I had a similar situation getting my bike from Sydney to London last year. Plane was too expensive, and it was looking like sea would be the same. I looked at taking it to Europe, but the cost to London was half as much - only 6 weeks and $684Aus, including insurance. Perhaps you could look at riding it somewhere and catching the return leg of a journey with a ship that came from Aus. I haven't got the telephone number with me, but I used Worldwide Shipping in Sydney - if you can find the appropriate number, ask for Arthur, as he was very helpful, giving me tips to lower my costs. With abit of luck he can point you in the right direction, as 1500 US dollars sounds way too high to me!!
Good Luck - may the force be with you!