The Expedition Book 2 – A Dodgem Ride in the Twilight Zone

210_TQ_water_pouring_in

August 2. Wind: SSE 30 knots. Heading: 210M. Position: 12°48’68”S
 152°35’42”E

The morning of the fifteenth day breaks cold and dreary with relentless rain, the ocean windswept. An eerie blue light penetrates the cabin, revealing a silhouetted form that sways in the half-light. Eyes closed, fist propping up her chin, April dozes as she pedals. A green lava-lava tied across the stern window is ready to catch her head when it falls.

The wind has veered to south-southeast in the night, and freshened to thirty knots with forty-knot gusts. The best we can now manage is 210 degrees magnetic, taking us diagonally over the backs of the sweeping rollers, some of which shape-shift into spitting balls of liquid rage and target the cockpit with laser-like precision. We’re back to being constantly wet and longing for the sun. This voyage is becoming a dodgem ride in the Twilight Zone, I scribble in my journal, with complimentary buckets of water dumped over our heads… Continue reading

The Expedition Book 2 – Reefs and Cabbages

april_with_cabbage

July 28. Wind: SSE 25 knots. Heading: 180M. Position: 11°30’13”S
 155°06’78”E

I stare in disbelief at the two-tone screen of the GPS. In the past 24 hours we’ve lost forty-two miles west, and gained only a handful south. Disaster looms once more. To avoid running aground on the reef east of Tagula, we need to make fifteen miles south over the next fifteen hours. The likelihood of this happening is slim given the recent trend.

All we can do different is try to increase our RPMs. April ups hers from forty to forty-five. I aim for fifty-two. We also shorten the daytime shifts from three to two hours, and the night-time ones from four to three to optimize performance. Continue reading

The Expedition Book 2 – The Wrath of the Coral Sea

July 19. Wind: SE 25 knots. Heading: 210M. Position: 09°18’33”S
 159°14’50”E

Skirting the westernmost point of Guadalcanal, Coral Sea Corner as we later call it, the wind accelerates to thirty knots and all hell breaks loose. No longer protected by land, we are now exposed to the full force of the southeast trades sweeping unchallenged across the Pacific from South America. The seas around us become steep and confused, upshot of the confluence of winds, tides, and currents ricocheting between the islands. For every mile we pedal south, we’re losing six west.

Then it starts to rain. Heavily.

I awake at first light on the second day to a hollow clanking sound, like a cowbell. Our camp kettle is floating in six inches of water, bouncing between the plywood storage bins. A half-eaten bowl of waterlogged porridge is on the move along with my sandals. Outside, the wind shrieks. I look up. April has been pedalling since 3:00 am, steering in total darkness, wrestling the toggles back and forth to keep Moksha from broaching and capsizing. Sceptics denounced the idea of having a woman aboard without nautical experience as irresponsible and reckless. Yet here she is, powering away. Fortunately, she’s taken the trouble to get fit before coming out, an expedition first! Continue reading

The Expedition Book 2 – A Woman’s Best Friend

July 18, 2000. Wind: ESE 5 knots. Heading: 265M. Position: 09°11’78”S
 159°40’14”E

We steer a course for the northern tip of Savo Island, its trademark splodge of cloud hovering overhead. “Don’t go south of it,” the police chief on Tulagi had warned. “Militias use Savo to run weapons and food to Guadalcanal.” Making a detour this early on in the voyage is somewhat inconvenient, especially with the trades gathering strength, but with Cairns over eleven hundred miles away, an extra ten won’t make much of a difference.

The wind is light. A gentle swell rolls in astern. The conditions are near perfect for April to start acclimatizing to life on the briny. For now, she looks happy and relaxed—perhaps a little too relaxed.

“It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she laughs, pedalling with her hands behind her head. “If I had a pillow back here I could just drift off!”

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The Expedition book 2 – Coral Sea Voyage

July 3, 2000. Coral Sea departure

“So, what dae ye think life aboard Moksha’ll be like?” said Kenny, perched behind his camera.

April considered this for a moment, letting her gaze drop to the heavy torpor of the harbour water. It was a stock question for a documentary filmmaker to ask, one that allowed the editor to juxtapose preconceived notions with the actual reality of an undertaking. And for April, a middle-aged mother and schoolteacher from Colorado, it was particularly poignant. She’d never been in a boat before, let alone to sea. She couldn’t swim too well, either. Continue reading

The Expedition Film chosen for Documentary Film Festival

The Expedition film has been chosen for Arclight’s Documentary Festival competition. Please vote for the film with a LIKE on YouTube and we’ll get this thing on the big screen. Many thanks!

Fundraising Casualties – the expedition #adventure #travel book excerpt 10

The London Boat Show, January 1994

Our planned departure date of May 1 came and went. Every day we postponed for lack of sponsorship was one less day to bike to Vladivostok in easternmost Russia, and launch Moksha before the Northern Hemisphere winter set in. Not thrilled about the prospect of freezing to death in Siberia, we decided to fix a cut-off date. If a title sponsor hadn’t stepped up to the plate by June 1, we would either postpone until the following spring, or abandon the effort entirely. While the latter seemed almost unthinkable after the thousands of man-hours already invested, the former posed an equally dismal prospect: another soul-destroying year surviving on social security handouts and living in derelict housing.

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The Expedition book, Dark Waters, Launched in US and Canada!

Very proud to announce North American print publication of Dark Waters, first in The Expedition trilogy chronicling the first human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth.

Dark Waters (The Expedition trilogy, book one)

Discounted to $11.50 in the US on Amazon. Also available on BN.com or signed copies direct from the publisher.

Indigo is carrying it in Canada for $12.96 CAN.

Ebook version out very soon.

DESCRIPTION: He survived a terrifying crocodile attack off Australia’s Queensland coast, blood poisoning in the middle of the Pacific, malaria in Indonesia and China, and acute mountain sickness in the Himalayas. He was hit by a car and left for dead with two broken legs in Colorado, and incarcerated for espionage on the Sudan-Egypt border.

The first in a thrilling adventure trilogy, Dark Waters charts one of the longest, most gruelling, yet uplifting and at times irreverently funny journeys in history, circling the world using just the power of the human body, hailed by the London Sunday Times as “The last great first for circumnavigation.”

But it was more than just a physical challenge. Prompted by what scientists have dubbed the “perfect storm” as the global population soars to 8.3 billion by 2030, adventurer Jason Lewis used The Expedition to reach out to thousands of schoolchildren, calling attention to our interconnectedness and shared responsibility of an inhabitable Earth for future generations.

THANKS: Including the circumnavigation itself, the expedition project is now 20 years in the making. Thousands of people have contributed in myriad ways to make it happen.  Special thanks for bringing this story to the written page go to Kenny Brown (photos), Tammie Stevens (editor), Rob Antonishen (maps), and Anthony DiMatteo (editing). Thanks also to all who read and gave feedback to early drafts.

Sea Trials Farce – the expedition #adventure #travel book excerpt 9

Leaving Salcombe marina for three days of “sea trials”

The following afternoon we re-launched Moksha into Salcombe harbour, loaded her with three days of provisions, and headed for the open sea – centreboard firmly in place this time.

For Steve, this was to be his first night at sea, ever. He had more experience of overland travel having ridden a bicycle more than a mile since leaving school. I had more experience of boats having actually been in one.

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