In the niche world of 'cycling around the world', and overland travel in general, legend tells of a boat from Singapore to Australia, which ferries travellers from one continent to the next. The thing is, beyond speculation or rumour, no-one knows anything about this boat, or anyone who took it. There is certainly no passenger ferry, which leaves three option;
I could try to hitch-hike with a cargo ship, although they are reluctant to do this as it affects their insurance. I contacted a few without success.
I spoke with a few sailors in Singapore to see if they were headed to Australia. None were, but one captain offered me passage on a yacht to South Africa working as a deckhand. I was VERY tempted. I pictured the conversation with my mum; 'Hi Jo.' 'Hi Mum.' 'How's Australia?' 'Uhm.. Australia? I'm actually in Cape Town.' 'CAPE TOWN?! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING IN CAPE TOWN?!'
But ultimately I decided I was too close to Australia not to finish what I had started.
So, this only left option 3; the quickest, cheapest and most logical; To fly from Singapore to Australia.
But that's boring; if I had wanted the easy, quick way to reach Australia, I wouldn't have cycled in the first place...
And so I chose option 4.
By the time you read this, I will be on a small boat somewhere in the Java Sea, heading for Indonesia. With no direct options from Singapore to Australia, I have decided to spend two months hopping through the Indonesian islands, a mix of cycling and boating, until I reach East Timor, which is about as close as it is possible to get to Australia, without y'know, actually being in Australia!
I'm excited about Indonesia because I have no idea what to expect. Unlike previous countries, where I had a little background knowledge, I know nothing about Indonesia. I just discovered it had over 400 active volcanoes spread over its 17,000 islands – how awesome is that?! Did you also know it has the world's 4th largest population? A collossal 260 million people! I can't wait to discover more!
Before closing this post, I'd like to briefly mention the ferry I am currently stuck on for the next 30 hours. 'DON'T TAKE PELNI FERRIES' advised one traveller on the internet, 'they normally sink!' he concluded. I wondered if he might be prone to exaggeration. 'Pelni ferries are only okay if you're local and don't mind sharing a bed with cockroaches,' said another, on TripAdvisor.
To make things more interesting, I will be travelling in Class F. Have any of you heard of a Class F or 6th class anywhere before? My ticket price for this 30 hour, 1000km voyage costs only £18 ($24), so I imagine I'll play an integral part in the running of the ship. Maybe I'll be stuck in an engine room shovelling coal.
I hope to see you on the other side, and continue to share my adventures with you! Enter your email address to subscribe, or like my Facebook page for regular updates!