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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 on May 25, 1999 1:52 AM