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May 31, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #29

Day 28. Monday, 31 May 1999 0309 GMT
Wind ENE 2-3. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 12deg 10.524N
Longitude: 169deg 47.574W

The wind has dropped slightly making for hot and sweaty pedaling conditions. I dare not dip in the ocean though for fear of re-infecting myself with the pathogen that seems the most likely culprit of the boils I've been host to for 10 days now. I have to content myself with frequent spells just standing in the cockpit letting the wind cool the sweat on my skin. It helps a great deal being fitter and more acclimated to the conditions now I've been out here for nearly a month.

I'm fairly confident that the worst of the infection is over: no fresh boils have appeared for 48hrs now and many of the existing ones are starting to scab - even get itchy in some cases - a good sign I believe. Also there is a noticeable absence of putridity in the air - again suggesting the poison is finally departing.

The latest hazard to health seems to be flying fish. While sitting in the passenger seat last night making dinner, one must have flown through the open hatch above the pedal seat - vacant at the time - and landed in the folds of the towel I sit on whilst pedaling. When I came to resume my position in the pedal seat a short while later, the thing galvanized into action on contact with my bare rump, causing me the better part of a cardiac arrest (especially as I'm supposed to be the only living animal on the boat). I shot 6 inches straight vertical, cracked my head on the roof and came down equally as hard onto the poor fish.

"Unlucky Jasper" did not live to tell the tail I'm afraid. But here's a picture of him I took this morning for posterity...

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION - Today's Salty Mind Tweekers:


What happens when you sweat? What is the process when sweat cools your body? How does this process work?

Think of other animals that have similar cooling systems for their bodies - and ones that have different systems too. Compare and contrast some of the different cooling systems you come up with.


Tarawa is just one of 33 islands in the Kiribati chain, comprising a total land area of 800 sq. km (all the islands) scattered over 5 million sq. km of ocean.

1.What percentage of the ocean area mentioned is land?
2.What is the ratio of land to ocean?

(Answers posted Wednesday)

Consider where you live in the world. Discuss any similarities or differences you can think of as a class between the land to water ratio in Kiribati and the land to water area ratio where you live. What differences do you think the land to water ratio in Kiribati would make to your life-style if you lived there?

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 3:02 AM

May 30, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #28

Day 27. Sunday, 30 May 1999 0227 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 12deg 20.748N
Longitude: 169deg 22.178W

Sea state same as yesterday. Typical trade wind day out on the Pacific.

The most likely cause of my infection seems to be a pathogen in the water that somehow found its way into my body during the first couple of weeks of the voyage when I was dipping often in the ocean. On speaking to a physician last night in Colorado, USA who kindly gave up some of her Friday evening to talk with me on the Sat-phone, it seems the only antibiotic that can knock the infection out happens to be the one I have on board! Stroke of luck - or foresight on the part of my doctor for having prescribed the drug - 'Cipro' - as an all-round antibiotic good for a wide range of potential travel ailments.

Today there are no new boils and some of the older ones are even beginning to scab. Fingers crossed I am over the worst.

Best thing that happened today was finding an orange - a really juicy one too - in the back of the boat. I'm also down to my last 12 onions and 1 cabbage so looking to move on to the dehydrated veg that Colin, LA and Debbie prepared back in Kona. All still looks good by the way folks - even the broccoli looks no worse than it did a month ago. Only trouble is I've lost the master instruction list as to what anything is and how the hell to cook it...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:00 AM

May 29, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #27

Day 26. Saturday, 29 May 1999 0321 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 12deg 32.717N
Longitude: 168deg 59.254W

Sea state same as yesterday. In the mornings an occasional black cloud with accompanying squall will liven things up a bit for a while; sudden spurts of 30mph wind with ferocious sheets of driving rain that seem to come from and disappear to nowhere, departing almost as soon as arrived. Fat, lumbering cumulostratos clouds that amble heavily from east to west across a blue sky, forming suitable backdrops for a spectacular sunset most evenings characterize the afternoons. Precursor, I assume, to the thunderclouds to be expected in the ITCZ.

Should my presumed blood infection get to a dangerous level, it seems the protocol would be for me to contact the US Coast Guard in Honolulu, explain for their own assessment my health predicament and assuming it is accepted that the situation warrants an attempted rescue, wait for a ship passing within spitting distance to come and pick me up*. Being 1,000nms out from land is out of the local reach of coastal-based helicopters or CG cutters. It might take some days or even weeks before receiving medical attention, a time factor I have to include into my calculations as to what point I make the call to pull the plug. The other down side to all this is there is no guarantee of rescuing Moksha. All skippers assisting in the rescue of a stricken vessel are bound to save human life - nothing more. It would up to the individual good will of a skipper whether or not the Old Good Ship gets hauled in also. Makes for a very hard decision to abort should the time come.

The sores are no worse and I seem to be holding my own as far as fever and general energy levels. It will be another day or two before I can tell if the antibiotics are helping. At this point it is hard to make even a vague prediction as to the outcome; blood poisoning - from personal experience I had with it in Kenya 13yrs ago - is difficult to see coming and extremely fast to take a hold once it has arrived. Best for now just to plan for the worst. Reality has fewer surprises in store this way.

*Ships passing in the vicinity of a rescue situation have to by international law respond if called upon to by rescue authorities.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 2:58 AM

May 28, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #26

Day 25. Friday, 28 May 1999 0310 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 12deg 44.533N
Longitude: 168deg 31.864W

Sea state same as yesterday. The current seems to have shifted slightly so every mile earned south requiring much puffing and panting. 180 is the best I can do, the rest is up to Mother Nature to decide where we end up for the day.

I'm starting a course of antibiotics against possible septicemia (blood infection). The fact that the abscesses have been springing up randomly all over my body without a recognizable pattern combined with their foul smell gives weight to the theory that the problem involves internal goings-on as well as external. Added to which two of my middle fingers on my right hand have been becoming increasingly numb over the past week, and one effect of blood poisoning can be nerve damage according to the two doctors who have given me indirect advice via the Iridium Sat-phone since yesterday.

It may all for nothing, and indeed the sores don't seem to be getting any worse. But there's too much to lose without a definitive diagnosis at my disposal with which to make a rational decision otherwise. The sores around the compound fracture sites on both my legs for example have been some of the worst, and even the slightest chance of an infection spreading to the bone (osteomyelitis) would be disastrous. I would run the likely risk of losing one or both legs without immediate medical attention, something hard to come by 1,000 miles out from land.

I also seem to be spending a lot of time talking to myself and every night for the last week I've had the same nightmare of a giant squid attacking the boat. Perhaps this is due to delirium?

The decision to abort the voyage would be a pretty big one. I don't think we're at that stage yet. We'll see how these antibiotics do first.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION - last of the week's fun 'n games:

TO ALL CLASSES participating in activities: please let me know when you break for the summer vacation and till what date you'd still like to participate in activities? Please email April, april@fone.net Thanks - Jason


Q: Can you see the Big Dipper at night? Describe the night sky above Moksha.
A: Yes, the B.D. is very visible to the north, astern of the boat, with the outer edge opposite from the handle of the pan leading down to Polaris the North Star (I always know where the boat is heading just by glancing that this star). In fact the moon was so bright last night it was hard to make out any other stars. Another very bright object in the sky directly to the west is a satellite that is in the same position every evening, hovering about 30 degrees from the horizon. Could be a case for light pollution as on some nights it is so bright it is hard to make out any other stars in the same sky region.

Q: What sensory stimuli surround you?
A: See below.



On Moksha there is very little sense stimuli, certainly very little that changes from one day to the next. The colours I see every day are very much in the blue/grey area of the colour spectrum; very few reds or yellows (to the point that the first few days on land are almost blinding for all the colour). The sounds are mainly of the waves and the wind, and I use music during the night pedal stints to keep my spirits up. Tastes are samey too - I have to work hard on varying the spices I use in my cooking to keep food interesting! And everything I touch is hard and brittle - very few different textures. I miss for example the touch of an animal; the feel of a patting a dog's soft stomach or stroking the firm fur along a cat's back. There is nothing else living out here after all apart from wet fish and giant squids!

List the stimuli in your environment and compare them with the limited stimuli I have on Moksha.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 2:04 AM

May 27, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #25

Day 24. Thursday, 27 May 1999 0333 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 12deg 56.267N
Longitude: 167deg 59.854W

After a good mileage result yesterday - although predominantly westwards due to the high wind - I stoically reverted this morning to a 180M heading to make up the proportionate ground south. (Reaching Tarawa is still no given.) With the drop in wind strength, its back to hot and sweaty pedaling stints of one and half-hours (on average) buffered by 15-minute tea breaks.

I hope to God I have enough tea for the entire voyage. Miles made good depends upon it.

The affliction 'Creeping Grey Funk' identified in the last voyage is starting to rear its ugly head. This is a condition that only really sets in after about 3 weeks of sensory deprivation. Its like a mental fungus that creeps into ones goal orientated way of thinking, thriving on the incredibly dull existence that life in a 4x18 Ft space can become (and how much longer you have to live in it), gradually pulling you down with ruthless ease into a state of semi-hopeless despair. Steve wrote about it in one of his last entries last time. He spoke of running out of reflections on the past, conversation for the present and thoughts for the future to the point where you are left teetering on the edge of a mental void. There's just nothing left to think about.

It is true that time takes on a different value out here; three weeks seems like three months. On one level, another six weeks of this boggles my mind completely. There is a serious danger of sitting like a dummy for hours at a time staring at your pathetic progress indicated by pencil marks on a chart, trying to get your head around "just being" out here! But there's an antidote. I call it surrendering to the ocean - letting go of that 'goal orientated way of thinking' that is needed for land-lubing and re-ordering ones value system around the immediate universe on the boat. Mental energies become re-directed to what is happening right here right now - the small details that are usually overlooked as unimportant. Forgetting about the ultimate destination - in this case Tarawa - is a prerequisite also. Its all very hard to do - as any detachment process is - taking self-discipline and a concerted effort of will power to kick start into action. But it is the only way I know of dealing with this kind of isolation.

On the Atlantic crossing I adapted so fully that I found it hard to re-adapt once back on land again! But there is a balance, and right now I'm struggling to find that balance.


First off - well done to AJ on why longitude minutes can't be used to measure nautical miles - because they vary in value according to how far they are from the equator.

Also - Colin - good one on 1979 for when Tarawa became independent from Great Britain. They were formerly part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. I know that I-Tungaru was the name the people called themselves before I-Kiribati as they are called now. Not sure if it was the name of any of the islands though.


Q: What do you have in the way of materials for a cool-off apparatus?
A: Actually I'm all set for ventilation now. I used a piece of PVC plating (a collision mat) to funnel wind down the hatch above the pedal seat.

Q: Do you have any uses for rotting food or does it just go overboard?
A: If I was growing food on the boat I could create some great compost. As it is I just throw it overboard for the fishes under the boat to eat.

Q: What can you recycle/reuse?
A: Right now I'm using the tea bags for 2 dunkings. The M+M wrappers when turned inside out are good for making scribble pads to write on. This morning I rinsed out a washing up liquid bottle to employ as a honey dispenser (same consistency as W. U liquid - also has a great nozzle). The zip-lock baggies will be reused for the next voyage.

Q: Describe your play area on Moksha.
A: see below.


My whole living area is only 4x4x18feet (including sleeping). There is a small area of decking on the back and the front of the boat to sit out on sometimes and eat a meal/play guitar etc. Also there is the ocean to swim in (not able to at the moment because of salt sores). It is very important for my state of mind to be able to create VARIETY in my space. I try and separate my working space (the pedal seat) from my cooking/chore space (passenger seat) from my sleeping space (front compartment) to recreational space (decks and ocean). It makes a big difference if I can rotate as often as possible between these spaces.

1.Think of the different living spaces you use on a 24hr basis. Compare and contrast them with the spaces I have identified on Moksha.


1.Research how desalinization works.
2.What % of the earth's surface is covered by water? What percentage of this is drinkable? What percentage of this is obtainable for human usage?

Email your answers to us - answers will be posted Monday.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:59 AM

May 26, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #24

Day 23. Wednesday, 26 May 1999 0615 GMT
Wind ENE 4-5. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 13deg 10.500N
Longitude: 167deg 28.518W

Sea state - little change from yesterday. Big rollers 100yrds apart coming in from the East keep me on my toes. A couple hit the boat last night with impressive force. The one that woke me this morning flung 6 inches of water into the cockpit for me to bilge out and put the computer - that got severely thumped from the impact - out of action for most of the day until just now.

At night I keep the hatch open only a foot or so (enough for ventilation) to assist in the boat self-righting should a wave roll us over.

Salt sores seem to be still bad but no worse, indicating I hope a turn for the better. Which - if any - out of the various remedies I have been trying on different parts of my body the last few days is having any effect, I have no idea. It may only be the natural course of time - the greatest healer of all - that eventually proves effective. I have to say however that the WD 40 has done a fine job of drying the pus from under my left armpit, so I have extended the use of it to the right pit also. If any infection starts, I have some heavy-duty antibiotics left over from my infected wisdom tooth on the last voyage (there always seems to be something).


Q - How do you gauge nautical miles?
A - The GPS (Global Positioning System) I use gives degrees and minutes as a position that can then be plotted on a chart. The latitude minutes are the same as nautical miles (99% sure that's right).

Q For you: Why wouldn't longitude minutes be the same as nautical miles (except at the equator)?

Q - How do you hold your SW heading when you sleep?
A - I can't. I just have to let the boat drift west and make up the difference when I pedal.

Mitch Scott - Suzanne's class: yep - spot on with the squid Q. They have beaks to eat with. It was the thought of getting ripped apart by this great horny beak that had me sweating in the nightmare I had the other night!


I know that many of you are about to break for the summer vacations. But before you do, perhaps think about putting together some penpal letters and maybe even a photo album to exchange with some folks on Tarawa. Their next semester is starting around now so the timing will be perfect. Reply by The Registry or Email April april@fone.net on where to send them.

To give you some idea of what the people on Tarawa are like (or used to be), here's an excerpt from a book I'm reading about life on the islands in the early part of this century. It describes the true story of a man fighting a tiger shark single handed (quite a common thing for them in those days).

"The fin began to circle him and he knew he was being stalked. He held his knife right-handed, blade down, the handle just above the water, his crooked right elbow pointed always towards the gliding fin. He would have a split second to act in when the charge came. It came from 10yrds range. There was a frothing swirl; the fin shot forward like an arrow; the head and shoulders of the brute broke surface as they lunged. My friend flicked aside in the last blink of time and shot his knife into the upswinging belly as it surged by. His enemy's momentum did the rest. I saw the belly rip itself open like a zip-fastener, discharging blood and guts. The tiger disappeared for a while, to float up dead a hundred yards off".

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:56 AM

May 25, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #23

Day 22. Tuesday, 25 May 1999 0326 GMT
Wind ENE 4-5. Heading 210M.
Latitude: 13deg 35.545N
Longitude: 166deg 38.436W

Today the seas have been the heaviest since departure. Nothing that we can't handle here on the Good Ship M. but now and then a largish 25-30 footer will present itself next to the window where I sit which takes me a little by surprise. Its extra hard work on the steering as these larger than average waves are keen to keep the boat parallel to them, and in order to make 210M instead of 180M it requires keeping the rudder permanently at full extension to starboard. Tiring on the arms after a while.

About an hour ago (15:27 Western Pacific Time) four US Naval vessels came over the horizon from the south, efficiently alerted to me at first by the Pains Wessex Ocean Sentry and Survival Safety Engineering CARD system we have on board for collision avoidance. These were the first vessels I'd seen for three weeks, and fancying a bit of external sensory input, I called them up on the VHF radio. After three attempts at a radio check, a nonchalant drawl came back from the USS Boxer to inform me that my radio check was loud and clear. And that, I concluded from the disinterest in his voice, was the end of that.

Feeling a little hard done by, I never the less got back into the grind and it was five minutes later that the same voice, only at a slightly higher pitch this time, came back with the words, "Moksha, this is USS Boxer. You ain't that crazy sonova***** going around the world we read about in the paper last week are you?"

And so, after 10 minutes of chatting back and forth on topics as varied as remedies for boils to the Queen Mum, we signed off and went our separate ways; the USS Boxer to Pearl Harbor and all the wonders of the senses that it has to offer, and the Moksha and I in the opposite direction to 50 more days of hard, solitary labour and a rapidly depleting supply of rotting cabbages to look forward to tantalizing the taste buds with. But one thing is for sure. Even a little bit of outside input has done wonders to alter my mood for the day. It never fails to amaze me how effective an equalizer the expedition is amongst mortals, regardless of how big their boat is!

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: Today's Salty Twiddlers.


To recap on the Water activity that some classes did recently for Footprint Analysis. Can you draw a diagram showing how the water from the ocean around Moksha could end up as the water that comes through your faucet/tap at home?


1.Customs on Tarawa: find out three things about the custom of the people of Tarawa that I will need to be mindful of when I get there.
2.Water is a very scarce resource for the people of Tarawa. Why do you think this is and what would you do to store and conserve it if you lived there?

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:52 AM

May 24, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #22

Day 21. Monday, 24 May 1999 0337 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 14deg 00.927N
Longitude: 166deg 06.717W

Progress - no change.

My mood the last few days has been pretty foul on account of the sores. It seems like I've tried everything and they still keep coming. The most dehabilitating thing is how they've taken over my life - controlling how long I can pedal at one sitting, how I sleep, and demanding constant attention whenever I'm not at the cranks.

I've had a couple of interesting suggestions come through for possible cures, ones that at first glance I took for noble attempts to make me laugh (which they did anyway - thanks Stacia and the 'reliable source'!) but to be honest I'm at the stage where I'll try anything. So, in the interests of modern scientific inquiry I've divided up the total acreage of sores that I am currently the proud owner of into 4 working sections, with the intention of applying a different method to each one and seeing which works. For the right armpit I have pulverized cabbage mixed with hot water. For the right bum-cheek I have Calamine lotion. For the left armpit we have WD-40 and finally for the left bum-cheek I was considering a smattering of Glenlivet Scotch Whiskey until I realized I needed a 'control' in order to have some comparison to make use of the results from the other 3. And in any case, a few measly boils are a small price to pay for saving a mouthful of the ole' amber nectar!

So, there we have it me hearties! Bets are on which one will do the business (if any). My money goes on the WD-40 myself. It did a cracking job of removing some old paint inside Moksha that even #15 gauge sandpaper couldn't get off.

Self portrait by Jason taken with digital camera and sent by satellite.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: For today's salty numbers.

First off - congratulations to Ethan and Julie from Ms. Ethan's class for guessing the total # of pedal revolutions from Hawaii to Tarawa.

Second - interesting to hear that 92% of those who voted would make water with remaining power over leaving the night light on or communicating with family. Callous kids!

Also there were a couple of questions that came through which lead into the first activity for the day:

Q1. Do I have an audio alarm on Moksha to prevent collision with other vessel?
A: Yes.

Q2. Do I sleep/dream OK compared to normal.
A: Actually I sleep better on account (I think) of the rocking motion of the boat. I did have a bit of a nightmare the other night though: I dreamt a giant squid attacked the boat while I was asleep in the front compartment. I managed to get the hatch door closed before it started feeling inside with its enormous tentacles, but then to my horror the boat started sinking! I was left with no option but to open the door and take the brute on armed only with my trusty fruit knife. Luckily the dream ended around this time.



A. Discuss in class whether you think the dreams you have at night are important in any way. Also do you think there is any connection between these dreams and the 'dreams' you have for the future? Maybe find out some examples of famous people in history whose dreams have a major impact on their daily lives and the lives of others (e.g. a great invention/solution to dilemma).

B. Write a few lines on what your dreams are for the future.


Quick trivia: before 'Kiribati' as they are now known, what was the name given to the islands of which Tarawa is one? When did they people of Kiribati get their independence and from whom?


Do you know what squid (giant or otherwise) use to eat their prey?

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:47 AM

May 23, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #21

*** Exclusive! Message from Mick Bird's latest report about Jason: "THE RACE IS ON. I gave him 2 week head start and winner is first to drink cold beer." Also, I read about "diesel cans and whiskey bottles. At least it's not worn out inflatable dolls like his trail"***

Day 20. Sunday, 23 May 1999 0311 GMT
Wind ENE 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 14deg 22.417N
Longitude: 165deg 42.312W

'Make hay when the sun shines' I believe would be the expression to describe yesterday's optimum wind from the northeast that had me on the pedals until the wee hours of this morning. By daybreak however things had settled down to usual ENE 3-4. Seems like these conditions are set to continue until Tuesday at least.

Being a Saturday, my schedule changes slightly. Instead of being a 'carrot and stick' day with a fairly rigid routine, I try to keep one day of the week a 'do whatever I feel like' day to make a break in the daily grind and to have something a little out of the ordinary to look forward to for the other 6. The sad thing is, after pottering about a bit this morning washing clothes, cutting toe nails and with the intent of spending the day doing anything BUT pedaling, I found myself in the seat around midday "just for a quick half hour to stretch the legs" and haven't been off since. Like a domesticated hamster I need my wheel more than I realize. Actually this is not such a bad thing as the bottom line as with any time spent on the ocean is to get to land as quickly as possible (within reason). Every additional day out here over and above the necessary to get the job done effectively is a liability.

Salt sores worse than ever. Trying Calamine lotion to try and dry them up. Had a fresh outburst last night on the left buttock requiring me to sit pedaling on my right cheek at an awkward angle. The joys of life on the ocean wave are demanding a steep asking price at the moment!

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:44 AM

May 22, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #20

Day 19. Saturday, 22 May 1999 0244 GMT
Wind ENE-NE 3-4. Heading 180-195M.
Latitude: 14deg 44.349N
Longitude: 165deg 17.404W

Just about noon today the E.N.Easterly dropped significantly from the force 4-5 of the last two days to more around a 2-3. Fearing that a hot, airless phase was on the way (contrary to the forecast however), I started thinking of ways to keep cool without going in the water when a N.Easterly blew up about an hour ago and is continuing to do so as I write this piece. The wind from astern - even for a short while - does wonders to the psyche. Instead of the usual thoughts of grim determination and 'fighting' the ocean as the waves slam in from the east, my mind, body and soul is temporarily free to follow the path of least resistance downwind, with a cool breeze down the hatch to boot. When it's good out on the ocean, it's really good. When it's bad, it's really bad. Very little in between thank goodness.

For the last couple of mornings while eating my porridge oats standing in the cockpit, I've been spectator to another form of breakfasting that takes a little more effort than mine and does not guarantee all the participants getting fed. The players are a 30lb Dorado fish (one that's been following the boat for a while now), a sea-bird (looking a bit like a Cormorant with bright markings in the middle of each wing; a bird book along with clothes pegs were the two casualties not to make it on board this time) and a flying fish. The Dorado and the sea bird take on the roles of pursuers. The flying fish plays breakfast. Watching the two predators - one in its domain of the air, and one in its domain of the water - work together as a team to run the flying fish down makes for a quite a thrilling performance each morning. When the flying fish is in the water, the Dorado is hot on its tail. When it tries to escape by means of air-travel, the sea bird is there to give it heat. There is no way for it to escape, and inevitably one or other of the pursuers overtakes it eventually. This morning it was the sea bird that managed to whisk it from mid air with a dazzling swipe of one of its claws and carry it upwind over the boat before swallowing it whole and living right in front of my eyes! Does wonders to my appetite each morning needless to say.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:42 AM

May 21, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #19

Day 18. Friday, 21 May 1999 03:20:09 GMT
Wind ENE 4-5. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 15deg 01.746N
Longitude: 164deg 56.664W

Good mileage in the last 24hrs - or at least in the right direction i.e. south. The wind, although conspiring to chuck a load of water over the side every now and then, is however a blessed relief. Not only is there occasional cloud cover to keep things cool, but just the very fact that the ocean as far as the eye can see is a churning mass of 20ft waves barreling towards Moksha, highlighted with jostling white caps, serves to keep life breezy and interesting. Those dull, lethargic days with little or no wind and the sun beating mercilessly down from morning, noon, till night are the worst for keeping keen.

My salt sores have decided to evolve to a second, even more disgusting stage. As if one wave was not enough, a second layer is currently erupting on top of the first, making life extremely trying (one has even sprouted on the top most part of my head!). Not only does the chaffing become rather painful by the evening (even sitting here writing this update is testing), but a foul 'gangrenous' like stench wafting from collective eruptions of putrid pus have prompted me to take action. I am avoiding going in the water at all (fine as long as the cool wind keeps up) and rinsing the affected areas twice a day with a little precious drinking water. When things get really bad in the evenings I dab a little Benzocaine on the ring-leaders; Mauna Loa on the right butt-cheek, Mauna Kea on the left cheek and Mt. Vesuvius right in the middle on top me 'ed!

The sweetest thing that happened today was devouring the last orange. I was rather hoping it would turn out to be one of the dry and therefore less appetizing specimens, to lessen the pain of psychological withdrawal (it will be 50 days before I touch fruit again). It turned out of course to be the most succulent of the lot, the most delicious thing I have ever sunk my teeth into.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: Today's salty dilemmas.

1. PRIORITIZING: sometimes life presents you with difficult decisions to make. Often you have to choose between the lesser of a range of evils (as they say), and make your choice according to priority.

One decision that I sometimes have to make is how I spend my remaining power for the day. Imagine you are on Moksha having finished a hard day's pedaling. There is only enough power in the batteries to spend on one of three things until mid way through the following morning when more power is generated from the solar panels:

A. Make drinking water to rehydrate yourself.
B. Run the all-round white light throughout the night for other shipping to see you.
C. Communicate via the inmarsat with base-camp and family so they know that you are OK.

Discuss in class, which one you would choose. Take a vote - I'd be interested to know what you think!

2. Next week we'll be taking a quick look at Kiribati and specifically Tarawa atoll before you break for summer holidays. So this weekend, pull out an atlas and find out the answers to these two questions:

A. What is the latitude and longitude of Tarawa atoll in degrees and minutes?
B. What exactly is an atoll?

If you have Internet access, this site is quite useful: http://www.collectors.co.nz/kiribati

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:22 AM

May 20, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #18

Day 17. Thursday, May 20, 1999, 0310 GMT
Wind ENE Force 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 15deg 24.647N
Longitude: 164deg 33.801W

With the wind now coming in again from the east at a healthy lick, I've decided to revert to the former more aggressive heading of due south Magnetic (190 True - including 10 degrees variation). After 5hrs of pedaling on this heading this morning I found to my joy Moksha having purchased 5nms south for 6.5 west. Sounds like chicken pickings, but it perhaps signals the temporary shift of the adverse northwesterly current to a more due westerly flow, maybe even dipping southwest like it did for a few days last week. Every time the current heads northwest I feel Tarawa slipping further out of reach. Sorry to bore you with all this boaty-like talk, but to be honest it constitutes 90% of my universe right now.

On one level, trying to claw across an ocean as vast as the Pacific by human power is insane. Especially when considered all the wind sweeping over the boat that could be put to good use. But, there is confidence in numbers, and just when I started this morning to question the logic in it all, I had a message through the Iridium sat-phone saying there was another loony at large on the big blue. None other than that world rowing phenomenon, Mick Bird...

The first time Steve and I met Mick was at Pier 39 in San Francisco, the summer of '96. At the time we had just completed the US section of the expedition and were desperately trying to scrape together the means to continue onto the next stage. It was one quiet afternoon that Mick appeared. He struck me as being very animated, endowed with a bottomless pit of energy and enthusiasm, and someone with whom it is impossible to get a word in edgeways. I remember writing him off as yet another high-spirited goof-ball, intent on making a nuisance of himself on the high seas. In the 3 years since that initial encounter we have had many an occasion to nurture the firm friendship we now have. I have to confess it feels good to have the old dog out there making a fool of himself as well.

Welcome back to the big briney Mick! Steady on brother - thar she blows an' all that. Get a line ready to throw at me when I pass you south of Majuro. At least I can give you a tow to Tarawa!


Win a copy of Moksha's chart for your class!

OK, its PREDICTION time! Now Moksha is a quarter of the way, you should have enough data at your disposal to make a half-accurate prediction as to when I will arrive in Tarawa. The nearest to the HOUR (and of course date) will win a signed copy of the navigational chart I am using now - furnished with pictures from the voyage etc. Send in your predictions by this weekend via the Registry below.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:19 AM

May 19, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #17

Day 16. Wednesday, May 19, 1999, 0307 GMT
Wind ENE Force 3-4. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 15deg 38.132N
Longitude: 164deg 04.621W

The wind I was praying for yesterday finally came last night, miraculously from the NE at first, making pedaling after dinner from 7.30pm onwards a dream with the wind at our tail. By midnight it had shifted more to the east and I slumped exhausted into the rat hole with a feeling of accomplishment that a few miles had been cranked out during the course of the day. By this morning the wind had veered further still, and so today it's back to the easterly beam on sea that brings a very popular breeze down the hatch, but on the downside is very hard to purchase miles south from. Every inch has to clawed at and won by sweat alone (today made only 2 miles south in 5hrs pedaling - very depressing). I think the current has changed slightly against me too which doesn't help matters.

On a slightly different note, one that is relevant to classes doing Footprint analysis for the Classroom Expedition, I wanted to - on behalf of both Steve and I - say how proud we are for Moksha to now be a completely self-sustaining vessel as far as FUEL is concerned. Having fuel from only 'renewable' sources might not sound like a big deal, but when the ice caps melt and all land on the planet sinks beneath the ensuing flood waters, the Moksha crew will be laughing! As we had on the last crossing, solar panels (Golden Genesis) nd a wind generator (South West Windpower) generate all the power that is needed for electrical appliances, desalinating sea water for drinking (PUR Drinking Water Systems) and re-charging AA and AAA batteries via a small DC-AC inverter. We now have a cooking stove that burns denatured alcohol - derived from plants as opposed to fossil fuels. Last but not least we have the engine - a human - that burns vegetables also. The pollution produced from all the above is minimal. The only thing we might have to look at if the ice-caps melt is growing vegetables on the boat (possible in theory) and producing alcohol for cooking (also possible from something fairly gruesome-like sweat dripping off the pedal seat?).

The point of mentioning all this is not to seriously propose a preparation for a natural disaster. Rather it is an attempt to demonstrate to kids (and anyone for that matter) how in this ever increasingly dependent world we live in, it is possible to live sustainable within ones environment and to minimize the effects of ones actions upon it - for example in the form of waste and pollution. It is by developing ones level of MINDFULNESS - the theme central to the whole Classroom Expedition curriculum - that a better world can be brought about from the bottom up by individuals acting locally.


As I mentioned in the main update, all the fuel on board Moksha comes from renewable sources. Discuss in class the differences between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy/fuel, citing some examples of each.

Try and find out the origins of the fuels you use at home for your:

1. electrical appliances/lighting

As well as their origins, list beside each fuel whether it is renewable or non-renewable.

If you were able make changes to your home, or perhaps are planning a house you might one day have of your own, what renewable fuels could you use to replace those that are non-renewable?

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:17 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #16

Day 15. Tuesday, May 18, 1999, 0253 GMT
Wind ENE Force 0-1. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 15deg 46.070N
Longitude: 163deg 31.672W

Today it seems the ocean is barely alive. The waves have flattened to gentle undulations and the breath of the ocean has died to a shallow whisper. Very nice for sailing I'm sure but not so for pedal boating. Everything, including me, is sizzling. I even have to careful when getting up for a break not to touch anything metallic or dark in colour that has been in direct sunlight. I long for cloud cover and the return of the wind.

I've taken some additional steps to combat the heat; shaving my head to the scalp to maximize brain cooling, wrapping parts of my body vulnerable to the sun to afford some protection from skin-cancer; for example, the compound fracture scars on my legs where there is a lack of skin coverage. The glare thrown up from the water only adds to the intensity of the heat. It's as if the whole ocean as far as the eye can see is re-directing the sun's rays in Moksha's direction.

The stern section of the main cockpit, i.e. where the pedal seat is situated, is beginning to smell like a dog kennel owing to the sweat drenched towels and seat starting to fester and ferment. I remember the last 500 miles of the Atlantic crossing coming up through the Old Bahama Bank was a bit like this; maggots started inhabiting the pedal seat living off the sweat from our bodies. I don't think I've picked up any flies this time, although there are some interesting shaped Hawaiian beasties stowed away in the rear compartment. But with it being only 2 weeks into the voyage I'm wondering what this place is going to smell like by week 10!

Thanks to Kirsty in the UK by the way who suggested covering the salt sores with Vaseline while swimming to keep the salt off them. Great idea. However the one thing I decided to axe from the med-kit this time was - you guessed it - the Vaseline. I guess lithium grease would do the same thing right?

Today's CLASSROOM EXPEDITION Topic: Simple Machines

I'd like you to imagine are going on an expedition covering at least 1,000 miles either on land, across the ocean or through the air. Design and draw a machine that is human-powered and can carry enough supplies for the duration of your journey. Alongside the drawing of the machine, make a separate close-up drawing of its MECHANICS.

Show clearly these three things:

1.Where the power comes from. (For example on a bicycle, power comes from the feet of the person pedaling).
2.How that power is converted into the FORCE that drives the machine. (E.g. on a bike the power is converted into force by pedals, crank arms, sprockets and a chain).
3.How the FORCE makes the thing go. (E.g. on a bike the force is transferred from the chain to the back wheel that is in contact with the ground and so makes the bike move).

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:14 AM

May 17, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #15

Day 14. Monday, May 17, 1999, 0322 GMT
Wind ENE Force 2-3. Heading 190M.
Latitude: 15deg 58.522N
Longitude: 163deg 18.433W

All quiet here on the western front. Nothing new or particularly interesting to report other than the emergence of the dreaded salt sores; small boil-like abscesses in the skin caused by friction with another part of the body or boat surface. I have one on either foot, some developing under the arms and of course under the buttocks where the pedal seat chaffs. They are annoyingly painful and worth avoiding by keeping ones skin free of salt. At night before sleeping I invest a little of my precious fresh water in rinsing my skin in the most likely areas, but it's never enough. Especially considering the number of times I'm dipping into the ocean during the day to keep cool. I fear the battle of the sores has already been lost on this voyage if I am to use the ocean as much as I am to keep from over-heating.

There is something very de-humanizing about being on the ocean. Maybe its something to do with the lack of sensory stimuli*, but I believe the living conditions out here to be conducive to one gradually turning into a robot. This became apparent to me last night when, after cooking dinner (the 'Mori-Nu stir fry' was the best meal so far by the way), I decided to break with routine (it being a Saturday night and all) and strum out a few licks on the guitar. I've been listening to music on my CD player every night, but somehow, CREATING the music opened up a very different door all together.

After 2 hours of serenading the satellites, I felt as if I was on a different boat, for a while at least. It seemed like the left brain - so much a part of daily of life on the boat; keeping schedules, analyzing navigational data etc - had been temporarily overridden by the more creative left hemisphere that had been suppressed since departure. It felt wonderful for my mind to release in a different direction for a while, and I am resolved to shift gears more often over the course of the voyage to avoid such mental stagnation from developing.

*A class from the Rye Elementary in Colorado recently asked whether there is a 'lack' of noise out on the ocean; I'd say the answer is yes - its almost too quiet sometimes. I find myself suddenly blurting out key lines of memorable conversations I had years ago, laughing hysterically for a while, then falling back into a sad silence.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: Welcome back classes!

Hope you had a great weekend. A big hi to all the kids from Mary Farmers School in Benicia, CA and the kids at PSAS and Rye Elementary in CO that are doing Footprint Analysis right now. Remember to contact me out here out on the ocean if you have any questions about Footprints on Moksha!

Thanks also for your feedback on 'psycho-carrots'. The one I liked best was the ice-cone. That's more like torture though - I wonder if they have ice-cones on Tarawa?

OK. Today's activity is drawing from different perspectives. You are going to draw Moksha out on the ocean from the following perspectives:

1.Imagine you are a shark swimming deep under the sea. You look up and see Moksha far above you. Draw what you see.
2.Imagine you are a bird high in the sky. You look down and see Moksha far below you. Draw what you see.
3.Imagine you are a flying fish. You're gliding down wind escaping from a Mahi Mahi when you catch sight of Moksha and you realize you are on collision course! Draw what you see.

Make special attention to detail when drawing the boat Moksha, trying to get the dimensions, shape and size as accurate as you can.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:11 AM

May 16, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #14

Day 13. Sunday, May 16, 1999, 0251 GMT
Wind ENE-NE Force 2-3. Heading 220M.
Latitude: 16deg 04.945N
Longitude: 163deg 02.043W

I was planning to take the morning off - one of the more persuasive psycho-carrots I've had dangling before my eyes the last week or so. But the wind shifting to near NE was an opportunity too good to miss. So, I ended up in the office today after all! It's been a day reminiscent of the leg from San Francisco; a typical bright and breezy trade-wind day with the wind at the stern and Moksha being gently eased along at a lugubrious pace by the peristaltic rhythm of the waves. My aim once crossing the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) is for the final run into Tarawa to be like this. By then I should have earnt it.

As compensation for making it a working day, I'm looking to cook up a sumptuous feast tonight with the remaining fresh veggies that are still hanging in there with the heat*. 'Mori-Nu stir fry' is on the agenda; pressure-cooked tofu covered with blended soy sauce, honey, balsamic vinegar, fresh ginger, garlic and toasted sesame oil. Separately sauteed onions and stir-fried green pepper and cabbage all tossed together and served with wild rice. Things have improved somewhat since the Atlantic crossing when Steve and I would have been looking forward to 6yr old dried mutton granules and potato powder.

*Actually they're doing amazingly well; the broccoli was a bad idea from the start, but the peppers, cabbages and most of the onions are still OK. Only the carrots are starting to complain. The garlic and the ginger look set to outlive the Pope.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:09 AM

May 15, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #13

Day 12. Saturday, May 15, 1999, 0313 GMT
Wind ENE Force 2-3. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 16deg 26.833N
Longitude: 162deg 38.072W

Another scorcher today. The air around the pedal seat is heavy to inhale and smells sweetly of sweat like the air around me did while roller-blading through the deep south of the US three years ago. Today is worse than yesterday on account of less wind. If it wasn't for the regular coolings-off in the ocean, now becoming even more frequent, I really don't know what I'd do. It gets a little scary when you start losing control over body temperature as I found out while biking through southern Mexico the year before last. But the ocean is always here if levels get out of hand.

There's always something niggling at me on this boat. And maybe that's a good thing to keep me on my toes. A few days ago it was the current taking us north, now no longer a problem. For the past two days however it's been power. The failure of some extra solar panels to arrive before departure means I'm now struggling to meet the 24hr power requirements of the essential on-board equipment. With the additional drain of an all-round white light on while I'm asleep (obviously a must now I'm alone) and a most excellent PUR Powersurvivor 40 electric desalinator (freeing an hour a day for pedaling), there is often barely enough juice to cover the writing of an update on the PC and collection of email via the Galaxy inmarsat. And this causes problems because if the battery voltage drops below 11 volts, my base-camp crew can't email me, and the machine won't send out the automatic latitude and longitude positions it's supposed to on a regular basis - the only way people and my family know I'm OK. And it that happens, worry on their part sets in etc etc. All this from a few panels not showing up in time!

One alternative is strict power management. Today for example the water-maker got the chop, and I pumped my day's water manually. This robbed my pedaling shift of an hour, but it means I'll have enough juice for the all-round light tonight and the inmarsat in the morning, both which take priority over an hour's worth of pedaling. If the voyage takes three days extra - so be it. The price will be to arrive in one piece!

It is a sharp contrast to life in the modern home where when power is needed, a switch is flicked and power is magically provided. But out here it becomes a real headache. Good training for Y2K perhaps?

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:07 AM

May 14, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #12

Day 11. Friday, May 14, 1999, 0311 GMT
Wind ENE Force 2-3. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 16deg 43.707N
Longitude: 162deg 11.735W

Hottest day so far. Not a cloud in the sky which is good for generating power from the solar panels (which are so hot you could fry eggs on them) but not so good for the engine room, i.e. yours truly. My only saving grace as the sweat runs down my flanks in torrents is a wonderful light breeze, cooled from traveling over the relatively cold ocean, that is now being directed onto my crown by a new "bodgit and split" device rigged up this morning (thanks to all the suggestions by the way - they've all been incorporated into the design somehow!). The device is one of the PVC collision mats cut up and curved into a scoop that funnels air down the hatch.

A journalist from the newspaper 'USA Today' was supposed to call me on the satellite phone last night for my thoughts on the new millenium. After preparing some suitably esoteric lines, he/she never called. So I'm afraid you're going to get them instead seeing as I'm having a hard time thinking of material for today's update. (Actually they're relevant to today's Classroom Expedition focus on 'technology').

With the rapid advancements made in modern communications technologies (MCT's) and the potential for these technologies to connect people across borders of nationality and culture, the new millenium looks certain to be one of the most exciting times to be alive in the history of the world.

But there are two roads here, bearing in mind western man's failure to evolve morally and spiritually to compliment the advancements made with machines since the industrial revolution. And it will be up to each individual, rather that governments or corporations, that will have to decide which road we take as a species. On the one hand we have the dark road, where MCT's are used as tools to exploit, oppress and degrade the human condition for example in the form of inane video-games (as is currently by and large the case). Alternatively we have the light road, where the same technology is used to connect people, helping us to learn from each other and develop a wider form of consciousness leading us to consider ourselves and others as equal members of the same planet as well as of our own country/culture/religion etc.

In short, humanity has for the first time in it's history the unique opportunity to hold a mirror up to its face, recognizing similarities as well as differences and to work correspondingly on the same team to help one another and to protect this planet upon which future generations so depend for their own survival.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: Class discussion on 'Technology and Ethics'

Initiate a class discussion on technology; are some technologies e.g. guns inherently (naturally) bad? What makes the same technology negative or positive? Can you define positive or negative technology/use of? Think of some of the technologies that everyone in your class uses on a regular basis and debate whether they are used positively or negatively.

CLASSROOM EXPEDITION: Creative Writing Exercise

Write a paragraph on your hopes and fears for the new millenium. Please send to us to have posted on the web if you'd like!

Responses can be sent via THE REGISTRY

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:04 AM

May 13, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #11

Day 10. Thursday, May 13, 1999, 0303 GMT
Wind ESE Force 3-4. Heading 195M.
Latitude: 17deg 04.185N
Longitude: 161deg 47.336W

Seems like the wind has shifted a tad south, making pedaling at 180M a little too demanding on the knees. Already I am starting to hear a weird clicking noise first thing in the morning which at first I assumed to be the pedal system, but later discovered to be coming from my own legs! Have to 'roll with the punch' as they say, adapt to the demands of nature in order to realize the longer term goal.

My current routine that seems to be working for now:

5am - Wakey wakey. Make cup of Tetley's finest. Sponge out bottom of boat. Take GPS fix to assess drift during night.
5.30-8.30: 1st pedal shift
8.30-9.15: Brekky: usually oats, dried fruits, jam and diced apple. Check email + mark in 24hr latitude and longitude position on chart.
9.15-12.30: 2nd pedal shift, punctuated each hour with a dip in the ocean to cool the brain.
12.30-1.30pm: Lunch (leftovers from previous evening's dinner) and short power-nap. It makes an amazing difference to my motivation to pedal for the remainder of the day just by closing my eyes for even 15 minutes.
1.30-4pm: 3rd pedal shift
4-5pm: write update to send back to web site (like I'm doing now).
5-6.45: 4th pedal shift
6.45-7.30: cook and eat dinner. Tonight for example I am planning veggie stir-fry with curried rice, fried tofu marinated in soy sauce and freshly baked whole-wheat bread.
7.30-10.45: 5th pedal shift
11.00pm: Journey to the land of nod.

Of course the day doesn't always work out like this. Like yesterday for example when I struggled for 2hrs in computer hell just to send a picture back to the web site. But most days, like today, things work out just juverly!


Today I've got a couple of Math teasers for you:

1.My pedals rotate at 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) and Moksha's speed is 2 nautical miles per hour. If the distance from Hawaii to Tarawa is 2200 nauticalmiles, how many times will my pedals rotate in total?

2.Tarawa's latitude is 2 degrees N. It's longitude is 172 degrees E. My current position is 17 degrees N and 162 degrees W. How many degrees do I have to make south and west to reach Tarawa? Also what is the ratio of degrees south to degrees west for me to make it?

Please send me your answers by evening of the 17th. Responses can be sent via -


Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 1:01 AM

May 12, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #10

Day 9. Wednesday, May 12, 1999, 0302 GMT
Wind ENE Force 3-4. Heading 180M.
Latitude: 17deg 24.979N
Longitude: 161deg 17.895W

Decided to 'bite the bullet' yesterday evening and change course to almost due south to see if Tarawa is a realistic target. By 6:30 this morning having made 26 nautical miles south and 32 west during the previous 24 hours the answer to my question was undoubtedly yes - it will be physically possible to get to Tarawa. If I work on earning as many degrees south now, I should have plenty in hand in the event of the winds or currents changing on me in the final furlong. Just means slogging beam on to the waves for the next month or so.

Question: How does one keep 'slogging' for months at a time?
Answer: 'Psychological carrots'. Imagine a foot-long stick obtruding out in front of my face from some form of fastened device to my head. Now imagine a string dangling on the end of the stick in front of my eyes - on the end of which are attached various incentives to keep going. I can hang a pack of M+M's to keep me going till dinner, a dip in the ocean to cool off on the hour every hour, a morning off every 5 degrees west I get. The list is endless.

Imagine that you are about to set out on a big adventure on the ocean or somewhere very desolate. Then draw a self-portrait of yourself with the kind of head-gear I described in the update, attaching on the end of the string whatever you would use as 'psychological carrots' to keep going.

But there are psychological carrots and then there are psychological carrots. For those extra grueling goals - like making every degree south - you have to get serious. This means wheeling out the old Glenlivet scotch whiskey. Last night was such an occasion when the amber nectar was hunted down in the bowels of the boat and a couple of wee snifters afforded the parched old tongue as just reward for making 18 degrees N.

"Them's that dies are the lucky ones me hearties! Ha ha!"

4.13pm thought the pedal system was squeaking a bit louder than normal just now and about to get out the old WD40 - when the water around Moksha became a churning mass of dolphins - at least 15 of them - so psyched! I was about to dive in and come play when they left as quickly as they'd arrived. OK - I get the message guys - I haven't showered for week now and...

PS: Thanks to Hualalai's Academy's idea of an electric fan to keep cool. Unfortunately I don't have one on board! Any low-tech ideas?

Responses can be sent via THE REGISTRY

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 12:58 AM

May 11, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #9

Day 8. Tuesday, May 11, 1999, 0307 GMT
Wind ENE Force 3-4. Heading 210M.
Latitude: 17deg 57.763N
Longitude: 160deg 51.131W

Been having one of those two left footed days if you know what I mean; nothing running smoothly from the time I overslept this morning to getting my finger stuck in the scissors a minute ago, eventually managing to pull it out with an healthy yank, only to knock over cup of tea in the process. Seems like on these days you have to pay for everything twice. Damn Kharma.

With any luck a picture should have made it back along with this update of me holding the pedal unit - a bit like Brian Adams must have looked when he bought that first 6-string from the five + dime in the summer of '69. As well as showing off the flashy propeller (thanks Scott), the reason for sending this photo is to thank our MicroMarine who made this latest leg to Tarawa possible with new propulsion units. The unit I am holding is purring away like its good to go the rest the way around the world. So if you ever get a wild hair and decide to do something foolish like pedal around the world - or get fit on your local lake, check these folks out on their web site. Me and the good ship Moksha can guarantee you'll have a rockin' good ride!

Classroom Expedition: Today's teaser_

I've been thinking since Capt. Pooby kept watch over me the first night I was alone out on the ocean (see report numbers 5 and 6) about whether it was just a coincidence, or whether animals have some sort of 6th sense when other animals are in danger. An example that springs to mind is of the stories one hears of dolphins rescuing divers being attacked by sharks. Have you any personal experiences of animals coming to the assistance of humans or heard of any one else who has? Email us your story.

Responses can be sent via THE REGISTRY

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 9:47 PM

May 10, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #8

Day 7. Monday, May 10, 1999, 0247 GMT
Latitude: 18deg 11.912N
Longitude: 160deg 08.217W
Winds NE-ENE. Force 3-4. Heading 215M.

Sunday Hawaii time (Monday GMT). Wonderful day so far: after some short squally blasts earlier this morning bringing brief interludes of rain that had me out on deck washing the salt from my hide, the wind veered to the NE-directly astern-making pedaling a joy. Not only is the boat easier to move like this, but the wind funnels down the hatch cooling the top of my head-something that rarely happens normally due to the confines of the cockpit that was designed with self-righting and protection from the elements in mind rather than ventilation. Apart from today it's been extremely hot during the middle of the day. I can do about 1-1.5hrs before my brain begins to overheat and I need to dive in the ocean to cool down. I can see its going to be a problem from here on to Australia.

Classroom Dilemma: Maybe your class can help me overcome this ventilation problem. Kids-what would you do in my position?

1. Cut a hole in the side of Moksha to let some air in. If so, what shape would the holes be and how big? Bear in mind that cutting holes might mean weakening the cockpit - essential for Moksha to self-right if she gets flipped over.

2. Don't cut any holes at all. Just grin and bear the heat.

3. Make some sort of simple external ventilation system that won't weaken the boat but will at least get air onto my melon.

If you choose #1 or 3, maybe you could draw up a design and send it asap to:
April, GLE
PO Box 788
Rye, CO - 81069

She can then forward the ideas for me to maybe use!
Text answers can be sent via THE REGISTRY

I wanted to take this opportunity before getting any farther into the voyage to thank the people of Kona and the big island in general for making the expedition's time on Hawaii so enjoyable - and successful as far as the schools visited etc. There are many to mention - and I believe you all know who you are - but I'd like to pay special thanks to the Thrasher clan who took the expedition (pedal boat and all) under their wing for the 6 weeks leading up to last Monday's departure. Not only was it one of the best base-camps we've ever had (rodents an' all), but I know at least from my point of view how privileged I felt to be considered apart of the family for the time I was there. Being on the road for 5 years doesn't lend itself to developing close community - one of the reasons I believe Stevie is moving on to pastures new. Home for me these days is more a state of mind directly related to the people I am with rather than a geographical location on the planet. However for the few weeks spent on Royal Poinciana Drive, I knew what it was to be part of a 'normal' home again. My Ma back home would thank you for that I know - Mahalo to you crazy's - LA, Lois, Zak, Jake, Wags the dog and mad Spirit the cat.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 9:36 PM

May 9, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #7

Day 6. Sunday, May 9, 1999, 0316 GMT
Latitude: 18deg 21.734N
Longitude: 159deg 24.385W
Wind ESE, force 3-4 gusting 5, Heading 215M

Moksha and I slowly clawing our way south, inch by inch. Since 8.30am we've made 6 nautical miles south and 14 west. That's nearly 2 to 1, which is the optimum ratio I'm aiming for to reach Tarawa. Once I get to 9 degrees north of the equator we'll have some temporary assistance for 5 or so degrees latitude from the equatorial counter current running back east. This will give me a chance to make up some additional miles south before lining up for the final approach for Tarawa.

Now that I'm on my own I seem to have even less time than ever before to do anything besides pedaling, sleeping and eating. Admittedly the PUR electric water-maker helps enormously to free up an hour a day that can be invested into pedaling or sleeping (or a bit of both). But during the waking hours my attention rarely strays from the cranks. The bottom line is if the cranks don't turn, the boat don't move - unlike sailing or motoring. Worse still, in this ocean region with the currents as they are, if the cranks don't move, the boat actually goes in the wrong direction! Human power-sometimes I think it's madness.

We're currently following in the wake of Mick Bird (you know, the other guy going around the world - who thought of a name for his boat while brushing his teeth one morning) who passed through this part of the world last year en route for the island of Majuro (you can tell when Mick's been around because of all the empty diesel cans and whisky bottles bobbing about). How are you doing brother? When are you out on the briney again? Good luck for the next bit-drop us a line here on the good ship Moksha when you're out thrashing about again. You'd better start praying for a northwesterly for me brother else I'm gonna have to come and kick your b**t off that island! Can't imagine there'd be room enough for two world-class egos on the same lump of rock.

CD: Help me make the best decision for Moksha's heading:

#1. Study the winds and currents for the ocean region Moksha is in and decide which heading I should pedal at to avoid taken too far north by the current:

A: 180 degrees?
B: 225 degrees?
C: 270 degrees?

#2. Would it be better to put out the sea anchor tonight while I am asleep or just drift with the easterly wind to avoid getting taken north by the current?

Please give reasons to both answers.
Answers can be sent via THE REGISTRY

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 9:32 PM

May 8, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #6

Day 5. Saturday, May 8, 1999, 0258 GMT
Latitude: 18deg 26.747N
Longitude: 158deg 50.642W
Wind-E, Frce3-4.
Current heading: 215 Mag.

Gorgeous day out here in the trades. The water under Moksha is now clear, clear blue. Good enough to drink.

All would be perfect if it wasn’t for the current still driving me north. According to the GPS my COG (course over ground) while drifting is about 315 degrees @ 0.8knts. All day I’ve been battling to keep my southing. I’ve managed to claw back 3.5 miles since 8.30am (7.5hrs) with an aggressive 215 mag. heading. My aim is to keep below 19 degrees. The price for this though is a poor performance westward. If I knew that the current would shift more in my favour the further west I get perhaps I could afford to lose some southing just to keep moving - then make up the difference later. But the pilot charts don’t look too promising in this respect. It’d be a sinch to get to Japan from here!

My first few days alone on Moksha have been a delight. It’s a bit like having free run of the house when your folks leave for the weekend. You’re free to turn up the stereo full blast, tear off all your clothes and act like an idiot ALL THE TIME!!! It’s bloody great.


Posted at 9:07 PM

May 7, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #5

Day 4. Friday, May 7, 1999, 1948 GMT
Latitude: 18deg 30.539N
Longitude: 158deg 40.278W
Wind E force 3-4 knots.

I knew from the start that making miles west would be the easy part for this next stretch to Tarawa. The easterly trades are extremely predictable this time of year. It would be making sufficient degrees south to hit the tiny coral atoll that would be the tricky bit.

After the first few days since departing Kona I thought my initial concerns to be unfounded; Moksha was cutting a near perfect course both south and west. The voyage was off to a really great start – unlike Mick’s departure from Kona last year that had him battling from the get-go to claw south of the island. At midday today however when I checked the GPS for a mid-24hr reading, I realized the ocean currents had changed much as they were predicted to do so by the pilot charts. Even at 210 degrees Moksha was losing to the north. I tried her at 180, but she was still losing ground. My game plan right now is to keep moving at 225 until I reach far enough west for the current to change in my favour.

**CLASSROOM DILEMMA: click here to help me decide Moksha’s best heading.

“Capt. Pooby”, my feathered friend that spent last night on the rear deck was gone by this morning. His only price for standing guard over me during my first lonely night alone at sea – a large pile of droppings on the main solar panel. Now I know why they call it the ‘Poop’ deck!”

**Tim-Link to Classroom Expedition
**CD: Help me make the best decision for Moksha’s heading:
#1. Study the winds and currents for the ocean region Moksha is in and decide which heading I should pedal at to avoid taken too far north by the current:
A: 180 degrees?
B: 225 degrees?
C: 270 degrees?

#2. Would it be better to put out the sea anchor tonight while I am asleep or just drift with the easterly wind to avoid getting taken north by the current?

Please give reasons to both answers.

Posted at 9:03 PM

May 6, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #4

Day 3. Thursday, May 6, 1999, 0625 GMT
Latitude: 18deg 14.978 minutes North
Longitude: 157deg 40.095 minutes West

An hour ago Moksha's Inmarsat C was switched back on after a frustrating 3 days doing battle with the powers that be at our service provider. It took my brilliant father back in the UK calling every hour on the hour throughout all of last night to finally get our service unbarred. Technology -great when it works. My apologies for the delay in getting updates back.

Moksha in open waters

So it's great to back on the ocean -its the end of the third day out here and I've just bid farewell to the "Goodewind" and her crew who came out to see me away from the island and pick up Kenny Brown who has been on boat doing some filming. It was one of the strangest feelings seeing my support craft disappear from view back east.

Turning westward towards my goal - Tarawa,a tiny island atoll 2200 miles away - I was hit with a sudden overwhelming feeling of being alone-like I've never felt in my life before. Not lonely (yet), so much as a sense of extreme vulnerability in the face of such vastness. One more human soul struggling for survival on this lonely planet we call home.

I'm really tired, so forgive me if this first update is brief. But I wanted to share with you something very strange yet wonderful that just happened: after the "Goodewind" disappeared from view and my wheels started spinning on being alone out here, a lone brown gull circled the boat twice before landing on the rear deck. I have to impress upon you the fact that no bird has ever landed on Moksha before. It is still there as I write this -and indeed seems set to stay, at least for my first night alone on the ocean. Whether or not this animal can sense my concern is something I will never know. But to have another living being on the same boat for some reason really, really helps right now.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 9:00 PM

May 5, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #4

Day 2. Wednesday, May 5, 1999, 1723 GMT
100 miles from Kona...
Latitude: 18deg 17.8 minutes North
Longitude: 157deg 8.5 minutes West

We are still having problems with the Inmarsat C connection on the shore side... But all is well and Moksha is making excellent progress. We hope that the communications problem will be resolved tonight and detailed reports will be forthcoming...

In the meantime, Jason has asked us to present a link to Expedition 360's new Global Learning Exchange for viewers to browse through and hopefully develop an understanding as to the underlying motivation of Jason and Steve's global expedition.

Thank you,
The GOALS Team

Posted at 8:56 PM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update from Kenny

by Kenny Brown - expedition photographer

Kenny in water (photo)

My first sign that I was back in the throws of Expedition 360 was the sight of Steve pushing a broken down, borrowed car into Kona airport 40 minutes late. I’ve been taking photographs and filming the expedition since we left London almost 5 years ago, traveling with Steve and Jason down to Portugal then catching up with them every 6 months or so wherever they may be. For the last 3 months I’ve been shooting news stories in Kosovo and Macedonia, so Hawaii was both a welcome break and a return to the fold.

The run-up to any departure is a frantic affair of boat packing, wrestling with computer software, a thousand phone calls and endless runs to hardware stores for ‘screws about this long and something waterproof to stick this back together’. Hawaii was no exception. The extended pedal family was in full effect, working and playing together to get Moksha in the water as close to the proposed departure time as could be mustered.

This departure was a very different one though. Steve - Jason’s expedition partner for 7 years wasn’t going to sea this time. He’s off to New Zealand to start a new venture, setting up a centre for sustainable living; continuing the philosophy of the expedition, but eschewing travel in favour of building a place for others to come to. The other difference was that I would be clambering aboard Moksha for the first three days on the ocean, helping Jason get out of the danger of being pushed back to Hawaii as he slept.

Monday morning found us at the dockside in Kona, only a few hours late ñ a new Expedition 360 record. The frantic boat packing filtered into frantic dockside goodbyes and finally Moksha and Jason parted from land.

Bow wave (photo)

I joined them a few miles out, leaping over from an escort boat to join Jason, tired and exhausted and Moksha stuffed to the gunwales with late additions of fresh fruit and vegetables. My first pedaling shift on this mobile market stall was an enlightenment, not of the religious or clarity of vision sort more of the 'what a ridiculous way to cross an ocean' sort. Moksha is 26 feet long and travels about 2.5 miles an hour. The Pacific Ocean is over 8,000 miles wide.

This aside, Moksha is ideally suited for such a venture. Designed in true British utilitarian fashion, there isn’t an extra inch on board or any apportionment for comfort. But put her in the water fully laden and point her at the next dot of land, chances are she will get you there. Pedaling is fairly easy and the way she cuts through the water and rides the waves is ethereal.

Jason was knackered, months of preparation, little sleep and the stress of leaving meant getting aboard Moksha the closest thing he was going to get to a break. Muttering something about 240 degrees he crawled into the rat hole (sleeping compartment) and fell into something near unconsciousness. After an hour my knees were aching, after 2 hours my back hurt, after 3 hours I had figured out how to keep Moksha's compass pointing at 240 degrees and after 4 I was seriously considering going all the way to Tarawa. But, pedaling is the highlight of the Moksha experience.

Jason and pedal unit (photo)

When Jason awoke and took over on the pedals I optimistically offered to cook dinner, but my love affair with life on the boat was short lived. Trying to prepare food on board is akin to cooking on a roller coaster, it’s a disaster area of spilled food, burnt fingers and salt water with everything. It’s an impossible task. Looking down in the dark, slicing your fingers off in an attempt to cut onions, getting slammed from side to side, oh, oh seasickness. Jason won his $10 bet on who would throw up first. This isn’t your average, Friday night, 17 pints of lager and a vindaloo type of vomiting. This feels like your body expelling some of its major organs in an attempt to rid the devil himself from your insides. Oh God, this must be the enlightenment Jason and Steve talk about on ocean journeys.

Into the rat hole. Sleep comes easy and deep. The rocking of the waves and the confines of the sleeping compartment, cosset you into a slumber of the highest quality mending ills and restoring some sort of life to my bones. All too soon Jason was beckoning me back to the pedals. We did that tango dance of swapping the rat-hole for a sweaty pedal seat - 2 groggy eyed individuals crossing paths in the fuzzy light of the hatchway, muttering nonsense at the ocean and each other.

With Jason ensconced in sleep I strapped on the Walkman, blasted up the volume and got to work. Back on the pedals my mood rose again. Night pedaling is the fantastic. Loud music and an ocean thrashing away below you, the hours slip by, you don’t feel your legs and the banality of crossing an ocean at this snails pace seems like a treat. When Jason is on his own, these midnight hours will be more perilous. His biggest fear is waking up with the throb of engines in his ears and Moksha rising on the bow wave of some huge tanker. But for now Steve hadn’t quite left the expedition. He was on a nearby yacht, the Goodewind, keeping an eye on our progress and a radar screen, on the look out for any shipping ploughing towards us en route to Hawaii.

Jason on Guitar (photo)

The stars slowly gave way to another piercing day of sunshine. We let the pedals relax, had some porridge and dived in for a swim. There is something deeply disconcerting about diving off a perfectly good boat into an ocean when you’re 50 miles from land. But it’s worth it. Your own ocean sized swimming pool on your doorstep, perfect temperature with a cracking wave machine built in. I experimented with taking a few photos with the waterproof camera and convinced myself I could manage with my own (distinctly un-waterproof) gear. On the next day’s swimming session I found myself 50 yards away from the boat trying to stay afloat with a Therma-rest strapped around my stomach, keep my camera dry and attempting to compose a decent shot, whilst wondering if Jason would come back and get me.

Moksha on ocean (photo)

Back on board we resumed the pedal, sleep, and eat routine with me running around filming Jason doing his thing on the boat. The excuse of 'I'd better film you cooking for the documentary you know' worked a treat and we had a decent meal without me blowing any chunks or filling the pans with errant seawater. It seems that the body can get used to almost anything, Jason looked perfectly happy messing around in the confines of the boat, looking forward to having her to himself and having some time on his hands - lots of time.

Jason cooking (photo)

Getting off Moksha was less elegant than my arrival. It involved me splashing around 120 miles out on the Pacific with the Therma-rest mattress bungeed to my chest, pushing all the equipment I own in the world along on a boogie board. I splashed over to Steve on the escort yacht for my easy ride back to Terra Firma.

Jason and Moksha eventually disappeared over the horizon. I’ve seen Jason and Steve off many times, but there was Steve beside me on the Goodewind staring into the hole they had left on the horizon. I asked him if he was sad to see Moksha go and if there was any pang of jealousy to be on her. ‘No, not jealously. Just the sadness of saying goodbye. Not to Moksha, she’s just a boat - but to Jason, a friend’.

Jason with prop unit (photo)

Steve’s borrowed car got us where we were going, and the pedal boat will get Jason where he’s going. Of all the things I’m taking away from my time on Moksha, it is the enormity of the task and of what has been achieved so far that will stick with me. Like owners starting to look like their pets, the expedition has gathered an unstoppable momentum of people and places around this tiny boat.

Kenny Brown
May 1999

Posted at 2:05 PM

May 4, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #3

Day 1. Tuesday, May 4, 1999, 2023 GMT
40 miles from Kona...
Latitude: 19deg 5.5 minutes North
Longitude: 156deg 27.7 minutes West

Jason has made good progress against the winds and currents and has powered Moksha 35 miles to the south west in the last 24 hours.

Some how one of the communications companies involved in relaying the Inmarsat C messages between Moksha and we terrestrials has messed up the accounts and is working to straighten it out. In the mean time, Jason has relayed his position by voice and reports that all is well.

We hope that the communications snafu will be resolved by tomorrow and he can file a proper report.

Thank you,
The GOALS Team

Posted at 8:55 PM

May 3, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #2

Monday, May 3rd, 1999, 2035GMT
Kona, Hawaii
Latitude: 19deg 38 minutes North
Longitude: 159deg 59 minutes West

Moksha leaving port

Jason and Moksha have departed Kona, Hawaii. Next stop, Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, 2,400 miles to the south west across the mid Pacific Ocean. Jason's first hurdle is to break free of the wind and current eddies that swirl about the Big Island of Hawaii.

Thank you,
The GOALS Team

Posted at 8:54 PM