Well what can I say, there’s been has been so much happening since the last update, where to begin….?! Lots of great news and videos to share.
First up, the big news, new sponsors. Mayo Hardware and Vaikobi have very generously come on board.
Mayo Hardware, a family owned business, is a market leader in outdoor lifestyle, safety, security and hardware. Very much seen as a supplier of value, they work with their customers to create value that can be captured and shared. Not only do they focus on their customers, they embrace the principles of sustainability. They’re committed to conducting their operations in a manner which reduces environmental risk and adverse effects on the environment. You can find out more about their business on their website - www.mayohardware.com.au.
Vaikobi create the world’s most innovative technical apparel for ocean athletes. It’s their mission to increase both performance and comfort. I’m a massive fan of their gear, it’s what I wear. As do most of the people I paddle with. Check out their website to see their clothing - www.vaikobi.com.
I was super excited when they offered supply clothing for the expedition! Having the right gear for this trip is vital – given I’ll be paddling 5 hours plus each day, I definitely need to be comfortable.
A huge thank you to Mayo Hardware and Vaikobi for their incredibly generous support!
PADDLING ON THE NILE!!
There’s no playbook on how to organise an expedition like this. No guidelines, no website. It’s trial and error, emails, calls, heaps of research and finding and talking to experts...
A piece of advice I was given was to go to some of the key countries before the expedition. To meet with government officials and head into the Embassies. It’s all about getting support for the expedition and making sure you’ve got the numbers of people to call if there are issues.
So I did exactly that and put myself on a plane to Egypt and Sudan. The trip was a huge success, going way beyond any hopes and expectations I had. Below is a video with a summary of how it all went along with some footage and photos from the trip.
I hit the jackpot when I contacted the Australian Embassy in Egypt. They were AMAZING. Not only did they set up key meetings with ministries and CARE locally, they came along to these meetings and when I sat down with them to talk about the expedition they were super enthusiastic and supportive. They've already put it out on their Facebook page.
We met with the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sport and Egyptian Tourism Authority and in then Sudan, with the Minister of Tourism. They were all incredibly supportive, with the both Tourism officials agreeing to coordinate the approvals and security. Massive result!!
The meetings with CARE International in Cairo and Khartoum were brilliant, full of energy. They had so many great ideas to help promote the expedition and ways to share what CARE is doing there.
In researching this trip I came across Mustafa Mansour. He went to the 2012 Olympics in London and in doing so, became the first Egyptian kayaker to compete in the Olympics. I sat down and chatted to him about how he got into kayaking and his experience at the Olympics.
Not only did I get to meet and interview him, he took me out for a paddle and introduced me to some of his squad. Getting out on the Nile, doing what I love, was an amazing experience and a highlight of the trip. I couldn’t help but imagine being here, hopefully in a year’s time on the final stretch of the expedition. I got emotional just thinking about it.
In Khartoum I also met local kayakers. Again, they were all so incredibly welcoming and wonderful to hang out with. As well as taking me out for a paddle they took me out on a boat and showed me where the Blue and White Nile meet. You really can see the difference in the water from these rivers. It was so much fun with them - the first video above has footage.
I managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing too. In Egypt Mustafa and Ali played tour guides and very kindly took me out to a few of the sights, including the Pyramids. I stood there in absolute awe, looking up at this mind boggling feat of ancient engineering that has survived the ravages of time. It was incredible to see, even in the 40C heat!
It was a superb trip. Everyone I met was so incredibly supportive, kind, generous and ready to help out and be part of the expedition. I came away even more excited about the expedition, and I’m itching to get started.
More good news - the word is getting out! The Wentworth Courier, the local paper here, published a fab story. There's a link here. The ABC News picked up on the article and contacted me - would I be interested in doing an interview to go out on the Breakfast show? Ah, hell yeah! We filmed the interview down at Rose Bay - you can watch it here.
There have been a few more requests for interviews and sharing what I'm doing, which is brilliant. Will have more updates in the next newsletter.
TRAINING AND RACING
Training has been going really well. Seeing my pace increasing and definitely getting stronger. I got to put it into practice in a race a couple a weeks ago. A group of us from Jim Walker’s training squad headed up to the Northern Beaches for The Chucky memorial. The team had some great results – six podium finishes from the squad! Below is a video from the day. Now it's less than seven weeks til the World Championships in Hong Kong. Training intensity is gonna go up!
DATE FOR THE DIARY!!
On 14 October, we’ve got a fundraiser for CARE Australia down at Woollahra Sailing Club. The Shark Island Paddlers have been amazing organising this. All the details will be out on Facebook soon, so keep an eye out. We’re going to have some fabulous food, music and great prizes in the raffle.
Well that's about it for now. Have to say there are days when my head is spinning! Then I remind myself how much has been done and how well it's all progressing.
I'm loving the journey and sharing it with you all.