KEEP TRACK OF THESE TWO BIG ADVENTURES
This month Chris Bertish will hop on a custommade six-metre board and embark on the first-ever transatlantic SUP crossing, all alone, from Morocco to Florida (7 500 kilometres). WHY IS HE DOING THIS?
‘I can’t think of a better place in the world right now than to be on the open water. Life is simple on the ocean – all you think about is the sea, staying alive and managing your mental and physical state. This project has been a huge undertaking to bring into reality, but it’s going to have a monumental impact on the lives of millions of children in South Africa, and generations to come.’ Chris will be raising money to set up long-term funding annuities to feed children, pay for life-changing surgeries and build schools. Researchers in SA will be tracking Chris, his environment and experiences, and he’ll be collecting ocean data himself that will be broadcast in weekly classes for children at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. Watch Chris during the trip on thesupcrossing.com or tweet him: #theSupCrossing
JUST HOW MUCH CAN YOU PACK ON A SUP BOARD?
‘My paddle craft is the ultimate survival kit – it’s built with every possible technical safety aspect, including a water maker. It has VHS radio, a special wind instrument and a top forecasting communications system (via satellite).’ That said, he’s also taking a life raft, emergency grab-bag, flares, water bladders and multitool for repairs, plus hand-held backups of vital gadgets: VHF radio, sat-phone, manual water desalinator, GPS and extra solarpanel unit.
GADGETS ON BOARD:
• integrated GPS/radar system, plus a manual compass;
• AIS (automatic identification system) to communicate with nearby vessels;
• inReach Explorer personal locator beacon;
• Inmarsat BGAN (broadband global area network) for internet access;
• two sets of solar-panel units to power all electronics;
• autopilot system;
• personal drone;
• numerous GoPros;
• Wi-Fi for live streaming.
#TrekSouthAfrica is a six-month project recording our diverse countryside and the people who live in it. Follow the team, and you can get an intimate look into all of SA’s wilderness areas. Sam Chevallier shares his impressions so far How does this Trek work?
The way we explore each destination depends on its features. So we did a selfdrive 4x4 safari in the Kruger Park but hiked in the Drakensberg. The team [of six] visits each place together, spending four to five days there. There’s no way to predict one day to another.
What have you enjoyed the most so far?
Learning about the wildlife that is unique to an area – in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, people were extremely knowledgeable about that. I’ve met people who are dependent on their environment and so have a deep connection with it. In the Cederberg, for example, I learnt about the local ecology from some of the farm workers. I also went San tracking – that’s a skill mankind has truly lost.
Is there anything that has surprised you?
It’s incredible to see how people live so differently within the same country. The weather creates a difference – I’m currently in Limpopo as we speak, and we woke up at five this morning to avoid the heat. The people here seem so used to it. Another example: often the kind of landscape determines the type of employment within an area, so the diversity of SA’s biomes truly allows for incredible diversity in our skills set.
Any one highlight that stands out?
Walking through the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and coming across a young male lion. He got up out of the dry riverbed with a deep growl, then proceeded to submit into the thicket away from us.
Where does your love for nature come from?
A big turning point for me was doing my honours at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. We did a module on biomimicry, which is learning from unique, resilient designs, functions and processes within the natural world. It helped guide me into the perception of how intelligent the world we live in actually is. Follow #TrekSouthAfrica on Instagram or Drive South Africa’s Facebook page.
ini electric ‘I recently picked up a m s. It will be travel guitar in the State ill keep me tough out there, so this w company and sane!’
Sam (on the right) near Giant’s Castle, with fellow Trekker Luyanda Mfundisi (left) and Sam Mtshali, manager of the resort.