Dusi Canoe Marathon

Hello, just back from South Africa, very nice.

Right now one of the top news stories on the TV and newspapers there is the upcoming 58th Dusi Canoe Marathon, which starts on Thursday.

The Dusi runs from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, 125km, 3days, 1,500 participants (!) in all manner of craft.

As well as various rapids, weirs and portages, hazards include: e-coli, water hyacinths, and crocodiles.

In 2008, Michael Mbanjwa became the first black person to win the Dusi, competing in the K2 class together with teammate and 7 times champion Martin Dreyer. This year, Mbanjwa is entering the K1 event, while Dreyer is putting his energies into a new project to get local villagers involved in kayaking – over the last 3 months, he has been working with a group of herdsmen who live alongside the Dusi, providing training, equipment and backup so that they can enter the race down their local river.

What is really noticable is the sheer amount of media coverage this canoe race generates in SA – the race hadn’t even started yet, and there were already full page features in the national newspapers, interviews with past winners on the TV, together with highlights of previous years, i.e. fibreglass K2s getting kerunched on the rapids, and paddler profiles and speculation about who will win in the Sports pages. The routemap is  printed on cans of beer and bottles of  pop. Nice to see kayaking in the news.



White Christmas

A trip planned based on the theory that I can’t possibly be with my family at Christmas, so I am going to encourage everyone else to skip out on theirs as well. Skipping out on family turned out to be less popular than I expected, the only locals to make the trip were JimBob & Andy Ince.  Joined by the orphans for the year, myself, Ed, Dan, Sharon (Aus), Thai (Alaska) all going to visit Chris (exiled in France for a Season).

The tone for the trip was very much set on the first night, we laid out or luggage to discover we had more bottles of spirits than we had people. Obviously to get through all this we would need to be drinking all day… Christmas presents were given early and by day two everyone was packing a hipflask filled with their spirit of choice. Which helped to build up courage above the black runs, and also reduced the price of our nights out. One round can last all night when you can load up with every trip to the bathroom.

Christmas eve I am told was good… somewhere along the line we invented “Irish Russians”. A bit like a White Russian, only replace the milk with Baileys… then for some reason everything gets a little hazy.

Christmas gifts continued, and on Christmas morn we were all packing Santa Suits provided by Dan. So by mid afternoon Seven “Sober” Santas dragged themselves to the top of the mountain. In order to slide back down.

Thats about it, Video was created by Thai. Much thanks to everyone who came along and made it my best Christmas since landing in the Northern Hemisphere (Same time next year?).

Stay Classy…