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October 1, 2007

Back on the Island!

LOCATION: Dover, England
Longitude: N:51deg.08'
Latitude: E: 001deg.19'
Kms from Istanbul: 3,213

Moksha slipped into Dover harbour yesterday evening, successfully avoiding being apprehended by the French authorities and completing a relatively smooth crossing from France in a little under 8 hours. The pearly white cliffs of Dover provided a beacon to which to pedal towards in the fading light, symbolising the long awaited return to the green isle of England for Expedition 360. The circle is now almost closed.


The departure from the beach at Cap Gris Nez didn't go so smoothly however, and we were VERY lucky launching Moksha in an unorthodox style never attempted before; reversing her on a trailer into the surf and pushing her out into deeper water before being wrecked onto the 'Dragon Teeth Rocks', just 100 metres apart either side of the beach. I still am in awe that we managed to pull it off at all without serious harm to either the boat or people. The day was saved by some incredibly nice locals from the village of Framzelle. At 11.30am, with just 30 minutes to catch the tide window, we still hadn't managed to find someone with a tractor to take Moksha plus trailer down to the beach for launching. 'Jean Calais' plus family and friends just happened to passing by from collecting cockles and mussels on the beach at low tide and enquired what this strange craft was. 20 minutes later Jean was down with his tractor and an assorted posse of helpers waded out into the surf to assist with launching.

The big worry was pushing Moksha around 180 degrees in the heavy surf to face the rollers and then push her out into water deep enough to fit the rudder, centre board and pedal unit - before being put onto the rocks. I almost made the call to abandon for the day and try for a deep water launching the following day in Calais. Losing Moksha would potentially jeopardize the successful completion of the circumnavigation. But on the flip side delaying for a day would seriously compromise the weather window. It was actually a prompt from the villagers that swung the decision. 'We know this water -you might make it if you go NOW'.


15 extremely chaotic and adrenaline pumping minutes later Chris and I found ourselves pedaling out through the surf into deeper water, the boat half full of water, but afloat and still operable. What a rush!! Pulling the whiskers of fate and making borderline decisions like this AND getting away with it is extremely exhilarating. But things could well have gone the other way.


Moksha was now in the water and in one piece. But in the confusion Kenny and Eilbhe, who we were going to ferry out to the waiting support vessel lying out in deeper water, were still stranded in the surf. I then witnessed one of the most incredible displays of bravery and gusto from our cameraman Kenny Brown - swimming 200 metres through the surf with his camera gear in a dry bag on his back. Eilbhe intercepted him in a kayak further out and the illustrious two managed to make it to the support boat intact. What a mad start to the crossing!

Chris Tipper

In a few minutes Sher and I leave Dover on the ebb tide to pedal around to Ramsgate, 14 miles around the corner to the northeast. More developments posted later today.


Chris looking out past the white cliffs of Dover


Huge thanks to those of you who have pledged towards the shipping of Moksha to Ostend from Antwerp. The response has been so successful we have $350 surplus which we will put towards the hire of the crane to pull Moksha out of the Thames on the morning of the 6th (475 pounds sterling).

You can make pledges here. Or email contact@expedition360.com

Sincerest thanks to the following for your pledges -
The Rollers - $200
Karl Sweeney - $100
Susan Schendowich - $50
Patrick Buckler - $50
Neil Reypert - $100
Gretchin Lair - $50
Tim Murfitt - $50
Samantha Carter - $50
Merlin & Carrie Lewis - $200
Jane Koca & John Caldwell - $100
Anonymous - $250

> Total to raise: $850
> Total raised to date: $1200
> Total still to raise: $0

> Surplus towards crane hire: $350
> Crane hire: $998.50
> Still to raise: 650

Posted on October 1, 2007 11:23 AM