Day 1,390: The Costa Living

Tue 23.10.12:

The two days at sea passed like some velvet morning (when I’m straight). For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to be less of a fat bastard using a novel invention I like to call ‘the beer diet’. It’s nice and simple: you just drink beer and don’t eat anything. Honestly, it works! Magic!!

However, on a cruise upon which I can’t afford to drink and the food is UNLIMITED and FREE, my great diet plan has been turned on its head. Now all I have to stop me stuffing my face with cheese and prosciutto is my own willpower.


On the Tuesday we crossed 0° latitude, that magic invisible line of red that seamlessly circumnavigates the planet. Why is it 0°? Because that’s the angle of Polaris, the North Star, in the sky relative to the horizon at this exact point of this marvellously oblate spheroid we all call home.

The last time we crossed the equator, I had to make up for the insult I had hurled at King Neptune by switching hemispheres without his permission. Once in Ecuador, once in Gabon, once in Kenya, thrice in Indonesia, twice on the way to Kiribati and twice on the way back again.

That’s ten times I’ve kicked sand in Uncie Nep-Nep’s face. Happily, on this crossing Monsieur Neppy was in a much better mood with me and there were (thankfully) no head-shaving shenanigans to be had. Just a baptism of equatorial water and the chance to dress up as Ol’ Neppo himself.

I was then forced to dance to Italian pop music, which was something of an ordeal. What is it with Italian pop? Why does it always sound like the backing music of a porno? But hey, it beat scrubbing deck paint off my arm for two days straight.

Being somewhat of a storytelling balladeer it made sense that I should do a talk about my travels, not just for personal glory (and the scouse compulsion to be entertaining), but also as a good way to meet new people who may (if I’m a good boy) buy me a beer. An American called John who I had met while chatting to Josie, the English speaking hostess, set up for me to do a presentation in one of the meeting rooms, which of course I did. There’s actually very few native English speakers on board, which should be unsurprising since it’s an Italian ship: I’ve met people from France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Croatia… the only English speakers are from the US, Canada or Australia. I don’t think I’m met a fellow Englisher yet!

The ship is a fine old lady, and as a water taxi service to two of my three final destinations, I seriously cannot complain. Costa have well and truly saved my bacon. AND I LOVE BACON!!

THANK YOU COSTA!! You may use the following picture for all your future publicity:

This time Nep-Nep, I’M THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!!!

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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