Adventurous Englishman Ben Southall is travelling around Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef in a kayak. The former Best Job in the World Island Caretaker has launched the Best Expedition in the World – a four-month, 1600km sea safari along the reef that re-traces the route taken by Captain James Cook 240 years ago on his Voyage of Discovery. Ben will paddle, pedal and sail a ‘Hobie’ kayak for the entire time.
Ben was awestruck by the Great Barrier Reef while acting as caretaker at Hamilton Island in 2009 as part of the ‘Best Job in the World’, and wanted to encourage more people to share the same experiences.
“This is about showing the world that the Great Barrier Reefis open for business,” says Ben, who will keep fans abreast of his voyage on the website www.bestexpedtionintheworld.com.
“My job is to raise the profile of the Great Barrier Reef, spreading the message of research, education and conservation of the reef, its islands and tourism experiences. I want to inspire people to realise they too can explore this great natural asset either by jumping in a kayak, going for a dive or sailing between Queensland’s islands,” he says.
The Best Expedition in the World will stop at Lady Elliot Island, Musgrave Island, Mackay, the Whitsundays, Townsville, Magnetic Island, Orpheus Island, Hichinbrook Island, Cairns, Port Douglas, Lowe Isles, Cape Tribulation, Endeavour Reef and Cooktown, where Captain Cook came ashore in 1770. While the route is essentially the same as the original British explorer, this Brit’s journey will differ significantly from that of Cook.
“Captain Cook was a visionary, an experienced sailor, skilled with a sextant who proudly kept 94 men alive by feeding them pork, beef, cheese, citrus fruit, sauerkraut and beer during his command of the 35-metre long Endeavour,” the young adventurer says. “I’ll be doing the expedition alone in my 5-metre long Hobie Kayak with just a GPS and IPad, following a nutritionist’s eating plan to take in 3000 calories per day.”
A support vessel will accompany Ben during the expedition. He will blog, tweet and record Queensland’s colorful characters and reef experiences for people around the world. Clearly he’s going to be busy.