Dolphins, a sea turtle, lonely fish, bioluminescence, but also plastics
Lecomte has had numerous wildlife experiences this past week. He has had several encounters with pods of dolphin. Most recently they seemed to almost waiting for him to return to his swim waypoint at the morning beginning of his swim. All around the boat whole families launched out of the water putting on a continuous show for 30 minute.
He and a sea turtle were swimming circles around each other while they locked eyes for a fleeting moment. And at night he saw the sea alive with bioluminescence, including a trail of luminescence left in the wake of a fish. He also had a situation where a lonely fish followed underneath him for 3 hours!
Despite the dazzling natural life, he and his crew constantly had the sobering reminder of plastic pollution. They claimed they spot a piece of garbage about once every minute! The team tries to collect as much plastic pollution as possible, recording its location by GPS to help scientists understand how the accumulation zone is forming.
On Day 22 (June 26th) Lecomte's pace picked up significantly because he swam into the fast Kuroshio current that sweeps near Japan. He is now covering about 33 miles/day as opposed to the 5 miles/day disappointing mileage he managed on one of the 'pre-current' days.
The dinghy that assists and tracks Lecomte has been out of service for a large portion of the swim so far. This has been due either to rough seas, or to frequent failures with its electric engine. In lieu, the larger yacht, Seeker has been tracking him. This can be somewhat nerve-racking however since it needs to keep a greater distance and there is a chance it could actually lose sight of Lecomte, for which there is no solution in finding him! No radar, no radio and no GPS! They are looking for bright colors or reflective tape to better track him.
In other news, there was a scary moment when a container ship came close by - the closest one so far. They moved at the last moment when the Seeker's captain contacted them by VHF radio.