On the occasion of the 7th ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress, an exclusive group of 25 of the world’s most extreme travelers flew in, all the way from Japan, Thailand, Russia, the USA and Europe …
… to meet at The Pier Hotel in Harwich – and to travel onward to one of the most exotic countries on earth: Sealand.
The Principality of Sealand was founded in 1967 on a WW2 Artillery Platform off the coast of Harwich / Essex in Southeast England, initially as a pirate radio station, and as of 1975 as a sovereign nation, by Major Roy Bates, Prince of Sealand, and his wife, beauty queen Princess Joan (Foto: Official Sealand Website). Of course, their country is just as legitimate as its larger neighbour Great Britain (the Democratic Republican Hereditary God Kingdom).
Comic series about the coup, on Prince James’ Twitter page twitter.com/jamesofsealand, stating “I’ve killed a lot of Germans in my time. Another one wouldn’t make much difference” …
Sealand government procedures were professional and efficient (Foto: Wikipedia). The passport stamp is highly sought after, in extreme traveler scenes.
Under Sealand jurisdiction, a prior visa is required, plus a valid passport with minimum validity of six months, and at least one free page.
After a stormy Saturday with force 8 winds, the founder’s grandsons Prince James (right) and Prince Liam (left) met with us on a sunny Sunday morning …
… for a 30 minute boat ride
… to their territorial waters
… approaching further
… until the country name on the platform could be seen from the waterline.
Every participant had to be winched up.
A difficult job for the boatman who constantly had to move his vessel in the right position.
Quite the adventure.
German extreme traveler MvH onboard Sealand.
The Ministry of Information & Communication. Sealand English is quite similar to standard English (see dictionary above).
Inside the Royal Palace.
The Official Banquet Hall. The clock shows Sealand’s official timezone, which is GMT.
Sealand’s motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom)
This is the prison where then-acting Prime Minister Alexander Achenbach was incarcerated, after a putsch and counter-coup quarrel in 1978, until he was freed through an international treaty with the German Ambassador, who had to fly in personally from London. There is a debate if this constitutes a legal recognition of Sealand by a UN member … because Germany was not really a sovereign nation at the time (or now).
So much to see in Sealand. The group was shown around by one of the two Yeoman Wardens (“beefeaters”) who take rotating shifts of 4 weeks as permanent residents, while the Royal Family pursues their business interests (cockle-fishing, dog grooming parlour) on the mainland.
This was apparently the first ever tourist group on the platform. And it may well be the last.
A unique country visit ! (The flag is remarkably similar to that of former Germany.)
Harwich was the starting point for another boat trip – to another self-proclaimed country – that had a much less friendly impact on humanity: the Mayflower !
Ric Gazarian (left) received the ETIC “Extreme Traveler of the Year” AWARD 2019 in the category COMMUNITY for his unique and widely distributed podcast programme Counting Countries. (Find his excellent Sealand trip report here: globalgaz.com/visiting-principality-sealand/)
Harry Mitsidis (center) and Joao Paulo Peixoto (right) listen attentively. They were awarded by ETIC in two categories, CURIOSITY and COURAGE, for their daring and pioneering trip to Kismaayo and Garowe in Somalia.
The Presidents of the 3 major Systematic Travel Clubs, JoAnn Schwartz (TCC, center), Charles Veley (MTP, center left), and Harry Mitsidis (NMM, center right), together with ETIC organisers Kolja Spori (left) and Per Besson (right) at the ETIC Dinner.
The ETIC – Extreme Traveler International Congress was held for the 7th time in 2019, at the Principality of Sealand. Please find more info on the – by invitation only – ETIC series here: Website