Courtesy of Ben Hooper, Swim The Big Blue, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ben Hooper‘s team provided the following information about his progress and the conditions that he faced during the first 9 days of his 33-day attempt to Swim The Big Blue, his transoceanic stage swim from Senegal to Brazil that feel short.

Hooper abandoned the swim after facing unexpected conditions. He and his escort crew have an estimated return back home to the UK on January 6th.

Day #1 on November 13th am session
Time swim started: 10:33 at 14° 41.911 N 017° 25.282 W
Time swim ended: 13:23 at 14° 38.369 N 017° 24.099 W
Distance covered: 8.39 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind light breeze Beaufort force 2-3, calm sea.
Commentary: Jellyfish stings x 15 minor no treatment, 4 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms.
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 2:00 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #1 on November 13th pm session
Time swim started: 15:31 at 14° 37.697 N 017° 24.382 W
Time swim ended: 17:12 at 14° 36.412 N 017° 24.738 W
Distance covered: 3.7 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 2-3
Commentary: On entry, jellyfish activity but few and far apart. Jellyfish stings x 2 major no treatment. Ben felt fatigued as though swimming against a current. Mamadu Sen in kayak with 4 x 500ml sports drink.
Lubrication: none, Ben forgot this afternoon.
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 3:11 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #2 on November 14th am session
Rest in the morning following a night watch

Day #2 on November 14th pm session
Time swim started: 13:51 at 14° 21.877 N 017° 14.761 W
Time swim ended: 15:48 at 14° 19.888 N 017° 16.464 W
Distance covered: 5.1 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 0-1.
Commentary: Current effect 3 km down to 2 km in the second hour, 1 jellyfish sting on upper lip, 4 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak with good visibility in the water. 14:20 drink thrown to Ben from kayak, 14:48 drink thrown to Ben from kayak.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms
Stroke Rate: 20 spm at a pace of 2:17 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #3 on November 15th am session
Time swim started: 9:50 at 14° 06.733 N 017° 15.755 W
Time swim ended: 12:52 at 14° 04.082 N 017° 20.324 W
Distance covered: 10.12 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 1, fast swim, felt fatigued before and after swim, sea was very dark and warm, 4 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms, Factor 50 sun block on back and shoulders.
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 1:48 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #3 on November 15th pm session
Time swim started: 15:23 at 14° 02í.054 N 017° 21.298 W
Time swim ended: 17:24 at 13° 59.533 N 017° 23.634 W
Distance covered: 6.5 km
Commentary: Fatigued, Ben saw beautiful fish and felt very emotional thinking of his daughter; no jellyfish activity, 4 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak, Ben and Sen still not drinking enough fluids.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms, Factor 50 sun block on back and shoulders.
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 1:56 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #4 on November 16th am session
Time swim started: 9:21 at 13° 54.907 N 017° 31.236 W
Time swim ended: 11:12 at 13° 54.507 N 017° 33.133 W
Distance covered: 3.62 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 2, broken cloud cover.
Commentary: 4 x 500ml sports drinks in kayak with Mamadu Sen in kayak; there were pod dolphins in water just prior to entering water (distance of 3m off boat), Ben exited early due to current against him.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms, Factor 50 sun block on shoulders.
Stroke Rate: 20 spm at a pace of 3:02 / 100 metres

Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #4 on November 16th pm session
Time swim started: 14:16 at 13° 53.090 N 017° 35.211 W
Time swim ended: 16:15 at 13° 50.301 N 017° 36.999 W
Distance covered: 6.48 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 2 with Mamadu Sen in kayak.
Lubrication used: Vaseline and sun block
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 1:50 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #5 on November 17th am session
Time swim started: 9:36 at 13° 44.350 N 017° 44.804 W
Time swim ended: 11:30 at 13° 42.577 N 017° 46.918 W
Distance covered: 5.15 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 3-4, short choppy sea with strong current against Ben; Mamadu Sen in kayak.
Lubrication used: Vaseline and sun block
Stroke Rate: 20 spm at a pace of 2:12 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #5 on November 17th pm session
Did not swim this afternoon as Ben felt nauseous and tired, showered and slept until 14:00. On waking, sea rough, short choppy sea 1 metre swells.
Commentary: OBS done and decided he should rest and hydrate with heart rate at 60 bpm, blood pressure at 110/80, temperature at 35.6°C.

Day #6 on November 18th am session
Swim cancelled due to sea conditions. Ben still feeling nauseous with a headache. Light diet today with water and porridge for breakfast, soup and fluids for lunch, soup and tea for dinner, and ginger biscuits for snacks.

Day #6 on November 18th pm session

Swim cancelled due to poor sea conditions.

Day #7 on November 19th am session
Swim cancelled due to dangerously choppy sea.

Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 4 with short choppy sea.
Commentary: Support vessel S/Y Big Blue continues to sail, Ben starting to feel better. OBS done with heart rate at 60 bpm, blood pressure at 100/70, temperature at 36.5°C.

Day #7 on November 19th pm session
Swim cancelled due to dangerously choppy sea conditions.

Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 4 with short choppy sea.
Commentary: Ate soup, pasta and water. 2 x paracetamol as requested by Ben for headache.

Day #8 on November 20th am session
Time swim started: 9:41 at 12° 08.162 N 019° 52.434 W
Time swim ended: 12:40 at 12° 07í.255 N 019° 52.552 W
Distance covered: 6.04 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 0-1, calm sea with a rolling ocean.
Commentary: 2 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak, stung by sea lice in floating seaweed. Current approximately 1,000m per hour against Ben.
Lubrication used: Vaseline under arms and sun block factor 50 on shoulders.
Stroke Rate: 20 spm at a pace of 1:56 / 100 metres
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #8 on November 20th pm session
Time swim started: 15:06 at 12° 08.807 N 019° 51.933 W
Time swim ended: 17:05 at 12° 07.141 N 019° 49.648 W
Distance covered: 5.51 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 1, sea conditions similar to am. Current 511m per hour against Ben with Mamadu Sen in kayak.
Commentary: More stings from the sea lice, Hydrocortisone 1% applied after shower.
Stroke Rate: 21.5 spm at a pace of 2:10 / 100 metres

Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #9 on November 21st am session
Time swim started: 9:14 at 12° 01.659 N 019° 43.087 W
Time swim ended: 12:16 at 11° 56.671 N 019° 45.443 W
Distance covered: 10.73 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 1, swell < 1 metre, slight chop.
Commentary: 2 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak while two tuna swam alongside Ben who vomited twice during this morning’s swim within a few minutes.
Lubrication: Vaseline under arms and sun block factor 50 on shoulders.
Stroke Rate: 21 spm at a pace of 1:42 per 100 metres.

Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Day #9 on November 21st pm session
Time swim started: 14:59 at 11° 54.912 N 019° 46.475 W
Time swim ended: 17:04 at 11° 52.031 N 019° 48.648 W
Distance covered: 6.83 km
Weather and sea conditions: Wind force Beaufort 1, swell < 1 metre, mixed currents.
Commentary: 2 x 500ml sports drinks with Mamadu Sen in kayak, stings from sea lice, 2 tuna returned and swam with Ben for an hour with large pod of dolphin close to the boat.
Lubrication: Vaseline under arms and sun block factor 50 on shoulders.
Swim clothing worn: Lycra swim shorts, Arena goggles

Hooper explained the situation, “During the early hours of this morning, Thursday 15th December, we were subjected to our fifth day of Atlantic storms as a result of which the expedition support vessel the sailing catamaran Big Blue suffered damage to her steering and standing rigging.

The crew worked through the night to make the vessel safe for all on-board and we were able to assess the extent of the damage and the impact on the expedition at first light. By this afternoon, emergency repairs had been made by the crew to enable the vessel to continue sailing safely towards Brazil. Unfortunately the damage has been severe enough to warrant a reappraisal of the expedition.

In the interest of the safety of all souls on-board Big Blue we have decided to postpone the expedition and sail directly to Natal in Brazil by the shortest route.

For more information on his decision, visit here.

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