Dan the Man Crosby’s
plastic surgery fibreglass surgery (as told by Allie Peter):
Poor old Dan – this happened in The Approaches when, sitting behind Ron Moir, he was sliced by a paddle from another kayak (I don’t think they even knew it had happened due to the general confusion in these rapids at the start of the race).
Dan put his hand up to wipe his nose and it wasn’t there – it had been moved to the side of his face and the blood was pouring. The River Doctor (“Dr Sir Rodney Ingles”) washed Dan’s nose in the pristine waters of the Umko, stitched the nose back in situ and sent Dan off to hospital where six eminent specialists said they could do nothing further for him – the River Doctor had done such a good job.
There was no infection and Dan could not sue the club as he was told by all KCC members that he was better-looking after this free re-arrangement of his rather prominent proboscis by fibreglass surgery.
And in fact that he was lucky we weren’t going to charge him for it.
Sorry to be so tardy with this. Better late than never so here is the gist of it.
The Ladies and the Lamp
Umkomaas. It must have been 1988 as we definitely finished 1986
and 1987 ( remember cyclone Demoina?). Ron Moir and I paddling doubles
and really feeling good having successfully negotiated rapids One
through Ten and past St. Josephine’s bridge and Old Cape Road….the
point of no return. That’s when disaster struck at Junction Rapid….or Close.
We were well and truly into the gorge where the river
twisted and turned its way with always steep cliffs on the outward
side of each bend. One little mistake and oopsie! We took a big swim.
That canoe disappeared never to be seen again and with it our drinks,
padkos and those Li-Lo’s that we had so cleverly stowed in the boat
so that in just this sort of predicament we could blow them up and
just float down to the overnight at Riverside. There we stood in our
tekkies and life vest, still clutching our paddles.
No going back….no choice but to press on.
It must have been about midday and hot and humid with the sky clouded
over. So onwards we battled through the tall grass. I kid you not the
grass was over head hight. There were no paths so we had to bulldoze
our way through and with no vision we relied on the rumbling roar of
that mighty river to guide us. So we cut the corners towards the
river which we came across at each twisty turn and there due to the
erosion of the bank ( those cliffs) we had to swim to the other side..
…and again,……and again. I cannot tell you how many time we swam
that river. Not a hut or path or any escape route in site.
Darkness fell. No stars or moon I guess due to the overcast sky. This is
where you really experience true darkness……I mean nothing, no
light at all . No distant glow from a neighbors house or motorway.
Could hardly see our own feet. No joke. So walk swim walk swim.
At last a lighting the darkness ! Up there on the hill. I must say by
this time we were really tired and the little rumblings had begun
over anything and everything. Whose fault we lost the boat…anything.
And we were debating the prospect of settling down for the night as
the prospect of swimming the river in this darkness was really
daunting. Not to say downright dangerous.
Well that glimmer of light put a new vigor into our tired bodies and we headed towards them, tripping and stumbling over rocks and whatnot as we climbed and at last….a settlement! Two rondawels to be exact. We shouted out joyfully at those sitting around a small fire to warn of our approach.
Imagine our amazement when we were greeted by a bevy of about five or six bare-breasted African maidens. Imagine there surprise to see two half dressed and decidedly ragged white men approaching out of the darkness .Friendly greetings , shy laughter , a little dancing. The menfolk are all away working in the cities, mines etc and they
tend the ” farm”. And yes we could rest and yes we could stay over……….and YES they new where all the other people who passed in boats were and could take us there!
How far we asked?
Not far. Just around the next bend.
Our hearts dropped…..disappointment! Those of you who have been
given the ” just over the next hill” as directions will understand.
There is always a next hill. So we set out lots of laughter and
dancing maidens leading the way. This would be their event of a
lifetime and a story told over and over. The ladies used a simple
candle held in front of a hotel type white saucer which reflected the
light forward as torches to show the way.
Miracle! The campsite was just around the bend and it was not long
before our guides had led us down the hill to the riverside and there
they were. Campfires , smell of food and the whole campsite out to
greet us. The reason for the big turnout was the lights from our
guides torches. Light where there shouldn’t be and they looked like
car headlights…..so cars where there was no road.
By now it was about 22h00 so Ron and I had been in the bush for close
on ten hours.
One small problem……the camp was on the other side. So after
goodbyes and friendly hugs and thanks to our guides you guessed it!
One more swim.
Hope this is what you were after Pete. I would look forward to
reading your edited version and really proud of a mention in your
book. I know it did make the Next days Mercury and amazing that after
so much time people still ask for the story. Ron was a great friend
and we paddled as a team for many years. Sadly he passed away about
three years ago. Had a heart attack while catching waves on paddle
ski. What a way to go.
Anyhow all best and good luck. Be nice to see you when I am up in
Durban. Alli and I are in regular contact.
Regards – Dan