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June 14, 2000

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #14

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Wed, 14 Jun 2000 01:38:26 -0700
Day 15
Wind E 10 knots
Heading 200 Magnetic

Our prayers were answered early yesterday evening when the southerly we'd been battling against for the previous 18hrs backed to the SE and eventually ESE where it's settled in since this morning. The onus now is to grab this opportunity before the wind veers back to the SE (where typically it should be coming from at this time of year and in this ocean region) to drive Moksha south. In order to round the northern edge of the island of Malaita safely we have approximately 80 nautical miles south and 160 miles west to go, a ratio of 2-miles west to 1-mile south. Not a bad margin at this stage, but as I found with the final approach into Tarawa last year, it pays to remain on the side of caution until the very last. Rogue anomalies in the local wind and current pattern around islands have been the cause of many vessels - human powered or otherwise - ending up on a reef at the last minute. With only lowly muscle power at our disposal we need to be in exactly the right place at the right time - the margin for error with our restricted ability to maneuver being far more limited than yachts and other craft with motors to get themselves out of trouble. With another 169 degrees until we finally get back to Greenwich, we can well do without that sort of thing happening now.

The veggies that we're pedaling laboriously back to Australia from whence they originated are finally saying they've had enough. The only exception is the garlic which is still looking as fit as the day we brought it on board. Strangely however the cabbages haven't faired too well this time, regularly adopting grey fuzzy beards overnight in the warm, moist storage bins. And the carrots are beginning to look like they're suffering from the vegetable equivalent of the Bubonic Plague. Last Carrots (MPG-120K).

The only other casualty of the day was our beautiful yellow and black umbrella that finally had to be retired after being rudely turned inside out a second time by a squall this morning. But as with everything on this boat - including the humans - we have a spare. The replacement also has yellow stripes (to go in line with the colour of the boat), but this time has blue segments in between instead of black. Scintillating stuff I know, but this is what happens. With nothing else to fill your head out here its easy to fall foul of chronic domesticity. Scary.

Jason & Chris,
The Moksha motors

Posted on June 14, 2000 3:08 AM