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May 30, 2000

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #2

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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 on May 30, 2000 9:53 AM