Jason Lewis took 178 days to cross the Pacific Ocean in a 26-foot propeller-driven boat called Moksha (meaning liberation or freedom in Sanskrit) from San Francisco to Australia, becoming the first in history to do so by pedal power. He completed the 8,221-mile voyage in four stages:
California to Hawaii by Pedal Power
On September 28, 1998, Jason and expedition partner Steve Smith set out from San Francisco, arriving in Hilo, Hawaii, fifty four days later. The first few weeks of the voyage were critical: pedalling far enough from the California coast to avoid being swept south into an anticlockwise gyre off Central America. They witnessed a variety of marine life en route, including finback whales, turtles, Portuguese Man of War, and a great white shark.
Hawaii to Tarawa by Pedal Power
From May through August of 1999, Jason pedalled 2,694 miles from Kailua-Kona to the coral island atoll of Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati. He fell critically ill with septicemia partway into the voyage. While recovering on antibiotics, he was sucked into the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, a 400-mile-wide countercurrent north of the equator otherwise known as the doldrums. For two and a half weeks, he was effectively pedalling on the spot, going nowhere. Eventually, in part thanks to a seasonal fluctuation in width of the countercurrent, he was able to punch through to the Southern Hemisphere and reach Tarawa.
Tarawa to the Solomon Islands by Pedal Power
Jason and Moksha’s builder Chris Tipper pedalled for three and a half weeks to the island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands, making landfall in the port of Auki. Due to a civil dispute between Malaita and neighboring Guadalcanal, they were forced to continue on to the island of Tulagi to clear customs and immigration.
Solomon Islands to Australia by Pedal Power
In keeping with his belief that expeditions should be inclusive regardless of experience, Jason invited 46-year-old American schoolteacher April Abril to join him for a 1,438-mile pedal power crossing of the Coral Sea. The Southeast Trades were unusually strong in 2000, and shortly after leaving Tulagi the pair found themselves battling gale force winds and powerful currents that threatened to wreck Moksha on the Great Barrier Reef. To make matters worse, April suffered from chronic seasickness for the entire 32-day voyage, becoming increasingly debilitated by the effects of dehydration and starvation.