Michael’s Limerick adventure on the voyage of the Southern Sun

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Southern Sun
Michael Smith in his flying boat 'The Southern Sun'.

Australian Geographic’s Adventurer of the year, Michael Smith, will travel to Limerick this weekend for the European premiere of his acclaimed documentary “Voyage of the Southern Sun”  in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum on Sunday.

The film documents his record breaking solo trip around the world in a single engine flying boat. He will also avail of the occasion to launch his book,“Voyage of the Southern Sun”, which features his 83 flights, stopping in 25 different countries, over a seven month period in 2015.

The story begins when he left Melbourne in a Searey Amphibious  aeroplane called “Southern Sun” to loosely follow the Qantas Empire Flying Boat Route of 1938 from Sydney to London.

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However when he landed at Foynes, he decided to continue flying across the North Atlantic, North America, the North Pacific and back to Australia.

When he arrived at Longreach, on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, became the first person to solo navigate the world using a single-engine flying boat.

With limited flying experience, no support team and only basic instruments in his tiny flying boat, he had risked his life to make modern aviation history.

At a leisurely 80 knots, his journey captured the geographic splendour of the world and he learnt a little about human kind and himself along the way.

He also met plenty of adventure and made new friends along the way – including enormous raccoon-sized rats on the uninhabited Aleutian island of Attu; some surprised members of the Special Branch on his arrival in the UK; had a near-death experience while leaving Greenland, and made a wondrous stop off at Foynes in west Limerick.

And he was delighted when Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum agreed to host the European premiere of the film and the official launch of his book

“I visited the Foynes museum during my few days in Ireland, it was the greatest testament to the golden era of Flying Boats I’ve seen anywhere. Not only was Ireland the greenest place I visited, but by the far the friendliest. I’m really looking forward to returning to launch the book and film in Ireland.”

Museum Director Margaret O’Shaughnessy said that Michael had a great story to tell and there will be a lot of interest in it.

“We’ve had some difficult days here in Foynes following the recent flooding, but the show must go on, and what better show to lift all our spirits than the European Premier of a film documenting Michael’s epic journey around the world.”

Tickets to the premier of “Voyage of the Southern Sun” are available from the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, but early booking is advisable as places are limited.

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