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African Kayaker Hendri Coetzee Shares His First Impressions of FA Kayak Team
Posted on November 1, 2010

Hendri Coetzee is an African whitewater expedition guide who will accompany the FA Kayak Team during its expedition of the White Nile in Africa.

By Hendri Coetzee

I was late to the arrivals hall and a few dollars poorer thanks to the military checkpoint outside the airport. A few taxi drivers stood around trying to scrounge business from the last tired foreigners arriving through the drab glass doors. I looked around for any sign of my new best friends. It’s never easy going into the unknown, and it’s not ideal with a team you have never met. They are going to have to trust me, and I will have to trust them. Losing them at the airport would not be an ideal start.

Eventually, they emerged one by one from the harsh, neon lights into the garden outside where I had been waiting. There were strong handshakes and straight looks as we weighed each other up as fast as possible.

The ride back was filled with small talk and petty details that told me nothing. It was only when I saw them sitting in their kayaks that I relaxed. If nothing else, these guys can kayak. I could tell that even before we got to the rapids.

The first week is done, and it’s been a good one. Showing people who share my passion around the backyard is a joy. Learning from them as they look at it with new eyes is a pleasure. As can be expected when getting stuck into the big stuff, it has not all been easy sailing. In this game, like most others, it’s all about confidence. Tomorrow we start the infamous Karuma-to-Murchison Falls section, and all indications are that it will be the highest level in years.

Author: - Monday, November 1st, 2010

  1. atlantaguy

    Latest news: As of December 9, 2010, reports are that Hendri Coetzee was killed by a Crocodile while in a Kayak, leading others on some sort of expedition/survey. They were in an area known for being heavily populated by Crocs and Hippos (not sure why they’d still be in a tiny Kayak in such infested waters regardless of experience, though). Regardless, reports are he was pulled from his boat, and dragged off. No body has been recovered. The other two men with him escaped. RIP.

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