A friend of ours was getting a crowd together to experience the 'serenity' of rowing on a river. I refused point blank to go on any water - I feel safe with my feet firmly on Mother Earth. But Conroy managed to twist the old rubber arm and accepted the offer, being assured by our friend that she has done it twice and both times they had to carry their two-man canoes from one lonesome pond of water to another- this was very assuring!
We invited my best friend Lenie (by the way Lenie is getting married on 2 December this year in Ermelo), who cannot swim at all to join us on this adventure.
1997 was a good rainfall season and the Orange River was flowing strong - just our luck! Our 5-day rowing journey started at 'Oewerbos' in Namibia. The first two days went relatively smoothly. We settled into the rythm of rowing/steering a two-man canoe through a full but calm river. We also enjoyed sleeping under the stars at night with scorpions lurking around the fireplace.
On the third day the Big Orange decided to show us what it was made of and whilst going through a medium graded rapid we capsised. Conroy managed to get to safe ground without any damage except for some dignity being shattered. Me on the other hand was swept by the current about one kilometer down stream. Apart from trying to keep one's head above water, one also had to hold onto one's oar (if you wanted to complete the 5 day adventre). With a strong current, heavy strop sandles and an oar to cling onto, it was very difficult to keep one's head above the surface. Clinging onto rocks was also made difficult due to the strong current pressing one so hard against a rock that it hurt too much to keep hanging on. After what seemed like an eternity the rowing party's leader/tour operator Louis managed to manoevre his canoe up to me and held out a very welcome rescuing arm. Our belongings (all in a blue plastic barrel) was picked up a few kilomtres down stream in calmer waters. Fortunately these blue barrels were leak proof.
Keep watching out for new layouts on our 1997 Orange River Expedition. They will be added to the Flicker headed 'Orange River Expedition' on the right.