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July 26, 1999

Tarawa Basecamp. Update #2

Tarawa update 2.
Monday 26th July 25, 1999

This afternoon we finally pulled Moksha out of Betio marina with the assistance of a trailer lent by Louie - an Australian who runs the local hardware store - and some of his helpers. Usually the transfer of boat from ocean to land or visa versa is a fairly nerve wracking affair, especially when using foreign trailers and people unfamiliar with how deceptively heavy Moksha is out of the water. But today's operation went smoother than any other I can remember. The key to success was human power: 40 or so young Kiribati men from the local college kindly stayed behind after class to man-handle Moksha from the trailer into the college's timber storage shed which will be her home for the next 5 months while we wait out the Typhoon season. I was amazed at the efficiency with which these people quickly organized themselves into a cohesive unit and proceeded with the minimum of fuss to slide Moksha off the back of the trailer onto level ground. The ease and lightheartedness with which this task was completed (jokes being cracked at frequent intervals throughout) left me with the impression that pulling pedal boats off trailers into confined spaces was something these folks did on a regular basis. The concept of 'many hands make for light work' is quite foreign to the likes of myself. Coming from a fully mechanized society I am used to either a machine such as a crane being used to accomplish such a task, or resorting to hustle days in advance to collar a handful of people for 1/2 an hour their precious time. It was actually quite wonderful to see human beings cooperating so willingly, throwing themselves into the job with so much zest and enthusiasm.

The only traumatic part of the operation was the end of the line for Moksha's remaining ecosystem. The two Dorado fish had kept with the boat until the last day of the voyage when we neared the mouth of the lagoon and the water became shallower. I was sorry to see them go. The barnacles on the other hand have been flourishing in the grimy water of the marina. Also, as we were hauling Moksha up the ramp out of the water today, the black suckerfish that had often latched onto me after barnacle cleaning sessions out on the ocean made a last ditch attempt to stay with its beloved boat. First it stuck itself to Louie's leg as he guided Moksha the last few yards out of the water, then mine. Detaching it from my skin and returning it to the water for the last time I felt sad for this tiny creature that had traveled underneath the boat for many hundreds of miles across the Pacific, now only to be left stranded alone in the murky waters of a foreign marina with no more familiar underside of Moksha as home.

Sentiments aside, it feels good to have Moksha on dry land. She's in a right state though - a real mess inside and out. So the next few weeks will be kept busy with cleaning her out, oiling tools, testing gear that might need to be returned to the US for repair or replacement, repairing minor structural damage from the crossing and sanding down the hull for a badly needed paint job. Anyone needing a vacation in the middle of nowhere next spring is welcome to come out here and get their hands dirty!

Apart from installing Moksha in her new home, the last week and half since making landfall has been quietly picking up momentum. The first few days were spent just drifting around in a bubble like one normally does after a long voyage. It's as if there's a pane of glass between you and the rest of the outside world. You're able to experience external reality but without really being a part of it - like in a dream world.

But I'm quite surprised at how quickly I've re-adjusted this time. There's been no weeklong decompression in a hotel room like after the Atlantic crossing. Perhaps the more voyages I do the easier it gets. Or maybe having stayed in contact with people more during the voyage via email and satellite phone has helped to keep my mind from withdrawing from 'land mode' completely. I don't know.

As well as visiting a few schools, April, Maurice and I have taken the time to indulge in some non-expedition activities. A local tour of the three day battle of Tarawa - November 20th to 22nd 1943 in which 1,113 American Marines of the 2nd Marine Division and 30 US Naval seamen were killed recapturing the island of Betio from Japanese forces - gave us a sobering insight into the more recent history of the atoll. The land rights of Betio have been a bone of contention between the people of Tarawa ever since their ancestors arrived by canoe many centuries before. But whilst the local people valued the land for the production of food for their families, Japanese and American forces fought each other for the strategic position Betio represented in the central Pacific theatre of the second world war.

Recapturing the airstrip was one of the key objectives of US Marines that stormed the island following the naval bombardment of Japanese troop and equipment placements by US naval vessels positioned 12 miles off shore to the south of the island.

Shortly before dawn on the 20th, several waves of American troops loaded into landing craft and waited for the green light to be given. This didn't come until 9am for the first wave, by which time the lagoon tide was turning from high to low and many of the men had involuntarily disposed of their steak and egg breakfast thanks to the heavy swell. The ensuing assault upon the north facing beaches of Betio Island was unsuccessful in securing a foothold. During this first wave, many of the landing craft became hung up on the reef leaving the attacking force no option but to wade in neck high across a mile or so of open water under heavy machine gun fire. Many of the casualties occurred during this first assault. In the afternoon of the first day, successive waves of US Marines that had been waiting in landing craft since dawn managed to make landings on the beaches further to the east. It took two more days for US Marines to flush out the Japanese soldiers that had installed themselves in bunkers as deep as 20ft under the ground. By the end of the operation which saw US forces retake the island, only 17 of the approximately 3,500 strong defending Japanese force were left alive. The rest were either killed or committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner.

Remains of Japan Zero on the reef

The reef is covered in bullets that can be found at low tide

Japanese and American helmets and canteens recovered from the reef

Inside the Japanese command bunker with hole blown through wall by 12 inch shell from US naval bombardment

This last weekend April and I walked up lagoon to explore north Tarawa, which is less developed than the south. Correspondingly fewer people live there and their ways and customs are more traditional also. Starting out early on Saturday morning to make use of the low tide which made wading the channels between the small islands easier, we hiked for four hours before being picked up by a motorcycle that had been sent to ferry us up to the island of Naa on the northern tip of the atoll. There we took up residence in a small guesthouse constructed almost entirely from local palm trees and perched on stilts a little ways out into the lagoon. For the remainder of the weekend we indulged in doing absolutely nothing. It's the first time for ages that I have been divorced from a phone or a computer for more than five minutes - something that rarely happens on the expedition these days. The next few weeks are fully booked with appointments with local schools so this was perhaps one of the last chances to wallow in absolute apathy before leaving the island.


Monsoonal rain runs in rivers off the tin roof outside the window as I write this 'farewell to Tarawa.' Soon the sky will clear, giving way to another Pacific sunset. This island has cast a spell over me, and I feel my patterned 'normal' existence in Colorado may be the only way to bring about a harsh reality check.

But this place and its people have made a lasting impression. It's been an adventure to explore these small land groups which make up Tarawa. Such differences and attitudes in the people and communities scattered throughout this tiny region, but unified in the fact that they have been the most accommodating group of people I've ever met. And all, through the Tarawa grapevine have been anxious to learn of the man who arrived in a boat pedaled across their vast ocean!

The urban sprawl of Betio and surrounding towns to the south, disappears as one travels into the far reaches of north Tarawa. Channels of clear ocean water traverse the land from ocean side to lagoon. These cover the middle third of the island, making travel by a land vehicle impossible until reaching the north region. One can travel by boat, but we elected to hike, exploring the coral beds exposed by low tide. We made channel crossings in waist deep water, backpacks slung over our heads. The I Kiribati fishermen, paralleling our hike a few hundred yards off, watched us in amazement. I would guess we became the topic of dinner conversation, as their crossing of the same channels were made through water only ankle deep!

Our destination was north of Bauriki at the far end of the island. Mike Strub operates a small resort, complete with snorkeling, fishing and gourmet food! What a 'find' this was and Buariki Guest House gives a visual glimpse of a truly exotic location. Definitely a 'must see' when you visit Tarawa!

School visits began last week, making initial contacts to set up our expedition cultural exchange programs. This morning we visited with 5th and 6th graders at Dai Nippon Elementary. Beginning with two students, we showed the pair how to make paper. These kids then became the instructors, demonstrating the process to the next pair of students. This pattern continued, allowing students to facilitate their learning process. The objective is to create global links with kids in other countries, writing letters on paper they've had a hand in making! Older students will also have the chance to participate in "Step Into My World", the video and photo exchange programs when Jason visits high schools next week. These programs promote a cultural exchange of sharing through the eye of a camera.

So I say goodbye to Tarawa, but not quite ready to leave... I will be extremely excited to share this corner of the world with my students at the start of the new school year... In addition, there is much to be done to connect the children here with the rest of the world!


Posted at 6:11 AM

July 19, 1999

Tarawa Basecamp. Update #1

19 Jul 1999
Tarawa atoll, Kiribati
Latitude: 01deg 21N
Longitude: 172deg 56E

As Jason rounded the westerly point of Tarawa we were able to talk briefly by VHF radio and established a rendezvous point at the outer marker buoy into Betio Harbor.

April, who bicycled with Jason through the Western U.S, had just arrived by plane and we were both were a bit worried about tides and currents and the fact that Jason had had little to drink for the previous 42 hours due to the broken water makers. We were glad that we had the Tarawa, a 40 foot local fishing boat ready to help guide him into safe harbor.

But as is the case here things seldom move on schedule, so our anxieties mounted a bit more when the crew showed up a half-hour behind the appointed meeting time. Our anxietiesgrew even more as we discovered the VHF radio on board wasn't working properly.

But we were able to relay a radio message to Moksha and soon we were motoring across the lagoon. In very little time we saw Jason, quite safe and sound bobbing gently just outside the channel. Needless to say we felt a great sense of joy and relief in equal measure.

We tossed Jason a liter of cold water and in a couple of hours Moksha was tied up in the inner harbor. In addition to a crowd of curious locals Moksha was met by a contingent from the Kiribati Customs and Immigrations Departments who were a tad bewildered as to what to make of this strange vessel. But most of Jason's documents seems to be in order and soon we were able to pass Jason some cold coconut milk for a proper welcome to his temporary Island home.

Support Team

Staring across an azure blue reef, I feel quite settled in this place. That's what a week in paradise will do, I suppose. I must admit, arranging travel for this South Pacific adventure to a remote location was not as easy as it might seem. No vacation package deals here! And, never having ventured beyond U.S. shores, for me to be writing this update in a setting taken from Tales of the South Pacific is nearly beyond my wildest expectations.

But the magic, the spirit of this place lies, not in the white sand beaches stretching toward aqua waters, but in its people, the I Kiribatis. As Maurice and I made final arrangements for Jason's arrival, the local people, quite curious about the Expedition, were readily available to assist. I sense it is their nature, genuinely wishing to lend a hand when needed. And, the Expedition, as is its nature, is the catalyst for developing connections wherever we go. As Moksha entered the harbor in Betio, the pier began filling with silent people, pointing, nodding their heads in amazement. As Jason emerged, the people presented him with a fresh coconut, as a symbol of welcome and quiet recognition.

With a bit of a guilty conscience, I've spent most of my time playing games with local children, learning jump rope jingles in Kiribatis, being the source of giggles as I attempt to speak their language. As we climbed around a rusting gun placement, its monstrous barrel pointing toward the lagoon, this, for me, was a haunting reminder of what took place here over 50 years ago. For these children, it is a playhouse and I was snapped back to the present as my new best friends yelled, 'Imatang! A...preel! See you tomorrow...' And, at that moment, I felt as though my neighborhood in Colorado had simply stretched its boundaries. My home, nearly half a world away, wasn't very far at all...

Support Team

Perhaps the most symbolic point of any voyage is the actual stepping off from boat to shore - the transition from one very different world into another. On the one hand of course I was so eager to make this transition. It was my 73rd day out on the water and the Terra Firma of Tarawa that had been visible from a distance for over 24hrs during the final approach was now only a few tantalizing yards away. But when it actually came to making that great step, it struck me hard how I was now parting company with the greatest friend I had for the voyage: the one that safely guided us through the dark days and nights when the ocean was storming or the current was pushing us back faster than we could pedal forward. The one who actually carried me safely from one side of the mighty central Pacific to the other: Moksha. I hadn't realised how closely I had bonded with my life support machine of wood and resin. I felt like flinging my arms around and thanking her for keeping me alive all that time.

But that might have looked a little odd to the welcoming party of local Tarawa fishermen who stared down at me from the pier. An amphitheatre of intrigued brown expressions rose up and around me as I gently brought Moksha to rest alongside the support craft. Somewhere from the midst of this bemused crowd a coconut appeared and was thrust out to me on the end of a dark, weather beaten arm. It was ice cold in my hand, thoughtfully chilled for the occasion. Having been fantasizing about water for 42 hrs by this point, I was blown away by this ultimate gift. Words are too cumbersome here - but I'm sure you can imagine how good it tasted.

It was an unusual arrival with an unusual bunch of people to welcome me. At the time I wasn't sure how to respond to the whole situation and even felt a little self-conscious as I stood there supping my coconut while the fishermen looked on in silence. But when I thought about it all later that evening, I realised how apt the whole scene was: being met by descendents of the some of the greatest navigators the world has ever known - the Polynesians - who still depend upon the ocean for their livelihood. Their expressions of sober intrigue were, as I have found out since, not an indication of disapproval or unfriendliness, rather an honest but neutral display of polite indifference until the opposite party either ventures some form of greeting or not. For the people of Tarawa who I have met since arriving - starting with the fishermen - are the most friendly, ready to smile folk I have ever encountered in any of the countries the expedition has passed through. In this regard they have far surpassed my expectations.

When Eena - the customs officer - had checked my passport and given me a moderate slap on the wrist for not having clearance papers from Hawaii (we've never been asked for such things since departing the UK 5 yrs ago), I finally got to clamber over the support craft and step onto something solid and immobile - the pier. The first step was a shaky one. Having used my legs for nothing other than pedaling for so long, I felt drunk as I lurched into my first few baby steps. My eyes were also swimming as if I'd indulged a little too much grog. Then I just stood there for a while; gently rocking back and forth in time with an ocean that still existed only in my imagination, slowly taking in my brave new world in small sips. Being reborn back into the world of humankind cannot happen just like that. It takes a little getting used to.

Now as I write it has been three days since arrival. My re-adaptation back to life on land is proving much easier than previous voyages. Why this is I do not know. Perhaps the more voyages I do, the more tolerance is built up. Whatever the case is, things could not be better here. Maurice and April did a fine job of preparing for the expedition's arrival, making many local contacts and finding us somewhere to live at least for the short term. The beach photos were taken yesterday just 20yrs from the back door of the house we are staying in. Moksha is safely roped up in the marina waiting to be hauled out of the water sometime this coming week when we locate a trailer. There is so much I'd like to share with you in the next few weeks as we begin to explore the island and its secrets. So log on in a couple of days for some written and photographic 'first impressions' of Tarawa.

From Tarawa,

Posted at 6:05 AM

July 15, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #78

Click on image to play video (high speed connection advised).

Day 73. Thursday, 15 July 1999 0328 GMT
Wind E-3. Heading - home
Latitude: 01deg 23.471N
Longitude: 172deg 55.814E
Tarawa can be seen in the background as
Jason & Moksha approach...

Well, this is nearly the end of the line folks. We're dead on target for our rendezvous point after a tough night keeping the legs moving. This is the beginning of my third day without water and food. No sleep for the last 2 nights has me pretty beat too. Stepping onto the terra firma of Tarawa - this tiny wisp of coral sand lost way out in the south Pacific that I now see just 2 miles ahead of Moksha's bow - will feel sooooo good! For the first month of the voyage when we were being swept west by the NorthEast trades, I thought we'd never make Tarawa. At best I reckoned we'd hit somewhere in the Marshall Islands 400 miles to the north of here like Mick Bird did. But here we are. I can see trees, houses and cars moving on a road in the distance. They all look so alien. I have indeed arrived on a different planet.

Time has effectively stood still for me since May 3rd when we departed Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. I hear of change "out there" in the other world - the real world - via snippets I pick up on the BBC World Service. But there's been no change on this little world on the boat. I will step out of a time warp onto a moving escalator in a few hours time. It will be overwhelming and wonderful all at once.

I mentioned in an earlier update a month or so into the voyage about becoming a ghost to the people I know on land - the more I entered into the void of deep ocean: in a sense becoming a ghost to myself - the 'normal' land self that is. I talked of surrendering to the ocean completely in order to be 'reborn' into the world of mankind. I've sometimes wondered on this trip what it is that makes folks go the sea. And the best answer I can come up with is that it's one of the best ways of fully appreciating how absolutely fabulous 'normal' life on land is. I am now at that return threshold: returning from wandering a strange nether-nether spirit world to a reality that has substance and rational meaning. The moment I step off Moksha (actually the process has started already), flesh will start to re-form on bones that have been only memories for so long. The world will seem fresh and new and exciting - xperienced as if for the first time. I will be like a newborn child discovering the delights of my brave new world through conscious adult eyes.

It leaves me now to thanks. I am not going to mention everyone by name, as there are so many of you it'd take _ an hour of satellite time to send back this update. Also I am afraid - with a brain that is nearing the end of its tether with exhaustion - to miss someone out. You all know who you are and what you have done to make this voyage possible: the Hawaii crew who took care of all our needs on the Big Island and gave us such a great send off. The support crew for the voyage who monitored our progress, supplied me with daily weather reports (essential for the last week's final approach), constructed and maintained the website, worked on the Classroom Expedition school's program and kept me sane by calling me on the sat phone and forwarding on messages of good will. Also I'd like to thank the Tarawa forward support crew - including the people of Tarawa who have already become involved in some way or another - who have worked on the island to prepare for Moksha's arrival.

I'd like to thank our equipment sponsors for this voyage, and especially our Title Sponsor MicroMarine whose pedal unit is still powering Moksha the last few miles to the finish and whose financial support made the voyage possible.

And finally there is you - the reader. Some people have asked why I use the word 'we' instead of just 'I' or 'me' when referring to life aboard in the updates. The reason is that as well as myself, the Good Ship and the fish, there have been quite a few other people pedaling this boat to Tarawa. As I have been a ghost to those on land reading the updates, so you have been a ghost help pedal me 2200 miles to where we are now. I've never felt for a minute that I was alone. The messages on the 1800#, the emails via the registry and even my knowing you are out there has kept the Good Ship moving forward. It's been a long, hard voyage. Much harder in places than I thought it was going to be (I thought we'd never get out of that ******* counter-current!). Congratulations on making it everyone. "We" made it! I reckon we've earn't ourselves a cool one tonight.

But - there's a little further to go. The support craft is heading this way to guide us though the reef as I write. So back to the grind - one more time...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 6:02 AM

July 14, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #77

Click on image to play video (high speed connection advised).

Tarawa, Kiribati

As Jason makes his final approach to the Island, attention is now focused toward the sea and determining Moksha's position upon it.

Tarawa is an atoll, this means that the Island is surrounded by a coral reef which shelters a large lagoon. The difficulty with this layout is that there are limited passages into the lagoon and onward to safe harbor.

Jason in his recent daily logs is correct when he says he has to make his approach carefully. It is quite like landing a plane on an aircraft carrier. There is a small narrow approach window. In this case, Moksha needs to circle Tarawa, which is shaped like an inverted letter L, and approach a channel heading West to East. All this while adjusting for wind, tides, and currents.

The problem, which may arise, is that the wind or currents could push Moksha faster than Jason can adjust and thus force him toward the reef. In which case he would need a tow tohelp get him back on line. This, however, is the worse case scenario and at this point Jason appears in fine shape after a dicey couple of days of "misdirected winds."

He is now headed toward a rendezvous point approximately three miles off shore. We will meet him there at daybreak Thursday (Wednesday in the US) with a local fishing boat and if all goes well he should be on shore by Noon.

Our support team of one was joined yesterday by April, from Colorado, who bicycled with Jason across the Western U.S.

We're now off to make final arrangements.

Bye for now
Maurice and April
Expedition 360 Support Team

Posted at 6:00 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #76

Click on image to play video (high speed connection advised).

Day 72. Wednesday, 14 July 1999 0359 GMT
Wind ENE-1/4, E-3. Heading 270M
Latitude: 01deg 16.244N
Longitude: 173deg 20.914E

Whether it was my praying or bellowing obscenities into the south wind will always remain a mystery to me. All I know is that at around 10pm last night, as I was starting to seriously lose faith in all things fair and just, the wind vanished for two hours and magically reappeared from the north. Before I could swallow my terrible words from a few hours past, the Good Ship and I found ourselves scudding back south toward our clearing line of latitude at a brisk 3 knots. Incredible. This voyage has had my spirits up and down like a fiddler's elbow.

We are not quite there yet though. There is one more task to complete - the most challenging one of the voyage so far - landing this bird in Betio Marina. It sounds easy enough and normally it is: on the last voyage Steve and I just had to aim for the middle of the east coast of Hawaii and park ourselves in Hilo harbour. Betio marina however - the boat landing site for Tarawa - is a rather difficult place to get to from the east. As you can see from the photo, the black cross in the right of the picture has us about 16 miles off the southeast tip of Tarawa. The brown line represents the theoretical course we have to take below the island. This passage of water is sandwiched from the south by another island - Maiana - creating a bottleneck in the current and subsequent anomalies in strength and direction. Then we have to curl north up the west side of Tarawa in order to line ourselves up with a precise heading to enter the lagoon at a precise location that is the only way to get through the treacherous reef. And just to make things a little fun, our entry into the lagoon has to be at a precise time - 12 noon tomorrow on the flood of the tide.

So, in order to rendezvous at this precise time and place tomorrow, it will take all my limited knowledge of navigation and slightly more competent feel for the ocean to pull it off. As I write this we have exactly 21 hrs to be at the mouth of the lagoon. However, speed in this case is not the key to success. We need to measure our pace instead. If we arrive too soon, there is a chance we get taken west by the trades while waiting. If we arrive too late, we miss the high tide and have to wait for the next one 12hrs later, during which we may suffer the same fate as if we arrived early. The analogy that springs to mind is trying to land a paper airplane into a waste paper basket from the other side of the room. Tricky indeed - just like in the old days before motors.

Yesterday evening, the handle of the primary water maker came away in my hand while pumping fresh water. Thanking our foresightedness for carrying extra spares (we carry three desalinators on board), I pulled out the secondary wrist pump from the liferaft bag and started to pump the evening's quota. The pump grudgingly gave up a couple of mouthfuls of glue-like tasting water then would give no more! So now I have been with out water for nearly 24hrs. I managed to catch some rain last night in a couple of the Tupperware containers. I will keep this for a real emergency. Right now I am thirsty as hell from sweating so much and not able to rehydrate. Also I daren't eat anything as digestion takes water too. But I reckon a gorilla like me can last for 4-5 days without water before things get too uncomfortable. I should at least be able to last another 25hrs to landfall. In the meantime I have for back up - as well as the cup of rainwater caught last night - half a bottle of antiseptic mouthwash and a smidgen of Glenlivet left. So there's really nothing to complain about. And in any case, it wouldn't be a proper expedition if someone didn't arrive half dead.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:57 AM

July 13, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #75

Click on image to play video

Day 71. Tuesday, 13 July 1999 0216 GMT
Wind ESE-S 3-4. Heading 180M
Latitude: 01deg 20.767N
Longitude: 173deg 48.998E

Today is turning out pear shaped. Since 5am we've been beating due south against a 0.8 knot current running north and the wind which to my amazement has been blowing a brisk 10 mph from the south for three hours now. Its just what I was hoping wouldn't happen on the final run into the island. The forecast was for an ENE-E 5mph wind yesterday and today.

This is what I was banking on to take us back south again. But there is still no sign of this wind and I'm starting to be a little concerned as to whether we will be able to make it the 6 miles back to clearing line of latitude (1 degree 15 minutes N) before hitting the east coast of Tarawa - 40 miles to the west - towards which we are slowly but steadily drifting at a rate of 1.2 knots. Pedaling into the wind is terrible for the legs, the pedal unit and the morale. But at this 11nth hour stage there no is choice. Putting out a sea anchor would mean slowly drifting backwards and eventually ending up on the reef of eastern Tarawa. At least ploughing into the waves we are just about holding our own.

When I am not pedaling - like now - we are drifting north at about 1.5knots, so this will be a brief update I'm afraid. It's all or nothing at this point. I'm damned if we come this far to either end up on a reef or have to be pulled in by a motor boat. My main source of inspiration right now is roaring obscenities into the south wind. It seems to make my legs go round a little quicker.

By the way. If you need an excuse to crack the cork on another bottle tonight, it's our 5th anniversary: 5 years to the day that Steve and I left Greenwich.

Now back to the grind...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:55 AM

July 12, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #74

Day 70. Monday, 12 July 1999 0301 GMT
Wind ESE - 3. Heading 240M
Latitude: 01deg 19.218N
Longitude: 174deg 17.500E

We are now on the final approach. The wind has dropped significantly since last night but a strong current is still whisking us west and north. It is in these last 70 miles that things become critical. Right now I am letting ourselves be drawn slightly north of the 1degree 15minute North clearing line of latitude as the forecast has an ENE-E wind coming in today and tomorrow which should push us back south. But there's been no sign of a shift in wind direction yet, so I've set 1degree 20minutes North as the maximum north we go before changing course to make south again. It's a really finicky business these last few miles.

The nausea from the last two days is finally subsiding. This is a blessing as the heat inside the boat today has been extremely oppressive from lack of wind and cloud cover. My thoughts are now on the first sight of land - probably tomorrow morning some time. It will really be a sight for sore, '70 days of staring at nothing but ocean' eyes. How Tarawa makes its first impression will be interesting. After crossing the Atlantic, the south Bahamian island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands was merely a thin ribbon of dark shade on the horizon from 10 miles away. Miami was very different: a cloud of smog and the acrid smell of fumes were first to welcome us. Hawaii was disappointing too. We were expecting to be greeted by towering volcanoes from 100 miles away. With only 10 miles to go (according to the chart) Steve and I were beginning to wonder as to the accuracy of our GPS. Then the mist suddenly cleared to reveal a very English scene: rain, lush green vegetation and a few ugly seaside hotels peering out of the gloom. Tarawa I expect will be more along the lines of Providenciales: a narrow strip of low-lying sand highlighted with palm trees. Tomorrow - I believe the last full day of the voyage - all will be revealed.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:51 AM

July 11, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #73

Day 69. Sunday, 11 July 1999 0316 GMT
Wind ESE-E - 5. Heading 270M
Latitude: 01deg 09.275N
Longitude: 174deg 58.800E

At last the wind has shifted more to the south. With only 120 or so miles to go it's now a balancing act to see if we can keep around the 1 degree 15 minutes line of latitude which is the northern most limit for our final approach around southern Tarawa to the marina at Betio. The wind continues to blow at a healthy 15-20 knots. Even without pedaling we are drifting well over a knot an hour. It's as if the ocean is finally tiring of us and assisting our exit from its domain with a little extra propulsion from behind. That's fine by me. The feeling is mutual.

The nausea from yesterday has carried over into today despite antibiotics and a good 8hrs sleep. Its not debilitating so much as an annoying sub-feeling of queasiness accompanied by a mild headache and a dull ache in my arms and legs. The best thing I can do is keep active. The moment I take a break it seems to come to the fore of my attention. Also looking at a computer screen is not good so I am hammering out this update as fast as possible.

It may be if this wind continues that we will make landfall in a couple of days. It's a strange time. On the one hand I am very much looking forward to reaching land. On the other I have been out here for so long now and adapted so fully to the life-support machine here on the boat that the idea of trading this cocooned reality for a more sophisticated one intimidates me slightly. I am like an anaesthetized laboratory animal that has acclimated to the dull but predictable routine of an artificial womb-like existence. After the Atlantic crossing I'd adapted so totally to the world of the boat that I spent nearly a week doing cold turkey in a hotel room when we reached Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I wonder how it will be this time.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:49 AM

July 10, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #72

Tarawa, Kiribati

Since landing in Kiribati I've been reading Paul Theroux's book "The Happy Isles of Oceania." It's a chronicle of his paddling through the South Pacific in a small collapsible Kayak. Definitely recommended reading for those following Expedition 360 as the expedition is headed toward some of the same destinations.

In the book Theroux talks about the ocean being much like outer space with the islands as tiny clusters of stars. When Jason arrives I'll be interested to ask if he made the same analogy while at sea.

We talked again yesterday by satellite phone and we are planning for an arrival here on Saturday, July 17th. I could sense a feeling of relief from Jason that this leg of the journey was winding down. At the same time there will be the culture shock of being around people again.

There is a good deal of curiosity about why someone would do what he is doing. Ian Garside, an Australian who is in charge of the patrol boat, RKS Teanoai, which would be sent to Jason's aid if he needed it, has been plotting Moksha's progress since it entered the territorial waters of Kiribati. "The guy must be bloody out of his mind" he observed as we were looking over the large chart laid out in his office. But I think I could also sense a feeling of admiration from one sea guy to another.

The official Kiribati Independence Celebration begins today. There was a big track meet at the stadium in the center of town with schools from many of the outer Islands competing. There seem to be a lot of people arriving on the Island and food stalls are being set up along the main street in town.

The big event I'm looking forward to is a midnight fireworks display sponsored by the Chinese government, which is beginning to establish a presence here.

There are five days of planned events, traditional canoe races and other competitions highlighted by a big music and dance competition. Traditional music is a big part of the Island culture and this event apparently is looked forward to all year.

So I'm off to do some taping.

From Tarawa
Tia bo (goodbye)
Maurice Jacobsen
Expedition 360 Support Team

Posted at 5:47 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #71

Day 68. Saturday, 10 Jul 1999 03:29:24 GMT
Wind ENE-NE 6. Heading 320M
Latitude: 01deg 01.971N
Longitude: 175deg 44.634E

Yesterday evening the wind freshened considerably to around 20-25 knots with corresponding 10-15ft swell and high cresting waves. After an uncomfortable night due in part to Moksha's violent roll as she lay beam on to the waves, we changed course this morning to compensate for being driven south. For the entire day the sea has been covered in white horses (the effect of a crest breaking down the lee side of a wave) to the horizon. Some waves are by my estimate nearing 20ft in height with visible spray leading from their white manes. Very breath-taking stuff but unfortunately not good for progress.

Matters are not helped by my having to take things a little easier today from a state of semi-permanent nausea that I've had since last night. When I woke around 3am to feeling sick I wrote it off as mild seasickness from the heightened sea state. However, the condition has continued throughout the day, at points becoming bad enough for me to retreat to the rat-hole for 30 minutes or so to lie down. The only thing I've done differently in the last 24hrs has been to go over the side for an hour yesterday to scrape some of the worst of the barnacles. There is an outside chance that I picked up something unfriendly from the water - either orally or via an opening in my skin. Whatever it is I have taken the precaution of starting a mini-course of the last of the antibiotics carefully saved for just such an occurrence as this. Even though I have only a few more days before making landfall, there is still enough time to get sufficiently sick to jeopardise the voyage being completed.

Back to the grind...
Jason Lewis, The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:46 AM

July 9, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #70

Day 67. Friday, 9 July 1999 0418 GMT
Wind ENE - 4. Heading 280M
Latitude: 01deg 01.811N
Longitude: 176deg 26.744E

For days while trapped in the counter-current I was praying for the wind to come from the ENE. Now when we need an ESE - as predicted by the pilot charts - all we seem to be getting is ENE. Aagh! It must be something to do with the changes in global climate. El Nino washed out our expedition to Peru. Maybe it has returned to haunt us in these last few weeks. If in doubt, blame El Nino.

The main contingent of 16 or so Dorado fish that escorted us over the International Date Line seems to have disappeared. However, the 2 original fish that befriended us in the ITCZ are still around: a large male - 4ft long and perhaps 35lbs, predominantly green in colour, and a smaller female - more blue with distinct white blotches along her back. They are now familiar enough for me to be able to lightly stroke their tails as they swim slowly past the cockpit. Their colours are spectacular: hues of green, blue, yellow and turquoise to name but a few, shifting and changing in the light. At night the fish have the peculiar habit of floating quite still beside the boat with their flat side facing up, as if taking the opportunity to study Moksha and her strange cargo with their one up-turned eye. When the moon is out, its light sets fire to their skin in an incandescent blaze. And then they take the form of shimmering slabs of silver set against twirling galaxies of phosphorescence and the utter blackness of the deep void.

One of the most impressive things about these creatures is their jumping skill. They seem to have 3 main maneuvers: the 'twist 'n slap', the 'lunge 'n lunch' and the good old-fashioned 'belly flop'. The 'twist 'n slap' involves the fish (I am guessing just the male) exiting only part of its body from the water which it then twists and uses to slap its tail onto the surface with a loud report - presumably to let other males in the vicinity know how big and strong it is. The 'lunge and lunch' is the most breathtaking of the three in which the fish will exit the water at full bore while in pursuit of flying fish. But my favorite has to be the 'belly flop' which sees the animal - for no other apparent reason than for its own entertainment - gaining as much 'air' as it can before landing back into the water with a resounding splash. Indeed one of my fondest freeze-frame memories of the voyage will be from a couple of days ago when a large Dorado, silhouetted against the sunset, leapt in a perfect arc over Moksha's bow.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:44 AM

July 8, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #69

Day 66. Thursday, 8 July 1999 0309 GMT
Wind E-ENE - 4. Heading 270M
Latitude: 01deg 01.507N
Longitude: 177deg 12.028E

Apart from the odd occasional rain shower that creeps up from behind and catches us unawares, the optimum conditions continue. This final approach into Tarawa is quite critical as far as keeping good alignment. The closer we get, the less opportunity there will b it is difficult to predict what the ocean and the wind will be doing on the last couple of days. Right now we are purposely too far south in order to cut below the counter-current and make optimum use of the westward current. According to the pilot charts for this ocean region at this time of year, there is a 31% chance of the wind coming from the ESE, 10% from the ENE and 53% from the E. So bearing in mind we've had a good 15knot ENE wind for 3 days now, I'm banking on the wind shifting before long to the E or the ESE which will compensate for our southerly position by pushing us back north. Then again the wind might do nothing of the sort. Then we'll have to grind our way back north by sweat alone.

At the end of the day it's all a big guessing game and hopefully Lady Luck will be on our side. I think one can tie oneself up in knots sometimes trying to rationally figure out the right move to make on nature. It is after all in essence Chaos. Perhaps at this final stage its better just to let go of the reins and allow the boat to find its own way home. Feel the way from within rather than try and nail it all down with too much dry scientific method.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:42 AM

July 7, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #68

Day 65. Wednesday 7 July 1999 0309 GMT
Wind ENE 5. Heading 260M
Latitude: 01deg 06.977N
Longitude: 177deg 55.776E

Another dream day for miles made good on the chart. The difference between the conditions as they are today and the way things were a few days ago - struggling to make 10 miles a day against an adverse current and wind - is almost beyond comparison. The idea of the ocean turning against us again is an awful thought. And yet is always possible. Nothing is guaranteed when a guest of nature's raw forces.

It is hard for myself as a human to accept this, as my innate nature is to grasp onto pleasurable things and be repelled by those that cause me discomfort, pain or suffering. Also I am a product of an environment (on land) over which humans have so much control. But as has been demonstrated over and over again on this voyage (and all the others for that matter), as soon as I make a judgement call on what is good or bad, pleasurable or not, I am automatically setting myself up for disappointment. It is the hardest thing, only 300 miles from land and all that it represents, to remain indifferent to these optimum pedaling conditions, in the same way that was so hard to remain indifferent when the conditions were less than great a week ago*. But I think it is the prudent thing to try and be at this time. For it is these last few days before making landfall, that by attaching great expectations to, can seem longer than the rest of the voyage put together should the conditions indeed change again for "the worse."

*The emotional tone of some of my past updates tells the real story more often than not!

Back to the grind...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:41 AM

July 6, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #67

Tarawa, Kiribati

Before I left San Francisco to come to Tarawa friends joked that all I would have to do before Jason arrived was sit on the beach and hang loose.

Boy did they have it wrong. It seems ever moment I've been here there has been something to do.

I spoke with Jason by Iridium satellite phone and he is in good spirits and feels fine. He has finally entered the Westerly currents and is making much better progress. The next time we talk we'll decide how far out to sea he would like to be met. Right now we're projecting an arrival in Tarawa toward the middle of July.

This morning I met with Tarataake Teannaki who heads up the Kiribati visitors bureau. He is quite excited about Jason's arrival and would like to organize a reception at the harbor. He asked if I had a banner with me. I told him I didn't and he quickly said "we have to have one." He would like to time Moksha's entry till late afternoon so that local people, when they get off work can come to the pier to join in the welcome. Hope Jason is up for all this.

So what is the Republic of Kiribati like? Here is a very quick overview. Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bas) is actually a series of 33 low lying coral atolls spread over 2500 miles running East to West. According to travel brochures it is the only country lying on both sides of the Equator.

It also has another geographic claim to fame. In 1995 the country moved the International Date Line toward the East, creating a rather large bulge, so that all the Islands in the group would be on the same day. "A perfectly reasonable decision from an administrative point of view." So says the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

This realignment now places the outer most Island, originally called Caroline Island, but now call Millennium Island as the leading contender to see the first sunrise of the 21st century. This will, no doubt, give Kiribati quite a moment of fame.

Beside the excitement of the year 2000 the Island Republic has, within the month been admitted to the United Nations. And they are celebrating their 20th anniversary as an independent nation on July 12th, just a few days away, with a big parade, speeches and much music and dance.

So lots going on. I'll be videotaping a good deal of the celebration and will send pictures to the website. There is much more to report, but I think this is enough for today. Bye for now.

Maurice Jacobsen
Expedition 360 Support Team

Posted at 5:38 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #66

Day 64. Tuesday 6 July 1999 0324 GMT
Wind ENE - 5 knots. Heading 240M
Latitude: 01deg 17.829N
Longitude: 178deg 38.614E

Today is what could be described as a 'dream day' as far as the conditions: wind directly from astern and strong enough to make a difference mileage-wise but not to the level that waves start crashing into the cockpit or towering swell threatens to broach the boat. It is I think the best day's pedal of the voyage so far. Now we are nearing the maximum southerly limit needed to clear the bottom edge of Tarawa (and hopefully also the counter-current), we can concentrate our energies on heading due west. This is the moment I've been dreaming of since the voyage began: to be able to turn Moksha's nose downwind and run with the waves.

Today has been made all the more enjoyable thanks to the hilarious antics of a bird - a white variety of one of those 'Booby' birds I believe - attempting to land on the back of the boat. It is an amusing creature just to look at: a head the size and shape of a tennis ball framing a coal-black face on which two green beady eyes sit perched either side of an enormous beak that's obviously been nicked off a penguin. In the air it looks a bit like a flying sausage. As it made repeated attempts to land on deck, I started to feel like the skipper of a toy aircraft carrier. Each time it would beat upwind until almost parallel with the stern, at which point it would stall and plop down somewhere with an ungainly thud. Most times it found itself perched on the guide wire anchoring the wind generator mast. And this is when the real fun would begin. With Moksha's rump bucking like a bronco underneath it, our unlikely rodeo novice would sway and lurch, desperately flapping its wings to keep balanced like an inebriated fairy dancing the Fandango on a tightrope. For my own amusement I logged the bouts to see how long the acrobat lasted before being ejected into the drink: the record for today - 25 seconds. After each failure the bird would stick its head under water for 5-6 seconds, as if in embarrassment, and then come around for another go. It's persistence (this went on all morning) had me wondering that perhaps it was having as much fun making a fool of itself as I was watching it.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:36 AM

July 5, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #65

Day 63. Monday 5 July 1999 0259 GMT
Wind E 3-4. Heading 230M
Latitude: 01deg 33.712N
Longitude: 179deg 19.648E

I think at last - touch wood - we are now out of the 'box' of adverse winds and currents characteristic of the ITCZ counter-current. Yesterday put us back on track for mileage. And if the wind keeps up a steady 15knots from the east for another few days we should be able to take some sizeable chunks out of the chart.

An early morning rainstorm had me barreling out of the rat-hole and laying out pots and pans on deck to collect precious drinking water. While the wind and current is with us, time spent on the pedals is crucial. Any short cuts - like catching rain to save having to spend time pumping the same water on the PUR desalinator - are welcome. I've cut my meal breaks in half and honed down all non priority activities of the day to give precedent to westward progress. The only periods that remain untouched from this economy drive are my 6.5hrs for sleep (fatigue = mistake) and writing the update which sometimes takes longer than all my meal and tea breaks put together! The reason for this I believe is that writing a daily update (like any journal writing for that matter) performs an emotional catharsis. As if in the absence of a human being here on the boat, I at least have something - a computer - to confide in.

Back to the grind...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 5:34 AM

July 4, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #64

Tarawa, Kiribati

Flying into the Island of Tarawa from Nadi, Fiji the immense size of the ocean is striking. There is nothing but a carpet of shades of blue, from the crystal purity of the sky to the aqua marine reflections of the ocean.

Then this sliver of land appears, just a pimple really, in the vastness of the Pacific. But it does exits with its own latitude and longitude co-ordinates. This is the point on our planet where Jason is headed.

I, Maurice Jacobsen, am here in a small way to help Jason into safe harbour. To help make life a bit easier for him when he walks on solid ground for the first time in 70 odd days and to document the journey, both for the Internet and the video documentary series in production.

The Air Nauru flight, a Boeing 737, touched down at the Tarawa Airport with it one room terminal only an hour late. For this part of the world it was on time. The weather was clear and a steady, relatively cool breeze greeted those of us getting off this once-a-week flight.

Most of the passengers were flying onward to Australia. Those who got off were mostly native Islanders coming back from Fiji with worldly goods in tow, boom boxes, computers and such. There were also a few Brits, New Zealanders, Aussies... businessmen, government workers or relatives of same. There were no easily recognized tourists.

David Craddock, who is from England, met me at the airport. He's been on the Island, two and a half years with his wife Anne and three young kids. He works as an administrator with the Tarawa Technical Institute, a local trade college. He found the expedition from a posting on the Internet that Jason put up before he left Hawaii. David's been a great help getting me situated at Mary's Motel, one of only four public places to stay, and generally making me feel comfortable.

My most immediate task has been to get organized logistically. Luckily Internet and cellular phone service have, within the past four months been initiated on the Island by TSKL, the local phone company. I met its CEO, Sturt Eastwood, an Aussie, last night at an informal party. He joked they had the Internet installed just for the expedition. But it's that kind of place where the head of the phone company is downing beers with the local crowd at a seaside bar in shorts and T-shirt.

Of course, my most critical task is to make sure Jason has safe passage into the Island. But people here seem more than willing to assist and there will, no doubt, be a small armada to travel out to sea and guide Moksha around the reefs into Betio Harbour. Sebert Lewis, Jason's father, who is a retired Lt. Col. In the British military, has been closely monitoring Jason's position and has faxed detailed suggestions for Moksha's course of direction. I'm now checking up-to-the-minute wind and current information and am relaying all that is know to Jason.

So for all of us the adventure continues. I'm looking forward to meeting more people on the Island and sharing the experience with all of you following Jason's progress.

Maurice Jacobsen
Expedition 360 Support Team

Posted at 5:30 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #63

Day 62. Sunday 4 July 1999 0327 GMT
Wind E-ENE - 4 knots. Heading 230M
Latitude: 01deg 44.221N
Longitude: 179deg 49.844E

Shortly after noon my time (2200 GMT), the Good Ship Moksha, myself and 16 large Dorado fish crossed the 180 longitude degree line west (or east) of the Greenwich Prime Meridian Line; otherwise known as the International Date Line (sound of corks popping, car horns blaring etc). Disappointingly there was nothing apart from the GPS readout (see photo) to indicate we had in fact passed one of the most famous lines of definition in the known universe - the division between today and tomorrow. There was no little man holding a greetings sign saying, "Welcome to Tomorrow." No customs checkpoint. Just ocean as far as the eye can see. But for Expedition 360 - the first human powered around the world expedition - it marks the halfway point of our global quest. It has taken 5 years and 18,000 miles of biking, pedal boating, rollerblading, kayaking and walking to get to this point. It is a major milestone.

One of the reasons for this is we never expected to get this far (one of our darker secrets I can now let out). Back in '92, when Steve and I were still deciding on what route to take around the world, the original plan to go eastwards was shelved due to lack of funding. The idea of running out of cash in Russia or Afghanistan was not very appealing, so we decided to head westwards instead and see what support we could pick up in the US*. I remember one conversation in which we recognized the very real possibility of grinding to a halt once we'd crossed the Atlantic and having to return home with tails between our legs. Nevertheless, with Goethe's words, "whatever you can dream, or think you can, begin it" encouraging us on, we set out in July of '94 with Moksha still 'under construction', some cash hastily borrowed from family and plenty of fresh-faced spirit to take on the world.

Seven years on, we are still without any major financial support. But due to the overwhelming response from thousands of wonderful people met along the way, we are now half way around the planet. I find that incredible in itself. Crossing the 180 line is as much a testimony to the kindness of strangers than anything. Therefore, as a tribute to all those of you who have helped keep the dream alive (and conspired unwittingly to my current predicament of being stuck out in the middle of the Pacific), I raise the bottle of Glenlivet and say,


Enough talk, back to the grind. The wind has changed for the better and Moksha is chomping at the bit. Tarawa beckons - as does the promise of new adventures and experiences hiding like gems in the carpet of destiny that unravels assuredly under our westward stride. We are now officially 'Homeward Bound' - only another 18,000 odd miles and ? years before the white cliffs of Dover loom on Moksha's horizon once more. Here's to tomorrow today - and maybe we'll do this side of the globe a little quicker.

*An apology for the presumption of probable charity for our cause is due to the American people who 'had it coming'!

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 3:36 AM

July 3, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #62

Day 61. Saturday 3 July 1999 2156 GMT

JUST CROSSED 180 degrees longitude. YAHOO! Expedition 360 NOW HOMEWARD BOUND!

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 3:35 AM

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #61

Day 61. Saturday 3 July 1999 0329 GMT
Wind ESE - 3 knots. Heading 250M
Latitude: 01deg 59.311N
Longitude: 179deg 44.320W

According to the GPS this morning we managed to hold our own from drifting back east last night. That's the good news. The bad news is the wind veered back to ESE and pushed us 3 miles north. Push-me-pull-you. It's like we're playing a grand master at chess: whichever move we make seems to already be blocked. At times I hear the ocean whisper, "check", but Moksha and I nimbly twist and squirm out of yet another possible checkmate situation. How long we can keep this game up though? A bit of old-fashioned luck wouldn't go amiss at this juncture.

Disillusioned with the search south for a westward current, today I threw my energies into heading almost due west. I need to feel like we're actually getting somewhere in the bigger picture of things - a psychological boost. So right now I have the International Date Line - an invisible barrier that has remained within spitting distance to the west for 2 weeks now - in my sights. If I can at least get past 180 - half away around the world for the expedition - then maybe our luck will change on the other side. So polish those glasses one more time if you will. Tomorrow - I am determined - will see the start of a new chapter in this long-suffering odyssey.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 2:31 AM

July 2, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #60

Day 60. Friday 2 July 1999 0253 GMT
Wind E-ESE - 2 knots. Heading 225-180M
Latitude: 02deg 01.882N
Longitude: 179deg 30.280W

I thought it rather strange that we only made 0.5 miles westward drift last night. And this morning our heading of 225M, although technically with the wind and swell, felt a bit more sluggish than yesterday. During lunch my suspicions were confirmed when I switched on the GPS and found to my horror that we were losing 0.5 of a knot back east again. Back in counter-current - nightmare. With any luck I'll wake up in a minute and find this all to be a bad dream.

With hindsight we should have kept north of 4 degrees N to get further west before cutting south across the ITCZ. But it's easy to say that now. The southeast trades are very different to their northern counterparts: far less wind and swell (at this latitude anyway). Altogether much more passive and not nearly as competent at helping along slow moving human powered vehicles like Moksha.

So now I'm back on a heading of 180M in search of this illusive westward current. Actually today has been one of the hottest of the voyage, and at 180M at least I'm getting some ventilation directed onto my head from the funnel above the pedal seat. This morning on 225M small heat blisters were starting to break out on my arms and stomach, indicating overheating. It doesn't matter how much you sweat when this happens, the body loses its capacity to self-regulate temperature and the only thing is to stop and stay very still. The last thing I need right now is heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.

Back to the grind.

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

Posted at 2:29 AM

July 1, 1999

Hawaii to Tarawa Voyage, Update #59

Day 59. Thursday 1 July 1999 0325 GMT
Wind E - 3 knots. Heading 180-215M
Latitude: 02deg 10.270N
Longitude: 179deg 14.312W

As soon as I yanked myself from the confines of the rat-hole this morning and saw from the compass needle that the wind was once again coming from the east (much better than ESE), I was convinced we were clear of the counter-current. I sort of felt it in my bones. According to the GPS however, we'd actually lost a mile east in the night. So much for bones.

But during my mid-morning 20minute break - during which I have a cup of sweet, black Tetley's tea and sometimes a half bag of M&M's - I took a GPS fix before and after my cuppa (bones still protesting the authenticity of their claims), and to my tentative joy, noticed a slight shift in position westwards. Not wanting to get my hopes up, but also keen to start making use of the slight westward wind and swell if indeed the counter-current was loosening its strangle hold, I changed course to 215M until lunch. By lunch we'd managed 3 miles west and 2 miles south in 1.5hrs. During lunch we drifted 0.4 miles west in 1hr. So it may well be that we have finally reached the southern limit of the counter-current. Fingers crossed though.

Yesterday afternoon after writing the update, I felt something bump the stern of the boat. Whatever it was then started sliding up the port side to the bow. Looking over the side I caught the tail fin of a shark disappearing around Moksha's nose. Fergal was back half a minute later for a second pass, rolling over onto his left side to once again slide his belly up the side of the boat. Most peculiar I thought, as if this was the only available scratching post in the whole Pacific. On the 4th time round, Fergal had to raise his right fin high in the air in order to get to those places that were obviously tickling him the most. On seeing an outstretched fin waving at me, I did the polite thing: give it a "High 5." So now my number one claim to fame for being out here is that I got to give Fergal Sharky a "High 5." Well, a shark anyway...

Jason Lewis,
The Moksha motor

N.B. I believe this shark has also been the source of the pedal unit occasionally locking up while I'm pedaling. Perhaps it is mistaking the spinning stainless prop for a fish? After a few seconds the pedal unit will be freed to where I can start pedaling again. I then see the shark swim ahead of the boat, make a big arc to starboard and disappear. A few minutes later the whole process will be repeated.

Posted at 2:26 AM