Marcels se monster…

It just so happened this year that big water fish and Orange River canoe marathon were on the same long weekend. Perfect excuse to drive 2056km (Cpt. Cam informed us accurately at the pre-trip meeting) to paddle 120km of river. I have done the orange once before 2 years ago, it was just me and my paddling partner from UCT in a lonely field of 30 boats. Well stoked that we won the u21 K2 (we were the only u21 K2) and with the infamous “Gert se perd” and “marcels se monster” rapids there were more than enough stories to tell the guys at home.

The following year a small crew ventured off to the orange to tackle the formidable rapids and came back with stories of infamous “Clementine Pub”.  Where paddlers got involved in arranged marriage agreements not to mention what they cannot remember.

So it was time that we ventured back to see what really goes on at the Clementine and whether we could master Gert en sy monster.

Needless to say the trip started with a little chaos as “Kurt Darren” missed his lift due to some “Kate” night antics involving Tin Roof (A well frequented student watering hole). So Kurt got a lift with us at a later stage only to be fined heavily at the “Clementine” later that evening.  As it turns out the “Clementine” was actually the Naartjie and students did what they do best that evening, got rather festive turning day one of the Orange into a somewhat extended day on the river.

In any case Day 1 was awesome with lots of rapids on a huge river and friendly locals.  It is just rather sad that this race has become so small (UCT making up half the field). In true student canoeing style we all rocked up at the finish line having no means of getting back to camp and had to hitch rides with the local paddlers.

Jimbo and me on Marcels                                            

Blood sugar management has always been a difficulty on the rivers. If you do pull to the side it is nearly impossible to get blood out your finger and onto the test strip.  Often you just take your best guess, test just before you get on the water and just after. Paddling in a K2 helps though. My partner, Jimbo often notices my sugar dropping before I do!

Day2 however was a different experience yet easily summarised… 20km of wide open flat straights, two of the most  F*%@ ‘ing colossal, massive, ridiculous rapids(Gert se perd and Marcels se monster) you have seen in your life and another 20km of paddling up stream(or it just seemed that way).  I didn’t help that I hadn’t paddled for a few months prior.

Although the field was really small, it was really cold, we had to drive for  nine hours and I was NOT fit enough, the awesome tiny town vibes, crazy friends, massive rapids and good banter were worth it and I shall go back.