am sure you will be back to show us that it can be completed. You are simply amazing and thanks for keeping us mere earthlings attached to your day to day experience!

  13. Ben and Crew,

    Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with the world. While this ending was not the one you envisioned, I am a firm believer that “everything is as it should be”. While I was looking forward to welcoming you back to land in SFO, the lovely citizens of Hawaii were given that honor instead.

    The work that you have done and the data that is still to be analyzed and shared is so very important and I hope will have a positive impact on how we all live so that our oceans will continue to thrive for generations to come.

    I wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to what is next for you.

    With gratitude,

  14. Well done on an amazing achievement and unbelievable stamina! Incredible swimming! Congratulations on your swim of over 1500 miles!!! Well done to your team keeping you safe and on track.
    Awestruck here in Ireland. We look forward to seeing what you wil accomplish next!

  15. thanks ben for the act of courage. its admission showed the world population our real situation of the oceans. You had a lot of patience to endure so much pollution in your mission. You’re worthy of being human. thanks for existing.

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