Last hurdle to New York rowing epic

2014-10-23 00:00

ADVENTURER Riaan Manser and his partner Vasti Geldenhuys will be rowing across the Hudson River in New York City this weekend.

Last June, after leaving behind the boat in which they had rowed nearly 11 000 kilometres across the Atlantic from Africa, they thought would it would be a simple matter to have it rowed across the Hudson — just over a kilometre wide at this point — from Manhattan to the container port for shipping home. However, there were no takers: “People either said they didn’t know the currents or the river traffic was too heavy.

“So we are flying over to row it across ourselves so it can be crated and shipped back home,” said Manser, adding the craft will then tour South Africa.

Manser was speaking to The Witness before the BlackBerry Experience presentation at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Umhlanga, yesterday.

Manser, the first person to cycle the African coast, a distance of 37 000 kilometres, has subsequently kayaked around Madagascar and circumnavigated Iceland in a two-man kayak with disabled partner Dan Skinstad.

Manser’s adventures began with a Sunday run in 2003 through New­lands forest in Cape Town. “I sat down on a rock. I was feeling great about my life … I had a good job, money in the bank, a great girlfriend.”

But Manser realised it would be back to work the next day. “For two days you do what you love …”

Manser had always dreamt of “taking a bike around Africa” so he did. It turned out to be a great adventure, though not without its occasional downside — like the time he was taken prisoner by Liberian rebels.

“ ‘Let’s gut him, let’s kill him, we are wasting time,’ some of them were saying.”

Meanwhile, while rifling his belongings, they found a magazine with a photograph of former president Thabo Mbeki on the cover. “He’s my friend,” said the rebel leader. “Go, before we kill you.”

Manser had told Geldenhuys he thought the trip would take him a year. It took two years, two months and 15 days. “Now if I go out to get bread and milk it’s a trust issue,” he joked.

Fast forward to 2013. “Out of the blue, Vasti said ‘I want to do something incredible in my life… I’ve always wanted to go to New York’.”

Manser responded: “Okay, but we’ll go my way.” Which turned out to be in a 6,9-metre boat with two oars. They pushed off from the coast of Morocco on December 5, the day Nelson Mandela died, and named their boat Spirit of Madiba.

They reached their destination 1,8 million oar strokes — each — later on June 20. For their short row this weekend, they will fly there.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.