Its been awhile since i did the BC 4* Sea Training in Koh Chang with my paddling buddies, Madi and Nate, but after 4 years, on June 2018, we all finally passed the assessment. *hip hip hooray!*
The assessment was actually the easy part. ...Organising it, was an adventure itself!
Since the training in 2014, we've been putting the assessment on hold a number of times, plus we were in a region where the BC 4 star sea assessment was not widely organised. So in 2018, we thought, "hey, why not organise one ourselves, before our training expires for good!"
On January 31, I arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport, but there was a 3.5 hour delay in exiting the airport, as a tourist on the plane had lost all her American dollars kept in her luggage whilst on the plane. So everyone had to go through many security checks before leaving the airport. So after i got through the exit hall to meet my pick-up driver, which i thought should be super pissed by now, I saw nothing but the widest smile from a man in his 20's, waving his hand to me, calling out, "welcome Malaysia!".
Why in the world would anybody paddle upstream? Its as hard as a 5km run, which, in case you're wondering, is super hard for me! Ok, ok, maybe a better example would be cycling up a 45 degree off-road slope without gears. Its going against gravity without the help of any mechanics.
On the 25th of November, Madi and I had a BCU (British Canoe Union) 3 Star Sea Kayak training and assessment week in Koh Chang, Thailand. What interest me most was not so much about the course (which was fantastic by the way!), but the journey and the obstacles we had to overcome to get to Koh Chang. It felt as if some sort of force was trying to stop us from getting to Koh Chang!
Click on map for a bigger view
On the eve of Christmas in1941, Spencer Chapman, a British soldier from 101 Special Training School, and his reconnaissance team was sent behind enemy lines to gather information on the Japanese advancement and to meet the raiding party at Sungai Trong. After traveling through dense jungle from Parit to the Bruas road, they were unable to reach the rendezvous in time and had to find their way back to headquarters. Not knowing where the front line was, their plan was to slip down the Perak river at night at Parit, which will lead them straight to Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan), beating the Japanese who were on their way to take on Singapore. Sargent-Major Patterson, Sargent Sartin and Lieut.-Col Chapman would travel 50 kilometers on a badly holed ferryboat, without engine, through unknown territory where bombing and machine gunning was constant.
For more on this writeup click on Learning Adventures link below:
Click here for more photos in the Albums page under the title "Retracing a soldiers path - Escape via Sungai Perak"
The Wind River Range seemed like the ultimate wilderness experience, which it is! ...Except for one thing, mosquitoes in the summer. I thought mosquitoes in Malaysia were bad, but I was dead wrong, in the Wind River Range, they were vicious little bastards. They were everywhere, and they were there by the thousands and thousands. There wasn't any point to try and kill them, because they had friends everywhere. Every little chance they'd get, like the little 0.4 cm gap on the arm between gloves and the jacket sleeve, or the 0.6 cm space on the legs between the socks and the pants, you're open for donation.
Paddling the Whanganui River, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, was a dream come true. From the put-in at Taumarunui, hundred and forty five kilometers down the river, to the take-out at Pipiriki, in a canoe through a landscape of lush green hills and bush clad valleys, in Whanganui National Park, South West of the North Island.
Every trip abroad had a significant memory. The New Zealand trip was no different either. The problem was, too much happened during the 7.5 months together with Irene. Its difficult to pin point the highlight of the trip. So I thought i'd list down all the significant moments that i can remember and see where that would lead me.