Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking the plunge

It is a common feature in films: the protagonist moves towards the edge of a huge waterfall, carried along, inch by inexorable inch, towards certain death in a swift flowing river from which there is no escape. For one professional kayaker this scenario is the stuff of dreams rather than nightmares.

Jesse Coombs deliberately took on the 96ft drop at the Abiqua Falls in Oregon. So confident was he of his ability to take the plunge that he took his friend and photographer along to capture the momentous moment on camera. He followed in the footsteps of Tim Gross who had attempted to kayak this fall once before.

According to The Sun the Abiqua Falls is known as a very difficult waterfall descent. When Gross attempted it he dislocated both knees due to a bad landing, nevertheless Coombs decided to take the plunge. Coombs successfully completed the jump but did not emerge entirely unscathed as he suffered a shoulder fracture and collapsed lung.

After Coombs completed the jump world record holder Tyler Bradt took on the same falls. One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a rather fallish move as Bradt proved once more that you cannot attempt this jump without expecting injury (he broke his back but is now expected to make a full recovery.)

The entire fall took just three seconds (canoe imagine the exhilaration?!) but was captured gloriously on camera. (See The Sun website for more pictures)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't forget your Passport!

Yesterday two friends of mine (we’ll call them Mr B and Mr C) were supposed to set out on their adventure to cycle around Australia. This is a wheelie huge task with more than 12,600 miles to pedal starting from Darwin in the Northern Territory and travelling round Australia through some harsh terrain (not to mention the difficulties of avoiding stopping for too long down the famed East Coast.)

Flying out via Bali with their bikes and several panniers crammed full of essentials, the first few days were going to be a relaxed affair to prepare for the months of toil and tent-sharing ahead. However, as you may have noticed from the ‘hypothetical’ tone employed in this post everything has not gone to plan.

While the attempt to circumnavigate Australia on two wheels certainly qualifies these two for the Odd Balls Blog it is an error of epic proportions which has inspired me to write about them. After months of gentle teasing about their unpreparedness the day finally dawned for them to set off to Australia. On arrival at Mr B’s house, Mr C was asked if he had everything, passport, money, bike etc. Tyred of being mocked about being ready he pulled out his wallet and phone and responded flippantly “I expect these will help me get through most things.”

So together they travelled to the airport. While standing in the check-in queue Mr C turns to Mr B, and with panic rising within him stated: “I’ve left my passport in my scanner at home.” Now home for Mr C was an hour and a half away. It is an impressive feat to have been able to refrain from obsessively checking his passport on leaving his house/arrival at Mr B’s house/throughout the journey to the airport/any number of other moments when even the least neurotic person would have checked this small but essential item!

Mr C, who henceforth shall be known as The Muppet, headed home in an attempt to recover said passport and returned 25 minutes after the check- in had closed. He was not allowed to board the flight and will now be joining his compatriot (who had to board the flight alone and will be spending his time in Bali without The Muppet) at the weekend.

It would be fair to say that things have not got off to a flying start but I will keep you updated on whether Mr B has in fact killed The Muppet and indeed on their progress around Australia.