I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in the Omani town of Salalah trying to find a way to catch a lift on a container ship to The Seychelles. Three ships, the MV DAL Mauritius, the MV San Cristobal and the MV Maersk Wiesbaden have all come and gone (to The Seychelles) in this time and none could take me on board.
On Sunday I visited the captain of the MV San Cristobal onboard his ship. The coils of razorwire encircling the deck were just a hint of what was to come… in fact, if you really want to see what I’m up against, have a gander on Wikipedia… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_attacked_by_Somali_pirates.
The problem is this: The boats plying the shipping lines around here have special anti-piracy insurance. Part of the policy demands that the ship run with the minimum number of crew possible. As the captain of the MV San Cristobal explained, my mere presence on the ship invalidates the insurance.
And you know how insurance companies just love to wiggle out of paying out.
So the chances of a carrier taking me from Salalah are between slim and none.
Now, here’s my Plan B. Let me know what you think…
I skip Eritrea and The Seychelles and thunder onwards to India, China and eventually to The Philippines (via Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei). All being well, I could be there in September. Then I hurtle around the Pacific islands (first Palau, then the rest) as quickly as I can, getting to Australia (from New Zealand) for around December (when the yachting season ends in the Pacific Ocean).
Then I’ll cross Oz on the Ghan and take a yacht from Darwin to East Timor and back. Maybe. Then I’ll hitch a ride on a cargo ship from Oz that is going to (this may require me going back to Malaysia first) South Africa and stopping at The Seychelles on the way. THEN I’ll arrive in South Africa and charge up Africa (again, but it’ll only take a couple of weeks) and FINGERS CROSSED that Djibouti and Eritrea have reopened their land border.
Or even if the border isn’t open I’ll just make a run for it.
Then, job done, we’ll hop on the next CMA CGM ship from Djibouti that is heading for Blighty, arriving to a hero’s welcome a couple of weeks later.
Yes, it’s a mad roundabout way of doing it, but I can’t see any other way at the moment. It would have been so cool to finish the journey in New Zealand, but that simply ain’t going to happen.
If any of you have any better ideas of how I should do the Final Forty, please, comment away!!
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I always hate making suggestions becuase you’re so much more “into” the research than me but there seem to be a few cruise lines that ply an India-Maldives-Sechelles route, have you looked into them? Doesn’t help with Dijibouti, I know. Bloody Dijibouti. I hope they know that no one’s even heard of them.
I may have a look at that option while I’m in India… but as you say it doesn’t help with Eritrea (not Djibouti, Djibouti is my friend!!). The mad thing is that it might be quicker to forget about ALL the Indian Ocean islands (including Maldives and Sri Lanka) until AFTER the Pacific… catching the correct seasons for both.
I like that plan. What is your estimated finishing time on that route?
The only other alternative would seem to be to complete Pakistan/India/North Asia/Southeast Asia (or Southeast Asia then North Asia) during the next five months, then double back a bit to India, get a cruise ship leaving India in November for Seychelles and Africa, then head up Africa to Eritrea, then try to get cargo ship from Djibouti to Australia, then finish with Pacific Islands and New Zealand.
I like your plan better.
Brainstorming here, but it seems you need a ‘visa’ for cargo ships. There may be one carrier who insures a large percentage of cargo ships. If you could get a special dispensation from that carrier, or a special designation as ‘media’, you may be able to remove some of the insurance barrier. A large insurance company would have a corporate media department, and they may find some first hand accounts of traveling on the ships they insure would make interesting articles for the company’s internal website/ezine. Main point is that having your team talk to some insurance companies may be more fruitful than talking to the captains.
Okay, I’m going to head over to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) this weekend and spend a couple of days looking for a motorboat or yacht that might take me to Eritrea and back. I’ll do this while I wait for my Indian visa to come through in Dubai so I’m not really wasting any days.
Any more cunning ideas for SEYCHELLES or ERITREA would be most welcome…!
Did you go to Greenland?? ’cause in the map doesn’t appear in green, i just have seen a few of your videos but i was curious ’cause i was wondering how are you going to travel there???
To make it a little easier on myself (and because there are hundreds of them!) I’ve restricted my journey to sovereign nations, not territories. Greenland is a territory of Denmark. I’m also not going to Antarctica, French Guiana or Hawaii!!
hola Graham, tal ves no sepas español o tal ves sepas un poquito, solo te escribo para decirte que eres mi modelo a seguir, pues yo también soy un aventurero y trotamundos, pero tu y tu hazaña son algo únicos. te has convertido en una inspiración para mi y espero algún día recorrer mi continente.
Que Dios te bendiga en tu viaje.
tu fan Iker
Hey friend come on!!!! you are about to finish.I hope one day you write a book and tell us all your adventures in more detail, good luck
P. S. I hope to translate it into Spanish.