Gathered under African Skies, Athletes, Officials, Volunteers, and Support Staff from around the world, joined with the Local Organizers and workers for what has been an amazing event on Roodeplaat Dam.
The experience was almost lost when a freak wind and lighting storm hit the venue in the evening a day before the event. We were enjoying an amazing lightning show in the night sky many kilometers away when the storm turned and hit us at such speed and force that tents came down, seating and umbrellas plastic chairs and tables flew across the site and some into the Dam, Gazebos were shattered while powerboats broke their moorings. The lightening was fierce and all those present were gathered, accounted for and provided with cover until 1.30 am when all were back in their tents or homes as the storm had passed. At the end of the following day the venue was once again a sight to behold (restored) and the World Masters Regatta was ready to get underway.
This is my third major regatta in three different countries and South Africa turned on an event to be proud of and to a standard, the equal of others I have attended. Athletes from 46 countries have enjoyed good water, African food and culture, excellent facilities and the most accommodating team of officials and workers. The news from our rowers at home who were attending the Interprovincial Regatta at Ruataniwha Twizel and experiencing snow to the waters edge were in stark contrast to the 30 degree plus temperatures we were experiencing at Roodeplaat. We have also enjoyed the wildlife, sightings of Kudu, Impala, Water Buck and Zebra coming to the waters edge along the last 250 metres to watch the racing. It has made it an absolutely unique experience and one to cherish.
It has been nice to catch up with Kiwis who now live in South Africa and who were only too happy to offer assistance and hospitality. While there were only four from NZ, Simon Walker Umpiring, Carol and Dennis Howard plus myself working on the water and on the ground we have not been short of friends amongst the locals and for me it has been such a wonderful experience I would return again without hesitation. The exchange rate is certainly agreeable.
So there we have it. A most wonderful experience with great people participating in a great sport. As I head off into the Kruger national Park for phase two of my adventure I only hope I have as much fun on safari whether its for sighting magnificent animals or o the Wine safari tasting the local beverages while taking in the sights of this beautiful country.
From Tshwane South Africa