Rower crosses Pacific to make history

John Beeden rowing solo. Photo: Cheryl Beeden (via

John Beeden rowing solo. Photo: Cheryl Beeden (via

Brisbane [AAP]

A British adventurer has made history, becoming the first person to row solo from America to Australia.

A relieved John Beeden, 53, is still recovering after finally reaching land at Cairns on Sunday morning, two months after he was due in Queensland.

‘I don’t think I quite comprehended the immensity of the challenge and that it was a proper world first,’ he told AAP on Monday.

Mr Beeden was greeted by his wife and two daughters after 200 days at sea, rowing 7,400 nautical miles non-stop across the Pacific Ocean without even an assistance boat.

After leaving San Francisco in June, a series of bad weather events set back his end date but he was able to email wife Cheryl and teenage daughters Libby and Georgie, keep his spirits up and complete 15 hours of rowing each day.

‘It was really hard work but I just pushed on,’ he said.

‘If you quit you’re still a thousand miles from civilisation so you just have to keep going.’

Mr Beeden, who lived in South Australia with his family as a child for two years and is now based in Canada, said it felt like a ‘spiritual homecoming’ to land in Australia.

‘It is an absolute gorgeous country and the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns was a stunning backdrop to finish the rowing in,’ he said.

‘I was able to sit back and take it all in.

‘It was a special moment to see my family, they looked like they wanted me back so I was happy,’ said Mr Beeden.

The lean and weary rower rounded off his sea voyage with a meal of fish and chips and is now preparing to return to his day job as an exhibition organiser.


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