British adventurer Graham Hughes, who set out more than three years ago to visit every sovereign nation in the world by surface transport alone, arrived in Sydney this morning one step closer to achieving his world record goal.
With seven countries still to go – including one that didn’t even exist when he started – Graham was at risk of falling short of his remarkable feat until Princess Cruises came to his aid with its superliner Sea Princess.
Graham cruised the Tasman from Auckland to Sydney in style on Sea Princess – a far cry from some of the transport modes he’s experienced over his three years on the road and sea.
Graham has now found an understanding skipper to take him to Nauru, after which he will have to do some clever backtracking to South Sudan, which became an independent country while he was ticking off other countries on his long list.
During his travels, he was thrown into jail in the Congo and spent four terrifying days on a leaky wooden fishing canoe over 600km from Senegal to Cape Verde with no radio, phone, GPS and no-one on board who spoke a word of English.
"Over the past three years I’ve travelled on more than 100 different ships, across channels, seas and oceans, on everything from banana boats to super-freighters, so it was great to put my feet up and relax on board Sea Princess,” Graham said.
Princess Cruises' Commercial Director Stan Birge said Graham's adventurous spirit and reputation as ‘the destination man’ struck a chord with the cruise line, which is known as the destination expert.
“As the biggest operator of cruises between Australia and New Zealand it made sense for us to help Graham in his quest,” Mr Birge said.
"We share his passion for travel and we were pleased we could assist him to achieve another stage of his remarkable world record attempt and all for a good cause.
“Graham has had some amazing adventures over the past 37 months and has a great story to tell. He generously agreed to share his experiences with passengers during the voyage and has spent the past nine days entertaining them with his enthusiastic presentations,” Mr Birge said.
Since beginning his journey, Graham also broken the Guinness World Record for the highest number of countries visited in a single year by setting foot in 133 sovereign states during 2009.
Graham is using his Odyssey Expedition to raise funds for WaterAid which provides clean water initiatives and sanitation systems for impoverished communities.
Blog and video posts from Graham’s Odyssey Expedition can be viewed on his website, www.TheOdysseyExpedition.com