28 December 2015

Hero


"Just to feel alive and in control of your own destiny"

Two days ago a large red rowing boat was tied to a jetty in the harbour at Cairns in northern Queensland, Australia. Unsteadily, a fifty three year old man clambered ashore. His leathery sunburnt torso was all skin and bone. His name is John Beeden and he was born and raised two miles from this keyboard in the Sheffield suburb of Woodseats.

John Beeden is a true modern day hero and what he achieved this past weekend deserves to be trumpeted around the world for it is another special example of what human beings are capable of when they apply themselves with true grit and determination. 

Setting off from San Francisco on June 1st, it took John Beeden 209 days to row to Cairns. He was alone and there were no stops on route. He is the first person in human history to have achieved this incredible feat, travelling 6100 nautical miles as the crow flies! Or 6500 actual nautical miles according to our recently rejuvenated and helpful  Mancunian blogger -  Mr Shooting Parrots.

There were days when he rowed for fifteen or sixteen hours and times when the Pacific winds, currents and waves drove him back so far that hours of hard rowing were nullified.He ate dehydrated meals and drank sea water that had been desalinated. Admittedly he was aided by some modern technology - including navigational aids, a satellite phone and intermittent internet connection - but that takes nothing away from what this brave Yorkshireman has achieved.

There's a website connected with John Beeden's incredible ocean journey. To learn more go to Solo Pacific Row.

21 comments:

  1. Did you want me to go and get his autograph for you YP? Brave Yorkshireman .. umm you know we have perfectly good aeroplanes that fly from San Francisco to Cairns.

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    1. Anyone can buy a ticket for an aeroplane Carol. But yes - please seek out John Beeden and get me his autograph. Thank you for your kind offer.

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  2. My definition of a hero involves doing something to safe others from great peril, or to do something utterly self-sacrificing for someone else, like rescue teams, emergency paramedics, fire fighters, soldiers (sometimes), or just the person next door who takes care of someone in their old age. You, for instance, are a hero in my eyes for looking after the man you've mentioned a few times on your blog, can't think of his name right now.
    John Beeden's feat is certainly impressive but I honestly can't quite see the point, it's a bit like climbing a mountain just because the mountain is there and then being awarded with an OBE (Sir Edmund Hillary comes to mind).

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    1. I see what you mean Meike. I guess that John Beeden is a different kind of hero. One of the main definitions of the adjective "heroic" is "admirably brave or determined".

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  3. I'm with Librarian on this one. He might be a hero to himself...but to others...I have my doubts. There are many I would hold far ahead of him in the hero stakes.

    Personally, I can see no point in rowing from San Francisco to Cairns! There are better things for him to have done for the greater good! I barely gave the footage a second glance when it appeared on our news bulletins.

    As Carol said...there are flights in from the US daily; and I hear that airline food is pretty damn good these days.

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    1. And, come on, man! What's wrong with you? Geez! Justin Bieber is my hero! Wow! Man! The Biebs all the way!!!!

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    2. Maybe it is a man thing. Justin Bieber is an irritating mosquito in comparison with the now great John Beeden. I would like to see you Carol and Frau Meike rowing across the Pacific! It would be the best ever comedy film - though it would only last for ten minutes or so.

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    3. Ummmm....Yorkie...I was only joking about Bieber...I thought you would've been aware of that!

      Sure...I guess Beeden is great in his own mind...because he set out to fulfill a very odd dream that was his, for whatever reason...and he achieved it. Good for him. Is he a hero? Again, in the eyes of some maybe he is...in yours he is...in mine...not really. But that's just my humble opinion...and it's not worth much, anyway. :)

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    4. As for liking to see us three ladies rowing across the Pacific...I think I can speak on behalf of Librarian and Carol when I say we wouldn't ever even dream of doing so...such a folly. We've more sense to even consider doing so. And we're aware of our limitations.

      Also, what annoys me about people like Beeden...if they get into strife, others put their own lives on the line, at risk, trying to rescue them...to save them.

      And now I'm going to get accused once more for trying to get the last word in...but that is not the reason why at all. I believe your comment needed a further response. :)

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    5. Let me have the last word instead, Lee :-)
      You were indeed right in assuming that I would never even dream of rowing across the Pacific. Why would I want to do that?
      (But then again, why do I participate in my hometown's City Run every summer? To prove to myself that I can do it, that's why. Therefore, I do partly understand why Mr. Beeden did what he did.)

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  4. The 6,100 nautical miles is as the crow flies, but the estimated actual distance covered was 6,500, so even more impressive.

    It shows you just how far a Yorkist will go to avoid paying for the air fare.

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    1. I understand that a Lancastrian rower once made it across Buttermere in The Lake District. There's a statue of him by the marketplace in Bury to recognise the greatest ever example of human endurance completed by a son of Lancashire. Quite remarkable.

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  5. A very special character but not a hero in my definition.....fascinating and intrepid though.

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    1. heroic = "admirably brave or determined"

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  6. I read about him yesterday, thank you for that

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  7. Wow! Yorkie...I've just seen footage on the news here of the ancient Tadcaster Bridge in North Yorkshire collapsing under the weight of all the heavy rains you're experiencing. Leaking gas is a problem they're facing as well, so I see.

    I hope you and your family are safe- and high and dry where you are. Take good care...I know you will and that might sound redundant...but take care, anyway...there..I said it again! :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts Lee. We live on a hill in Sheffield and though our lawn is a bit spongy right now, we will never know flooding up here. Such a shame about the old bridge in Tadcaster. My sister-in-law regularly drives over it to go dancing.

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  8. He's skin and bone alright. He looks like a bit of old leather. I loved his comment , " I might have lost a bit of weight " ! !

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    1. I am amazed that he could even lift an oar. The fellow looked as if he had just been released from a concentration camp.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.