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May 13, 2005

We're Away!

We're off! After nearly four years of raising the money and a year of this spent in preparation, the current leg of the expedition kicked off yesterday morning at 0900hrs local time Darwin.

At the time of writing (0821hrs local) Lourdes, Moksha and I are actually approaching the southern edge of the Apsley Strait, the passage separating Melville and Bathurst Islands, having pedaled 40nms from Darwin overthe past 23hrs. Kenny was supposed to rendezvous with us at 0630hrs on a yacht chartered off Matthew (aka Captain Crazy Trousers). But on calling Kennys cellphone just now it appears their voyage was a complete debacle punctuated by equipment failure, no wind and sparse navigational knowledge. The ordeal was brought to an end at 0530hrs this morning when they ran aground on a sandbar outside Darwin harbour and had to swim ashore across Fannie Bay!

So Kenny is currently on the daily ferry out of Darwin bound for Nguiu (pronounced New-U) where we hope to all meet up after 10.00hrs this morning. Sounds like he has more hair-raising stories in store for us...

Otherwise things are going pretty smoothly at least on the good ship Moksha. The little craft feels as sound as she did the first time we pedaled here back in 1993. The lack of wind is good for us as far as being able to make it to the mouth of the straits without being blown west, but the flipside were both sweating nonstop and the small 12 volt fan retrieved from the junk-pile at the Dinah Beach Yacht Club is the only thing producing any ventilation. I regret now not getting a better one before leaving.

Lourdes is starting to get over an initial and somewhat inevitable bout of sea-sickness. We took turns pedaling through the night at 2hrs intervals sucking on the end of a bottle of scotch whiskey (now empty). As expected the tide pushed us west then east, then west again. But with the magic of GPS it was easy for us to know what the ocean is doing underneath us and to compensate accordingly. Information is everything.

The next 24hrs should be interesting pedaling up the Apsley to Garden Point. The region is home to the local Aboriginal Tiwi (meaning people) islanders and the strait itself stiff with salties apparently so swimming is out of the question. Hopefully well regain our appetites here shortly also so we can get some much needed fuel in our stomachs to soak up the scotch.


PS. For this who have written email in the past 10-days. Apologies for the lack of reply. The last week was utter mayhem as usual, getting everything ready for the voyage. I will however get to my inbox in Dili in about a week.

Posted on May 13, 2005 12:32 AM


Attaway mates! Jason check your email.


Posted by: Thomas McGrath at May 14, 2005 2:23 PM

hooray! you're off! good travels to all of you!

Posted by: gl. at May 14, 2005 2:04 AM

Hurrah! Glad you are both safe and sound. Kenny's journey sounds slightly more adventurous!

Posted by: astrid at May 13, 2005 8:26 AM