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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 on May 20, 1999 1:19 AM