Briton John Beeden has completed the first non-stop solo row across the Pacific Ocean. Beeden departed from San Francisco on June 1 and arrived at Cairns in northeast Australia, on Dec. 27, reported the BBC.
I'm exhausted, heat & humidity horrible 2day. Have received some brilliant messages of support which will help get me to the finish line.— John Beeden (@solopacificrow) December 25, 2015
He had reportedly hoped to reach Cairns several weeks ago, but his journey was slowed down by inclement weather. Beeden, in an interview with the BBC, also revealed there were several times he did not think he could continue.
“To be the first person to achieve something on this scale is incredible, really, and I haven’t processed it yet.”
According to the article, Beeden previously rowed 2,600 miles in 53 days across the Atlantic in 2011, but says crossing the Pacific is a much more difficult journey. He is originally from the northern England city of Sheffield, but now resides in Canada.
After 209 grueling days and more than 7,000 miles at sea, Beeden told the BBC that he received a “brilliant reception” upon arriving in Cairns.
Thank you Cairns for the brilliant reception, I was overwhelmed, it made the last 209 days worth while. Wow it's over! #solopacificrow— John Beeden (@solopacificrow) December 27, 2015
Although there have reportedly been nine other successful attempts to row across the Pacific Ocean, some of the previous crossings were completed in stages, incorporating days of rest throughout the journey, while others embarked from various places in South America, instead of North America as Beeden did.
Namely, in 1971 and 1972, John Fairfax and Sylvia Cook rowed across the Pacific, making their way from San Francisco to Hayman Island in Australia, although they did stop several times along the way. They were the first people to row across the Pacific successfully at that time, and Cook was the first woman to ever cross any ocean in this manner. Peter Bird attempted to cross the Pacific after setting off from San Francisco in 1983, but was rescued by the Australian Navy 294 days later after reaching the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly, following a number of other failed attempts, Bird was eventually lost at sea in 1996
As for Beeden’s successful solo journey, his wife Cheryl spoke out as one of his biggest supporters, despite unsuccessful attempts to row across the Pacific by others in the past.
“Always knew he could do it, it just took a lot longer than we expected and just glad that he’s home safe. He’s an amazing guy, he’s different than a lot of other people – he’ll always fight to get the mile when he’s having a bad day… he’ll always been rowing.”
A self-proclaimed adventurer, Beeden made the epic journey by rowing across the Pacific in a six-meter (20-foot) boat named Socks II, according to Deutche Welle. Throughout the roughly 7,400-mile journey, Beeden averaged about 15 hours of rowing each day. His wife Cheryl and two teenage daughters met him at the dock in Cairns and greeted him along with a large group of local vessels that came out to commemorate the historic event.
“Along his way, Beeden was met by a series of support boats as he passed islands and was given supplies.”
Still, after spending seven months mostly alone on the open sea, he said he began to find it “strange” to be thrust among crowds of people and noise that most of us take for granted. To put his solitude in perspective, there were large stretches of the journey that were so isolated that the closest human beings were on the space station, which was about 250 kilometers (150 miles) directly above him.
“It’s strange, but it’s good to be back, but it was kind of good to be out there as well.”
[Photo courtesy of Twitter]