A little preview of The Expedition film, from kayaking through Indonesia. Thanks to all who have contributed so far to raise finishing funds. Campaign ends in 3 days!
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
Hoorah! A lull in the trades has allowed us to claw twenty-five miles south, enough to scrape past Pocklington Reef. If we can next avoid Rossel and Tagula Islands, we’ll have a straight shot to Australia.
I film April as I pedal. She’s sitting wedged across the inside of the cabin, writing her first email.
“Success?” I ask.
“Success.” She sighs heavily, closes the laptop lid, and removes her purple-rimmed glasses. “But now I’m going to have to lie down for just a quick minute.”
She nods as she pries off a sodden white sock. “Looking down seems to be my Achilles heel.” The soles of her feet are beginning to rot, the skin white and flaking like spoiled cheddar cheese. Painful lesions mark the straps of her ill-fitting sandals—the reason for the socks. Continue reading
July 20. Wind: SE 15-20 knots. Heading: 210M. Position: 09°21’66”S 158°28’28”E
Torrential rain all morning. The inside of the central compartment resembles a Chinese laundry with sodden bras, knickers, and towels swinging from the emergency oars. In the last twenty-four hours we’ve managed eleven miles south to thirty-three west, a ratio of one to three. This isn’t good enough. Our course over ground marked on the chart now has us on a collision course with the easternmost reef of the Louisiades Archipelago, Pocklington Reef. Continue reading
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 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!