Hurrah! 2012 at last! And might I say GOOD RIDDANCE to all that horrible 2011 malarkey. Yuck. Never going back there again. I saw in the new year in Albert Park in Suva amongst a good few thousand revellers dancing in the mud. I then sneaked back into O’Reilly’s and burnt the midnight oil throwing shapes to terrible music which (when I rule the world) will be outlawed.
I woke up the next day in the South Seas Hotel with a bitching hangover and a load of random photos on my camera that I don’t recall taking.
Okay people, this is it… THE LAST YEAR OF THE ODYSSEY EXPEDITION!
I have just TEN countries left to go. Here’s how I intend to knock them pins down…
In a couple of days I will be leaving Suva on The Southern Lily 2, ready to go to Samoa (192), Tonga (193) and New Zealand (194). Mandy is going to be flying in to meet me and we’re going to enjoy a week or so holidaying around the North Island and generally stalking Sir Peter Jackson. I’m having a little holiday from my epic holiday, okay?!
Once I get to New Zealand I will have just SEVEN countries left to visit.
Princess Cruises have already agreed to give me free passage from New Zealand to Australia. Once there, my friends at Neptune Shipping will hopefully be happy to give me a ride on The Scarlet Lucy (great name!) to the isolated dot of a nation that is Nauru (195). That trip will bring me back to Australia for the beginning of March. Then I’m hoping my old chums in either Swire or PIL will be good enough to allow me to hitch a ride on one of their cargo ships leaving Australia for Taiwan.
The Mariana Shipping Company runs ships out of Taiwan which call into Micronesia (196) and Palau (197). Without their assistance, I may be sunk, so fingers crossed on that one. Then it’s back to PIL to ask if I can ride one of their ships from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka (198). Sri Lanka has a number of small carriers that go to The Maldives (199) and back, so that journey shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange. I reckon I could have all that done by May 2012.
Then we get to the hardest nut to crack. The Fort Knox of surface travel: The Seychelles (200). I can’t emphasise enough how difficult it’s going to be to get there without flying. It will require nothing short of a miracle, or at the very least a huge stroke of luck.
You can forget about cargo ships: there aren’t any that could take me even if they wanted to, not in the pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean. Cruise ships are few and far between (like, a year between) so that leaves me with just one option: to hitch a ride on a yacht. The closest (and safest) place for me to do this from would be Nosy Be in Madagascar.
But even getting back to Madagascar may present difficulties: the pirate zone has grown year on year since 2006, and now even the waters around Madagascar are seen as areas of elevated risk. I may need to travel to Mauritius and make my own way from there. I may even have to go to Mozambique and then do the Comoros island-hop fiasco AGAIN that cost me so much time and money back in 2009.
One way or another, I will get back to Madagascar. But finding somebody willing to risk kidnap or death by sailing north out of Nosy Be… it ain’t going to be easy.
But let’s assume that I’m successful. I take a yacht up to one of the most southerly islands of The Seychelles and back to Nosy Be and don’t run into any trouble. Then it’s the dreaded Comoros island-hop back to the African mainland before I travel from Dar-Es-Salaam to Uganda and from there I march north into country number 201 of 201: South Sudan.
Cue fireworks, Juba beer and crazy dancing all night long.
I then intend to thunder overland back to the UK, through Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Italy and France for one hell of a party once I return to Liverpool, hopefully around the end August, so clear your diaries people!
Then, and only then, will The Odyssey Expedition be over. Maybe.
This Post Has 4 Comments
I’m glad you’ll be going back through Africa again. Another chance to get tossed in jail.
It’s really starting to sound like this might have to get renamed the “Every Country Except the Seychelles” Expedition. Here’s hoping you can find a way around the impenetrable fortress.
I have enjoyed your stories for a long time now, so happy to chip in here with some info, in case you didn’t know…
I remember you were thwarted in your attempt in getting to Sri Lanka from India so when I heard that passenger ferry services between Tuticorin in India and Colombo in Sri Lanka have resumed, I first thought of you! They do have an on-again-off-again nature but I wanted to let you know that there might be a better option than waiting for a direct ship to Sri Lanka from Hong Kong or wherever.
You can contact me by email once you are closer to the date and I can have someone make inquiries for you. All the best! I really hope you finish this, and I want you to know that there are a lot of people silently rooting for you.
Another silent follower here who has been urging you on from the very start, right back to when you were trying to complete this crazy impossible feat in 12 months! I’m sure you know all about this, but I was just thinking it might be safer to get to the Seychelles on one of those Cruise Ships you mention, if you got all of the other nations ticked off in Asia/Pacific and then did Sri Lanka from India and back, you could maybe contact Oceania about getting passage on their cruise which then takes in the Maldives and the Seychelles before heading to Mombassa, http://www.oceaniacruises.com/findcruise/africa/nau121206/default.aspx
It leaves Cochin on 16th December and you would get to Kenya on Christmas Eve, leaving you a week to get to South Sudan to still finish this year.
ps sorry to hear about your tough year, I lost my dad in 2010 and he would have loved what you are doing. When you hit that final country it will all be worth while and you will be able to maximise the publicity and then the world will be your oyster, the book, the tv series, then the screenplays, directing and eventually The Oscars… hahaha keep believing, by the way you write really well when you’re passionate about something, you can tell it just flows. It’s also very clear that all of your family and friends are very proud of you.