March 28, 2005
HUMAN POWERED CIRCUMNAVIGATOR SURVIVES CROCODILE ATTACK
>> LOCATION: Cooktown, Australia
>> DATE: March 28th, 2005
>> SECTION: Indonesia Leg
An historic first attempt to circumnavigate the world by human power nearly came to abrupt halt over the weekend when solo-adventurer Jason Lewis was attacked by a saltwater crocodile on the North Queensland coast.
At 5.15 pm local time on March 25th British born Lewis (37 yrs) was just completing a 26 nautical mile paddle by kayak from the Great Barrier Reef to mainland Australia. As he neared landfall at Lookout Point, 60 nautical miles north of Cooktown, a 15ft (5 metre) crocodile appeared 50ft astern of the boat and began pursuing him. Lewis reached the beach just 10 feet ahead of the animal and ran for cover behind some sand dunes.
"A lot of the locals here in North Queensland had warned me of the increase in numbers and boldness of crocs in this area. When I saw this one not only take an interest in me and the kayak, but actively start to chase me, I thought it was a bad dream coming to life.”
Some minutes later the croc returned to the scene. Fearing his kayak and possessions might be destroyed Lewis ran down the beach from his safe-haven and confronted the animal beside his kayak.
“It didn’t budge – it just opened its mouth and started hissing at me. When it started to advance towards me I thrust my kayak paddle into its mouth. It’s jaws closed, and I thought I’d lose the paddle. So I thrust the blade deeper into it’s throat, making it release its hold. I then belted it as hard as I could over the head with one end, shattering the paddle to pieces. This seemed to finally make it retreat to deeper water.”
Lewis used an Iridium satellite phone to phone for help and was later evacuated to neighbouring Cooktown by sea-plane. He is currently recovering in Cairns.
For more details on the story, go to Lewis’s personal weblog – www.expedition360.com/x360_indonesia_journal/
Since departing the Greenwich Meridian Line in 1994, Lewis has traveled 32,000 miles – two-thirds around the planet - without assistance from either motors or the wind; pedaling a one-of-a-kind pedal boat (‘Moksha’, meaning liberation in Sanskrit) across the world's oceans, bicycling and rollerblading over land. On August 18th 2000, Lewis became the first in history to pedal across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco in the US to Port Douglas, Australia - 178 days and 8,000 nautical miles. In 1994, original pedal partner Steve Smith (now retired from the expedition) and Lewis completed the first East-West crossing of the Atlantic by pedal power, and a year later Lewis completed the first unsupported crossing of the USA by roller blades.
The Discovery Channel are currently making a documentary on the expedition.
For more information in Lewis’s circumnavigation by human power ‘Expedition 360’, go to –
The next leg will comprise Lewis and ex-pedalling partner Steve Smith pedalling Moksha from Darwin, N. Australia to East Timor, then kayaking 2,600 miles up the Indonesian chain of islands to Singapore. Next the expedition will bicycle through Thailand, Laos into China then hike south over the Himalayas into India. From this point, a 2,200-mile crossing of the Indian Ocean to East Africa is planned. The adventure will continue through North Africa and Europe to finish at the Greenwich Meridian Line, it's original starting point, sometime in 2007. It will have taken a total of 13 years to complete the circumnavigation.
Jason Lewis is available for interview on (country code) +61 427 485 219 (east coast Australia time - 10 hrs ahead of GMT).
PHOTOS – email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Jason Lewis on number above.
VIDEO FOOTAGE – broadcast quality footage of the incident is available. Email email@example.com or contact Jason Lewis on number above.
Posted by jason at March 28, 2005 11:40 AM