PhoeniciaFormer British Royal Naval Officer, adventurer, and WB Alumnus, Philip Beale, has just returned from a trip to Syria following a two week effort to remove his vessel Phoenicia, a replica 600 BC Phoenician ship, from the country which is in the midst of violent clashes between pro- and anti- government groups. The voyage from Syria to the port of Limossol, Cyprus, took place one week after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised that all British nationals leave the country. Foreign journalists have been banned from Syria for months and the anti regime protests have reportedly left 1,600 people dead, hundreds more injured and thousands under arrest. Getting the ship out took longer than expected but the operation “went smoothly with only a few minor hiccups” according to Philip. Phoenicia was built in Syria using traditional 600BC construction techniques and timbers that were available in ancient times. The ship‟s design specification was created using evidence from relevant shipwrecks and archaeological finds of artefacts such as vases and coins, as well as advice from eminent scholars and shipwrights. The Phoenicia Ship Expedition, led and skippered by Philip, was launched from Arwad, Syria in August. The ship was crewed by a team of international volunteers who joined different legs of the two-year circumnavigation of Africa. The expedition re-created the first circumnavigation of Africa, believed to have been achieved by Phoenician mariners in 600 BC. The voyage was 20,000 miles in total and took Phoenicia from the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Republic of Yemen in January 2009, and then from the Horn of Africa up to the west coast of Africa, reaching the Straits of Gibraltar before sailing back to Syria in October 2010. Evading Somalian pirates, treacherous storms and mechanical problems taxed Philip‟s leadership skills to the full. The objectives of the expedition were to confirm that the ancient Phoenician mariners were able to circumnavigate Africa in a vessel like Phoenicia, as well as educating and providing greater understanding amongst young people from modern day Phoenicia, i.e. Syria and Lebanon, the Middle East, and the wider international community. The completion of this epic voyage has resulted in the launch of a Phoenician Foundation which will use the replica ship as a floating museum and inspiration to young people in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. The Phoenician Foundation will begin educational tours and sailing trips from Limossol, Cyprus, later in 2011. Philip BealePhilip is Managing Director of adventure company Pioneer Expeditions who organise bespoke and group travel to some of the world‟s most remote destinations ( His most recent venture, prior to the Phoenicia Ship Expedition, was the Borobudur Ship Expedition ( In 2003/4 Philip undertook a long-standing personal goal of building a replica of an ancient Indonesian ship and sailing it across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope to West Africa. This project was successfully directed and completed in March 2004. Following the successful conclusion of the expedition Philip was awarded a state medal for Services to Indonesian Culture by the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Philip has recently launched plans for a recce to Burma, which is now opening up to adventure travel. The recce in November is open to anyone with an adventurous spirit! : We are very pleased to announce that Philip has kindly agreed to be our guest speaker at the 2012 London Dinner, to be held onboard HMS Belfast. Philip says, “HMS Belfast will be a brilliant venue for the dinner. Naturally, I am delighted to be your guest speaker and bearing in mind the nature of the Phoenicia project…there will clearly be quite a maritime theme to the evening. I have put it in my diary for 10 March 2012!” Click here for more details of London Dinner 2012