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Sunday, September 5, 1999 Published at 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK


Crossing the Pacific - by pedal power

Taking on the world - by boat, cycle and roller skates

A British adventurer circumnavigating the globe by human power is taking a break in the UK before tackling a sea-crossing from an island in the Pacific Ocean to Australia.

Jason Lewis, 31, from Bridport, Dorset, is almost halfway through a round-the-world trip by pedal boat, cycle and roller blades, which began at the Greenwich meridian in July 1994.

He has already set two world records during the land-sea Pedal for the Planet odyssey.

[ image: Jason Lewis: Talked to the fish in times of loneliness (pic, Pedal for the Planet website)]
Jason Lewis: Talked to the fish in times of loneliness (pic, Pedal for the Planet website)
Mr Lewis and his former travelling companion, Steve Smith, 32, of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, crossed the English Channel in a 25-ft wooden pedal boat.

They then pedalled the 4,500 miles from Portugal to Miami in 111 days to complete the first east-west pedal crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

The second record was set when Mr Lewis decided to cross the US by roller blade, while Mr Smith cycled.

Mr Lewis completed the most recent part of the expedition on his own - taking 73 days to pedal 2,200 miles from Hawaii to Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands - after he fell out with Mr Smith.

[ image: The Moksha leaves San Francisco for Hawaii (pic, Pedal for the Planet website)]
The Moksha leaves San Francisco for Hawaii (pic, Pedal for the Planet website)
He battled 30ft high waves and adverse currents on his voyage and celebrated each milestone with tots from his dwindling supply of whisky. He reached dry land at the end of July.

He confessed to bouts of loneliness during the solo trip and being reduced to talking to a pair of Dorado fish, which accompanied the craft for some of the voyage.

Mr Lewis also had close encounters with sharks, which scratched themselves on the hull of his 26ft, wooden craft, and an adult finback whale, which circled the boat.

"Who said life out on the big blue is dull?" the adventurer asked at the time.

Mr Lewis will take to the sea again after he has had a steel rod removed from his leg. The rod was inserted after he broke a leg during a road accident in the US.

The craft, Moksha, which was built at the former Maritime Museum in Exeter, also needs to be repaired. Moksha means liberation in Sanskrit.

Tomorrow the world

The adventurer aims to continue his journey to Australia by sea in the spring.

The next two sea stages are the 1,000 miles from Tarawa to Honiara in the Solomon Islands and the final 1,100 miles to Cairns on the Queensland coast of Australia.

The odyssey will then continue overland to the north coast, before the sea journey resumed by kayak and Moksha to Malaysia.

An overland trek through China, Thailand, Tibet and India will follow. Mr Lewis will then have to decide whether to continue towards Europe or cross the Indian ocean to East Africa.

The adventurer hopes to complete his voyage in three to four years.

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