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!!