Jason Lewis arriving at Greenwich, the same place the journey began 13 years ago.
Jason speaking to Erden at sea during the arrival ceremony.
The Canadian journey around the northern hemisphere.
First Human Powered Circumnavigation is completed!
October 6, 2007 - Day 89 11.3305N,149.0839W
Today around 12:30pm by local time, Saturday October the 6th, 2007, the Englishman Jason Lewis completed his life journey of a true circumnavigation by human power at the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Royal Observatory in England. Jason's success is a testimony to what the frail human body can accomplish when equipped with the commitment and the will power to drive it.
Jason started his odyssey together with Stevie Smith from that same spot in the mid 90's. They then bicycled to Lagos in Portugal after crossing the Channel in their purpose built pedal driven propeller boat, Moksha. The same boat would take them from there to Miami, after which Stevie chose to bicycle to San Francisco and Jason rollerbladed there. The rollerblades almost cost Jason his life when he was overrun by a car, breaking both of his legs.
After Jason's recovery and their reunion in San Francisco, the duo at first bicycled toward Central America with the eventual goal of launching Moksha from Peru. The El Niño conditions that year convinced them otherwise, and they returned, instead departing from San Francisco to reach Hawaii in 1996. In Hawaii, Stevie decided he had had enough and returned to England to write his book: "Pedaling to Hawaii," an excellent read (see our shopping helps link).
From Hawaii, Jason took off alone until Tarawa Atoll, then reached Australia via the Solomon Islands, patching a final section over the Great Barrier Reef by sea kayak, which preserved Moksha for future legs of his journey.
Jason bicycled to the inner heartlands of Australia with the express purpose of reaching the antipode on his circumnavigation route, which was a location diametrically opposite to a point on their path across the Atlantic. His Australian route was accompanied by a group of teachers and a whole educational program was built around that phase. He kayaked and bicycled the entire Indonesian Archipelago until Singapore. Indochina, China, Tibet, Nepal and India was his bicycle path over the Himalayas to Mumbai, where Moksha was waiting to take them to Djibouti.
The last phase of Jason's journey took him through Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and Middle East, through Turkey back to Europe. Finally he could look forward to a second crossing of the Channel for his return home.
I used to call the previous version of my journey "around the world" before I added the six summits in tribute to Göran Kropp. I used the word "circumnavigation" loosely until a Canadian declared his intentions for the "first human powered circumnavigation." Traveling exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere without touching the Equator, this was a lesser accomplishment, and the Canadian's declaration even boasted of a race against a British and an "American" expedition, meaning our Six Summits Project. I knew the media would eat up anything that had a "first" attached in front of it.
I complained to Jason Lewis in late summer of 2005 about this new declaration, praising Jason for having covered ground in both hemispheres, stating that a route which didn't cross the Equator was a polar circumnavigation on steroids. Jason wrote back that a true circumnavigation should include at least a pair of antipodes to be valid, noting that our Six Summits Project would cross more than one pair of antipodes, then referring me to various sources and to his correspondence with Guinness World Records. There were standards associated with this unique word, I then realized.
Eventually in May 2006, I obtained a copy of the August 2005 Guinness guidelines. A little more research that summer, led me to write our understanding of what should constitute a circumnavigation. Since then, Guinness has issued two other sets of guidelines, the last of which required antipodes for a circumnavigation claim, and crossing the Equator for a lesser "Around the World" claim.
When the Canadian journey was completed and a circumnavigation claim made, the popular media just had a feeding frenzy. When we wrote to the editors, mentioning antipodes and great circles, we were instructed to talk in layman's terms, and essentially treated like sore losers. I found this pathetic condescending behavior especially appalling when one such publication was the National Geographic Adventure magazine. In an ideal world, this magazine with "geography" in its name would have done its homework as any publication associated with a scientific journal should have, before writing about a geographic feat. Without traveling "beyond the horizon," without going to the "opposite ends of the world," could we claim to have "gone around completely?" For their benefit, I am including the Webster's definition of the same words below.
Since then, the definitive rules for circumnavigations of the world completed by human power have been published by AdventureStats of Explorers Web, Inc., an independent panel of international historians, geographers and explorers, whose conclusions will ratify existing guidelines held by the Guinness Book of Records. The August 2007, V14(8) issue of Expedition News, an online publication popular among the presdigious Explorers Club members, also covers this debate.
A true circumnavigation of the earth (around the world) according to AdventureStats must:
* Start and finish at the same point, traveling in one general direction
* Reach two antipodes (Antipodes = two diametrically opposite places on Earth)
From the above follows that a true circumnavigation must:
* Cross the equator
* Cross all longitudes
* Cover a minimum of 40,000km or 21,600NM (a great circle)
Main Entry: an·ti·pode
Inflected Form(s): plural an·tip·o·des
Etymology: Middle English antipodes, plural, persons dwelling at opposite points on the globe, from Latin, from Greek, from plural of antipod-, antipous with feet opposite, from anti- + pod-, pous foot - more at foot
1 : the parts of the earth diametrically opposite -usually used in plural -often used of Australia and New Zealand as contrasted to the western hemisphere 2 : the exact opposite or contrary
Main Entry: cir·cum·nav·i·gate
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Latin circumnavigatus, past participle of circumnavigare to sail around, from circum- + navigare to navigate
: to go completely around (as the earth) especially by water