12.12.11: We’re at sea, so now’s a good time to give you some sort of timetable of my movements over the next few months. It’s worth you knowing that there is no way the Odyssey Expedition will be finished before July at the very earliest. Don’t forget I’ve still got to infiltrate Fortress Seychelles (200) as well as return to Africa to finish my journey in South Sudan (201).
After the Southern Pearl stops off in Kiribati (190) and The Marshall Islands (191), it returns to Fiji around Dec 22. I’ll be in Fiji for Christmas and New Year (woo!) and then, thanks to the wonderful guys at Pacific Direct and Reef Shipping, I’ve been invited to join the crew of the Southern Lily 2, a cargo ship that runs to Samoa (192), Tonga (193) and New Zealand (194).
Mandy hasn’t had a holiday since she met me in Egypt two years ago, so she’ll be flying over to New Zealand to meet me for a two week breather. We’re planning to hurtle around North Island and, at some point, blag our way onto the set of The Hobbit. The reason that there is no great hurry to get on with the journey at this point is that the Scarlett Lucy, the ship I’m hoping to take me to Nauru (195), doesn’t leave Brisbane until Feb 15: and there’s no way I can make the January sailing.
On Jan 29, I’ll be saying my farewells to Mandy as the good people at Carnival have blagged me onboard a Princess Cruise ship back to Australia. I have to go back to Oz to meet with the aforementioned Scarlett Lucy, my one and only chance of making it to Nauru (195).
The Scarlett Lucy will return to Australia in March and then the challenge will be to secure passage on a ship leaving for Taiwan. Why Taiwan you ask? Because it’s from there that Mariana Shipping run a ship once every two weeks which stops at Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia (196) and Palau (197). I can’t find any ships going to Palau from the Southern Hemisphere, so it’s really the only way. If all goes like clockwork, it’s conceivable (but not likely) that I’d have it done by the end of April.
So then, May will involve a merry jaunt down to Singapore and then a trip across to Sri Lanka (198). By the time I convince a cargo ship to take me to the Maldives (199) and back to Sri Lanka it’ll be June. I then face the even more difficult challenge of finding a ship happy to take me back to Madagascar (although Mauritius or Reunion would be just as good), so let’s call that the rest of June.
July will start with me begging a yachtie in Nosy Be to take me to one of the most southerly of the Seychelles Islands (200). This would (at the very least) take a couple of weeks. I would then have to get back from Nosy Be to Africa. This could take a few days or a few weeks depending on how long I get stuck in Comoros again.
Once back in Dar Es Salaam, I know I could get to South Sudan (201) in just a few days via Uganda, visas permitting. I crack open a Juba beer and bring The Odyssey Expedition to a fitting (but long-overdue) conclusion.
Then… well, after three and a half years of surface-based travel hilarity, I hope you’re not expecting me to spoil it all by flying back to the UK are you?!