Organisers of ‘Pope’s Dusi’ tackle water weed and crocs

2011-01-04 00:00

WHILE the preparations for the Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon 2011 continue, organisers are having to deal with the headache of the high levels of water hyacinth weed.

They say the weed is threatening the holding of the marathon, to be raced on February 17, 18 and 19.

The organisers said the alien weed grows by 15% per day in hot and humid conditions and — apart from starving the river of oxygen — it is dangerous for paddlers as they can get caught under it.

“We have never seen it this bad,” said race spokesperson Ray de Vries.

He said that with the Dusi Umgeni Conservancy Trust they have started supplementary spraying efforts.

“We have hired a professional to do this so that we can be sure that all the correct procedures are followed to get rid of the blockages.

He said entries are “pouring in” as paddlers scramble to enter the 60th edition of the event, which will be held in memory of “The Pope” — Graeme Pope-Ellis, who died tragically this year. The Pope was the greatest Dusi paddler ever with 15 wins and 46 consecutive Dusis.

De Vries said the authorities will also remove the crocodiles that have been seen on some stretches of the river.

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