August 13, 2000
AROUND THE WORLD PEDAL BOAT EXPEDITION HEADS FOR AUSTRALIA - 2
>> LOCATION: CORAL SEA, SW PACIFIC
>> DATE: AUGUST 13th, 2000
>> SECTION: CORAL SEA VOYAGE
The first attempt to circumnavigate the world by human power is struggling after being blown off course in the South Pacific. On their final leg from San Francisco, British adventure Jason Lewis (32) and American school teacher April Abril (42) are being pushed west into the Great Barrier Reef, over 100 miles north of their intended landfall. Their 26-foot pedal powered boat, with a maximum speed of 2.5 miles an hour cannot fight the strong SE winds.
For the last two days they have been forced to stop pedaling and put out a sea anchor to slow their drift north. Life aboard is a miserable experience and both are suffering from fatigue and seasickness in the 30-knot winds and waves breaking over the entire boat.
There is hope of getting an escort boat to them and bring them in Cook’s passage to make for Lizard Island, 12 miles inside the reef. The Australian Search and Rescue services are monitoring the situation.
They set off in their pedal boat 'Moksha' from Tulagi on the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, 18th July 2000, heading southwest for Cairns 1,100 miles away. The voyage has proved the hardest to date for the expedition - across the treacherous Coral Sea and fighting the SouthEast Trades winds all the way.
April, a schoolteacher from Colorado, USA is the first woman to join the expedition. She has been involved since 1996 as the Cultural Exchange Co-ordinator but never expected to go out on the ocean until Jason’s original partner, Steve Smith dropped out in Hawaii.
"My physical endurance has never been so relentlessly challenged. This is the wildest adventure I've ever been on. I've run the gamut from chronic seasickness to salt sores in places I never knew existed to being so tired as to not being able to keep my eyes open, but I hope to come back a stronger person for it." - April Abril
"It's undoubtedly been the toughest of any of the ocean crossings yet. Ever since we left the Solomon Islands a month ago we've been struggling against 30-knot winds and 30-ft seas. Words like 'discomfort', 'fear', 'disappointment' have a whole new meaning for me now. April has proved incredibly strong, even though she’s never been to sea before. I’d like to sea her finish it successfully and take the experience back to her school kids in Colorado" - Jason Lewis
This is the last stage of the epic journey across the Pacific and a major landmark for the British expedition in its 36,000-mile trip around the world. It has taken Jason six years to get this far - 20,000 miles of pedaling the boat, cycling and roller-blading - over half way around the world.
Aside from completing a full circumnavigation, the expedition aims to promote understanding between cultures, visiting over 500 communities along its route. The educational and cultural programs work with schools to document their surroundings and exchange the results with other school children worldwide.
If they make it to the mainland Jason intends to roller blade down the north east coast to Rockhampton before cycling across the outback to Alice Springs and up to Darwin. Unfortunately the expedition is now in dire financial straits and is seeking sponsorship.
Moksha is equipped with satellite navigation and communications equipment, allowing the pedallers to send back daily updates on the Internet. There is also a satellite phone on board, conditions allowing Jason and April will be available for audio interviews. Photographs available.
Posted by jason at August 13, 2000 11:41 AM