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March 21, 2007

Making the Transition

LOCATION: Djibouti
Longitude: N:11deg.36.112'
Latitude: E: 043deg.09.196'
Miles total Mumbai - Djibouti: 1,903
Miles from Mumbai: 1,903
Miles to Djibouti: 0


Since arriving Sher and I have been staggering around like a couple of drunks, barely able to perform the most basic of tasks such as climbing stairs, walking in a vaguely straight line and standing for more than 15 minutes at a time without having to collapse into a chair. Our body physiologies have changed dramatically to reflect the limited range of movement we had over the course of 47 days just pedaling. Not having walked or even stood for so long we have lost large areas of muscle mass in our upper body areas, in particular along our spines and backsides. Sher weighed himself yesterday and he's down from 182 to 148 lbs. Consequently all we want to do is eat!

Kenny has still yet to do final interviews for the documentary series so we're forbidden to cut our facial hair (to keep the visual continuity) with the result that people we meet are constantly looking behind us for our handlers. But, as we're fast finding out, Djibouti is a backwater town that is home to a complete mishmash of cultures and misfit characters that wouldn't survive elsewhere in the world. Needless to say the expedition fits right in.


The predominantly French ex-pat community is very close knit with everyone knowing each other well. Fortunately the hotel we're staying in is managed by a very colourful character - Bruno - who has been bending over backwards to create opportunities and make introductions to key players in the local community who might be able to assist with the myriad of things that need to be done, such as pulling Moksha of the water and finding a place for her to be stored before being being shipped back to Europe. He's the kind of person that holds the keys to opening doors that could otherwise take weeks of blundering around on one's own. We are extremely grateful for his efforts thus far.

The first impressions of Djibouti are that it is very hot and is EXTREMELY expensive. A small glass of beer is 6 US dollars for example. But there are cheaper places to eat and get things done apparently. The trick is to cross over from the European quarter into the African quarter where prices automatically drop by 2/3rds.

As the rigours of the voyage start to wear off our thoughts are naturally turning towards what comes next. Sher and Nathalie will be flying out on Friday to return to their jobs in San Jose and Belgium respectively. Nathalie will be a key person in the closing stages of the trip: Moksha is being shipped back to her home down in Oostende and stored safely there until the final crossing of the Channel to England in late September this year. Kenny will bike with me for the first section of the next leg which involves biking through Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and the Middle East. Tomorrow we head to the Ethiopian consulate to apply for visas. Then there will be at least another week of logistics, centred mainly around getting the boat ready for export, before we can head off.

In addition to the people who have already helped so far I'd like to take this opportunity to that the sponsors of the last leg who contributed with financial underwriting, product and services support.

Aberdeen Asset Management(financial assistance)
UK Hydrographic Office (charts)
DHL International (shipping bike + trailer from Mumbai)
McMurdo UK (EPIRB loan)
Travel Insurance Services (financial assistance)
Discover Power (solar panels)
Rudy Project (eye wear)
Dometic - Origo (stove)
Harken (specialist welding on pedal unit drive shafts)

I believe Sher will be also posting his last update tomorrow.



Posted on March 21, 2007 3:23 PM


Let me add my belated congratulations on yet another leg completed, and pass on greetings from Lviv.

Posted by: Darcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 24, 2007 10:17 AM