“What’s going on with this boat, Graham?” I must have heard that question over a hundred times in the last few months. Before today I was unable to give a clear and concise answer – the situation was completely out of my hands. Delays enforced by paperwork and red-tape meant that every time I thought I had a real, tangible “I’ll be leaving by date x” to tell people, I’d end up looking no end of a fool by still being here in Melbourne watching that very date whoosh by.
Of course, my first preference – to spend the bulk of 2011 by hopping from one Pacific Island to another, living off fish and coconut milk and entertaining you all with my tales of leaky canoes and rusty banana boats facing down tempests that would make The Perfect Storm look like a drizzly afternoon in Wales – would require more funds than I currently have access to… and it’s not like I’m going to get an advance for the second series of Graham’s World any time soon.
I could, if being honest, have made more of an effort to find a sea-faring philanthropist who was sitting on his or her yacht moored on the east coast of Australia just waiting for his or her next big adventure. But instead I chose to put all my chips on black – to focus my intentions on the one best offer I’ve had – a catamaran that will take me back to Wewak in Papua New Guinea and then on to each and every country in Oceania.
A boat that would be provided for three months, a 17,500km journey, free of charge, with one of the most knowledgeable catamaran captains in the Southern Hemisphere at the helm. I would be joined on this voyage by an independent camerawoman who works for National Geographic, a guy who works for a TV network in The States and Steve Crombie, the presenter of Nat Geo Adventure’s ‘Natural Born Traveller’ and the ‘Lost on…’ series.
A boat that sounded too good to be true.
But that also sounded too good to miss. This could well be my only way of completing this journey – a journey I started over 30 months ago. So I chose to wait until I received a definite YES or NO before I put in motion Plan F.
Today, after waiting by the phone for the past 200 days, I finally got a final, concrete, be-all-and-end-all answer…
And the answer is…
Now I could give up at this point. I could chuck in my chips and bugger off home, go to sleep and pray to wake in some better time. But that would be letting you down, it would be letting me down. And if the past two and a half years have proven anything, I hope it’s that I ain’t a quitter.
So next week I’ll be heading up to Sydney to go on national television to put out a plea to find a yacht captain willing to answer the call of adventure. I mean, if a mad German cannibal can find somebody on the internet who actually wants to be eaten, surely I can find somebody who wants to go on a swash-buckling record-breaking voyage around the Pacific Ocean.
MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY.
SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD,
LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS,
CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.
HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.
– advert (supposedly) placed by Shackleton before one of his expeditions.