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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 on May 26, 1999 1:56 AM