World-first ocean challenge sees one man ‘swim the big blue’ from Senegal to Natal


Ben Hooper likes a challenge and this winter he will undertake one of the biggest in the world – swimming every single mile of the Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal in Africa to Natal in northeastern Brazil.

The 1,731 mile journey will take around 120 days, with up to 12 hours of swimming undertaken per day, in two stints of six hours. Starting from Senegal in January 2016, Hooper expects to arrive in Natal at some point in May.

The ‘swim the big blue’ expedition has already raised nearly £10,000 for charity, in addition to being the subject of a documentary and a Guinness World Record attempt. What makes the whole expedition even more extraordinary is the fact that swimmer Ben Hooper drowned as a child – at age five he was resuscitated at the poolside after sinking to the bottom and being unable to resurface.

Hooper’s childhood experience gave him the courage and determination that eventually led to him becoming one of the world’s most accomplished long-distance ocean swimmers.

Speaking of the ‘swim the big blue’ expedition, patron Sir Ranulph Fiennes comments,

“Make no mistake that this swim is, in my view, one of the last great bastions of exploration to remain unconquered.”

The swim also serves to highlight how close Brazil – and in particular Natal – is to Africa, as well as to Europe. Flying from Dakar in Senegal to Natal takes less than four hours.

Luiz Fernandes, CEO of leading developer Ritz-G5, which is constructing a range of projects in Natal, explains,

“Our investors are often delighted to discover just how accessible Natal is from various locations around the world. The ease with which the city can be accessed is fantastic news for its tourism industry and impacts positively on demand for high-end hotels like the Mercure Natal.”

A number of high profile events have served to highlight Natal’s charms and natural beauty to the world recently, from the 2014 FIFA World Cup to the forthcoming Olympics for which the city will host part of the Olympic flame’s countrywide tour. Ben Hooper’s swim is set to be another such event – his final approach to Brazil will take in the stunning Natal coastline, with its idyllic sandy beaches and gently lapping ocean. With so much going for it, Natal, like Ben Hooper seems destined for great things.

For further details, contact the Ritz-G5 team on +44 207 183 7565 or visit

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