As Good Books Go

Talking about ‘fuck’ – I read a wonderful book ‘Duzi Fever’ by an entertaining old bugger Rob Gouldie who did the 1955 Dusi. I once heard him give a hilarious talk at Kingfisher. He has since shuffled off down his final rapid. Excerpts: On portaging on the Duzi – “Negotiating barbed wire fences was a […]

Paddling the Umkomaas

I only paddled the actual race once (1983 Hella Hella to Goodenough’s) but I was lazy and slow and the long days with cut-off times didn’t suit! Getting-a-move-on is not my forte. So I used my tripping excuse to volunteer for sweep duties. We would paddle ahead of the start at Hella Hella bridge in […]

Tugela Gorgeous – Boats & Bosoms

Bernie Garcin (Bernie and the Jets), Doug Retief (Doug the Thief), Dave Walker (Lang Dawid) and me at Fig Tree Sandbank campsite, one of the planet’s most beautiful spots. Three plastic (or ‘tupperware’) Perception Dancers and one Quest in 1984 and 1985 – we went both years. In those early days old-timers would still mock […]

Fishermen’s Tales

Two avid fishermen, Lungelo and me went down to the sea. Or to the Umtamvuna River at The Old Pont. Lungelo and I were not the avid ones. That was Tommy and Ryan, passionate, persevering pêcheurs. Fishermen in blue.     Luxury accommodation on the banks of the Umtamvuna.   Besides the river fishing I […]

Berg River Freeze

“Please tell him not to. He’ll never make it”. That’s what Jacques de Rauville told my business partner when he heard I was going to do the Berg River Canoe Marathon. He had come across me one evening on the Bay and I’d asked which way to go, it being my first time out there […]

River trip Deepdale – Hella Hella

We left Bernie’s white Ford Escort at Hella Hella with the Porters, and drove round to Deepdale in my white Ford Cortina. Linda Grewar (who became a notable paddler herself – she later won the Fish river marathon mixed doubles with Bernie!) then drove my car back to Durban. ‘Seconds’! ‘Helpers’ ‘Chauffeurs’! What would we […]

Just Before Inanda Dam

1990 saw the completion of Inanda Dam on the Umgeni River. As always, a dam profoundly changes the river and the valley. Yet another river tamed to serve our insatiable thirst. It also changed the Dusi Canoe Marathon, inundating the Day Two sandbanks and creating a 10km flatwater haul to the new overnight stop at […]

We Kayak the Kalahari

As a schoolboy I was keen on kayaking and was tickled by a cartoon depicting a kayak on dry land trailing a dust plume with the caption Kalahari Canoe Club! I kept that on my wall for years. Kayak’ing in the desert was just a joke, right!? In January 2010 we got to the Kalahari […]

Twilight River Serenade

When I paddled the Berg river marathon, that crazy 200km (‘241km Pete!’ Giel van Deventer reminds me. He’s the Berg historian) freezing flatwater foolishness, the oldest oke in the race was Ole man Myers (ancient: 60 if he was a day). He lost his boat one night when the waters rose (he’d left it too […]