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May 15, 2005

Moksha Aground! Day 3-4

Day 3-4. Time 12.52. Sunday.
LAT: S10 degs 59.98'
LONG: E129 degs 59.34'

I awoke at 1am to the sickening sound of something shearing inside the boat. Something unfamiliar - metallic perhaps. Or the worst case - a mangrove root puncturing the underside of the hull.

Kenny and Lourdes were sleeping some 150 yrds away on the top of the bank away from the reach of crocs. I'd elected to sleep on board Moksha. Earlier we'd built a fire to cook a meal and combat the hordes of insects that inhabitat the mangroves. Their favourite food seems to be tartan flesh. With his sunburnt face and insect bites (many gone septic from scratching) Kenny resembles a 200lb tomato with acne.

As I was fumbling for my deadtorch there was another crack from somewhere near the centre of the boat. I realized now by the angle of the boat that she was going aground. This was not good. I'd completely underestimated the tidal range and she was slowly sinking into the mangrove roots.

I quickly sourced the cracks as coming from the pedal unit that was taking much of the weight of the boat as she sank lower. Two of the locking clasps had already popped off under the pressure before I could release the other two.

The centre board was already protuding up through the housing inside of the boat - the sicaflex seal now broken. My next thought was to dig a hole for the rudder to settle into. As I was poised to leap over the side into the muddy water something made me think twice. As I swung the high-powered beam of the dive-torch into the mangroves I saw a large yellow eye reflecting back at me. A croc was just a 20 metres away in the water, waiting...

It took most of the following morning (now yesterday) to effect repairs to both the pedal system housing and the centre board seal. Thank goodness for sicaflex - the stuff is amazing, sticking to literally any surface (especially human skin) even when wet. And that bag of old hardware that we've been dragging around the world for years finally had it's day, yielding the replacement clasps crucial for the effective operation of the pedal unit.

Later that afternoon we dropped Kenny off at Garden Point were he managed to catch the last flight out back to Darwin with just a few minutes to spare. Lourdes and I continued north and safely navigated the exit of the Apsley Straits out into the Timor Sea overnight with the benefit of the outgoing tide to our advantage. At the time of writing we are about 15Nms NNW of Bathurst Island on a 315M heading for the eastern point of Timor. Estimated jouney time to Dili - 5 to 6 days.


Posted on May 15, 2005 5:01 AM


holy cow! what a way to start! glad you're all up & running again.

Posted by: gl. at May 16, 2005 7:59 PM

It was great to see you and Lourdes off on Thursday - Moksha looked superb with her crew and the blow up Kangaroo on lookout! You guys have watered a seed planted somewhere deep inside my mind which will one day break the shackles of this domestic existance and go on an adventure myself....

Bad luck about the grounding of Moksha - but it looks like your sorted now. Good luck for your next leg, weather looks good as the high is slipping away...

Tom from Darwin

Posted by: Tom at May 16, 2005 2:41 AM

As we carry on with the day to day trials and tribulations of health, finances and relationships, they pale in comparison to your amazing adventures. I don’t know if others feel the same way, but you and the team are a great inspiration of persistence and perseverance and I sincerely wish you smooth seas and favorable tides.

As always, god speed and all the best.


Posted by: Jake at May 15, 2005 4:40 PM


Posted by: George Shelton at May 15, 2005 3:53 PM