Paddle feat across reef

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A FORMER island caretaker has completed a 1,600km sea safari along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Ben Southall, 36, from Petersfield, paddled into Cooktown yesterday to mark the end of the four-month adventure. Since departing Queensland on May 21, Ben has spent more than 100 days on the water, visiting 22 islands and 36 dive sites. Ben, who two years ago won a six-month role as the caretaker of Hamilton Island on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, said: ‘I wanted to learn everything about the Reef and now I can confidently say I’ve fulfilled that dream.’