Canadian resident completes cross Pacific rowing odyssey

SYDNEY, Australia -- A Canadian resident has finished an incredible journey -- John Beeden has rowed by himself across the Pacific Ocean.

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It took the Ontario resident 209 days to make the crossing in his six metre boat "Socks II."

Beeden's website says the 53-year-old is the first person to complete the 11,296 kilometre crossing from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia.

When he left June 1, he expected to do the voyage within 180 days, but had to contend with often heavy seas, high winds and lack of sleep.

Beeden, originally from Britain, but now living in Burlington west of Toronto with his wife and two daughters, has powered himself across oceans before, despite describing himself on his website as a "scrawny old Yorkshireman."

He rowed across the Atlantic in 2011 in a voyage that took 53 days.

Beeden describes the welcome he received in Australia when he arrived Sunday as incredible.

"Lots of people whistling and shouting from boats, as I closed in on the marina entrance the walk ways were full of people shouting and cheering," he wrote in a post on his website dated Dec. 27.

"I did think I would do a Frankie Detorri dismount by hopping over the rail and say that was the ride of a lifetime," he wrote in an apparent reference to the Italian horse racing jockey.

"But as I crouched to jump I could feel my legs starting to give way so I stepped off and nearly fell in the water."



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