August 17, 2000
AROUND THE WORLD PEDAL BOAT EXPEDITION HEADS FOR AUSTRALIA - 3
>> LOCATION: CORAL SEA, SW PACIFIC
>> DATE: AUGUST 17th, 2000
>> SECTION: CORAL SEA VOYAGE
Pedal Boat Expedition close to completing Pacific Crossing
The first attempt to circumnavigate the world by human power is heading for Port Douglas, Australia to finish a 6,000-mile crossing from San Francisco. British adventurer Jason Lewis (32) and American schoolteacher April Abril (42) hope to pedal in to Close Haven Marina, Port Douglas, Queensland at approximately 11am local time.
This marks the end of an epic journey across the Pacific - from San Francisco to Hawaii, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and finally across the Coral Sea to Australia. This last stage has proved to be a torturous voyage, strong southeast winds and rough sea conditions threw the pair severely off course and made pedaling conditions barely survivable.
Their 26-foot pedal boat Moksha (with a maximum speed of 2.5 miles an hour) simply could not fight far enough south. Earlier this week they were forced to deploy a sea anchor and sit out the worst of the storms as they were pushed north in to dangerous waters around the Great Barrier Reef. They later managed to continue to west and make their ‘westward goal’ until they had to be pulled south through the reef allowing them to make safe landfall.
"Seeing Australia rising above the Coral Sea, I immediately sensed its sand between my toes, at that moment I thought this has to be one of the most glorious feelings in all the world." - April Abril
"I know now that the ocean is not a place for human beings, I've spent six months of my life out here on the Pacific and this last 1000 miles has proved how just how hard and unforgiving this challenge is. I’m looking forward to travelling on land again and visiting schools to be reminded how rewarding the expedition can be." - Jason Lewis
It is 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.
Jason’s original partner Steve Smith left the expedition in Hawaii 18 month ago. Jason continued to Kiribati alone (73 days) before inviting others to join him for sections of the trip. Chris Tipper, the expedition boat builder joined him to the Solomon Islands then April Abril, the educational coordinator came aboard for the four week leg to Australia. Jason intends to roller blade and cycle across the Outback before crossing to Indonesia and making his way back to the Meridian Line in Greenwich, London via Asia, Africa and Europe. April is heading back to America to teach her class of 10-year-olds in Rye, Colorado.
Moksha is equipped with satellite navigation and communications equipment, allowing the pedallers to send back daily updates on the Internet. Photographs available.
Posted by jason at August 17, 2000 11:42 AM