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May 31, 2000

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #3

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 23:43:54 -0700
Day 2
Wind ENE 10 knots
195 Magnetic

With the dawning of the third day at sea it was starting to look as if neither of us would be parting with $10 for being the first to feed the fishes. I was beginning to wonder whether Chris (being the competitive sort of guy he is) had secretly employed Kenny - the expedition cameraman - to teach him the traditional Scottish art of seasickness prevention: hanging over the side with a fifty pence piece stuck between one's teeth. But at around 11 a.m. Chris made a sudden b-line for the side of the boat and began the noisy process of depositing his breakfast into the ocean.

It seems however the roll of the ocean is not to blame on this occasion, rather the stale mix we made our breakfast pancakes with. We may well have a food dilemma on board. Much of the provisions I bought with me from Hawaii a year ago are showing signs of seeing better days, and even the stores we picked up in Tarawa are turning out to be less than inspirational. The carrots (originally from Australia) are all utterly depressed looking, the onions we've tried so far have mildew and even a sealed can of tomatoes proved rotten on being opened. The Australian food we've experienced on Tarawa and have with us here on Moksha is pretty rubbish it has to be said. But with enough food to get us all the way to Australia if need be there should be enough to pick through and get us to Honiara where we can re-supply for the final leg to Cairns.

On a fresher note we had two short but intense rain showers pass overhead during the day. On both occasions Chris and I battened down the hatches and clambered outside to receive nature's most precious gift to us on the ocean: a cold, freshwater shower. Ahhh, what bliss!!! With a couple of these every day and the assistance of a most excellent 12 volt fan we've rigged up to cool the face of the person pedaling, we should be able to avoid the unpleasant side-effects of dipping regularly in the ocean to cool off like on the last voyage: salt-water boils, septicemia and possible shark attack.

Jason & Chris,
The Moksha motors

Posted at 5:55 AM

May 30, 2000

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #2

Click on image to play video

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 22:07:49 -0700
Day 1
Wind ESE 10 knots
Heading 210 Magnetic

Well, we're underway again. This time with two of us on board: Chris Tipper, one of Moksha's original builders, out here to sample the thing he created and myself. Tarawa is fast slipping under the horizon in a haze of evening light. All we can see now are the distinctive tops of the coconut trees, the red and white radio towers on the southern western tip of Betio island and the broken remains of ships wrecked on the reef leading out of the harbour. It's strange. It looks exactly the same as it did when Moksha and I arrived seven months ago on the 73rd day in from Hawaii. Only this time around there are memories connected to this desolate wisp of sand jutting out of the Pacific: the friends we've met and wealth of experiences from being on hiatus here since August of last year before the typhoon season. It's what makes this method traveling around the world so magical. Pedaling to a dot on the map, discovering a whole different world to the last dot visited, then pedaling onto another.

Our send off from the wharf in Betio harbour was one of the best we've ever had. A rag-tag mob came down during the lunch hour to see us off: children from the schools we've visited, local iKiribati and iMatang (foreign) folks that we've forged great friendships with since being here, passers-by on bikes, intrigued and amused at these crazy iMatangs in their 'bicycle boat' traveling around the world. With bunches of traditional farewell garlands made from shells thrown around our necks and many hearty farewell hugs and handshakes, Chris and I slipped the ropes tying Moksha to the pontoon and stepped off the last still object we'll see for another five weeks until we reach Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Glancing back over Moksha's stern I was met with an unusual sight: the moon rising over Betio. That's weird I thought. It's only 2p.m. in the afternoon. Taking a second look however I realized my mistake. It was only James - the worser half of our long suffering hosts who have weathered the never ending needs of the expedition the past two months - giving us a final traditional Australian salute. Thanks James. What a beautiful way for Chris and I to remember our time in Kiribati by.

So, things are all well on Moksha. Apart from Chris' clicking knees and a near disaster with the computer that was drenched by a huge wave and has only just dried out enough to start working again, we're looking good to pedal into Honiara - pending the war that is brewing there - in about four and half weeks time. We've got 15 out of around 1,000 nautical miles under our belt, a boat loaded up to the gunnels with coconuts and a fair wind to our port quarter. Hope you can join us from now on for our daily antics, relayed via satellite in the form of words, still pics, audio and short movies. Why pedal this thing when you can do it virtually from the comfort of your favourite armchair? Chris and I just got the short straws that's all...

Jason & Chris,
The Moksha motors

Posted at 9:53 AM

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #1

Click on image to play video

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 06:15:00 GMT
Offshore Near Tarawa


We are underway, Solomons bound. All OK. We will have a full report posted shortly.

The first attempt to circumnavigate the world by human power continues this weekend from the island atoll of Tarawa in the mid Pacific.

Traveling in a unique pedal powered boat, Jason Lewis (32) and Chris Tipper (34) will set off for the Solomon Islands 1100 miles away. This marks the beginning of the 'return' journey to the Meridian Line in Greenwich, England from where the expedition started 6 years ago.

The British adventurers will set off in their pedal boat 'Moksha' from Betio harbour (pronounced beyseo) on Tuesday, 30th May heading southwest for Honiara. The voyage will be a tough physical challenge: aside from having to pedal 12 hours a day each, the pair face intense heat, 30+ ft waves and risk of shark attack when cooling off in the ocean, all before making landfall in a country at war. After a short stopover to visit schools, the expedition will continue to Cairns, Australia then westward by land.

It has taken Jason six years to get this far - 18,000 miles of pedaling the boat, cycling and roller-blading - half way around the world. Aside from completing a full circumnavigation, the expedition aims to promote understanding between cultures, encouraging people to learn from the planet and each other. Visiting over 500 communities along its route and communicating with children via the Internet, the expedition works with schools to document their surroundings and exchange the results with other school children worldwide.

"Traveling half way around the planet using just the power of my own muscles has proved tremendously challenging, but using the project as a tool to connect children with each other has been the most rewarding part." - Jason Lewis

Jason's original partner Steve Smith left the expedition in Hawaii to pursue other projects. Chris Tipper built the boat in England at the inception of the project and is joining Jason for the trip to the Solomons

"This is the first opportunity I will get to pedal the boat I spent a year building for the expedition. It will be a chance to really test my limits." - Chris Tipper

Moksha is equipped with satellite navigation and communications equipment, allowing the pedalers to send back daily updates of their adventure for the Internet - including photographs, audio and video. There is also a satellite phone on board. Jason and Chris will be available for live audio interviews throughout the voyage. Photographs also available.

The expedition is currently seeking sponsorship.

Jason & Chris

Posted at 5:09 AM