Durban - South Africa’s newly-wed adventurer couple’s honeymoon is only just beginning - on land.
Richards Bay-born Riaan Manser and his wife, Vasti, are finding their land feet in Hawaii after 39 days spent breaking the world record for rowing across the mid-Pacific on board their tiny vessel “Honeymoon” as the first part of their holiday.
They beat the previous record by six days.
“Our bodies are still buggered. We’re suffering and hobbling around,” Riaan said in a phone interview from Honolulu.
Describing the trip, that was characterised by high waves and ocean litter, as “no honeymoon”, he said they were now going to enjoy Hawaii, stretching their rands to the limit.
“There are so many things to do in Hawaii, like surf at Waikiki, North Beach and the Banzai Pipeline. We also want to visit the islands of Kauai and Maui,” he said. “We’ll make the best of his opportunity.
Riaan said the names of South African canoeists, Hank McGregor and Oscar Chalupsky, carried weight in his conversations with locals who remembered them for their victories in the Molokai Challenge.
He also said the quantities of plastic pollution in the ocean, from Monterey Bay, Cali-fornia, to Hawaii, were an eye-opener.
“We could probably see 10m every side of us and for two or three weeks, every 10 to 15 seconds on either side of us was a chunk of plastic. I’m not talking bottle tops - massive crates. Crates people keep fish in. And that was just along the little line we followed across the sea.”
He said he shuddered to think how much pollution there was in the entire ocean.
A career adventurer of 15 years, he said he had to be creative to make each adventure more interesting. “Our ancestors were the real deal when it came to exploring.”
Vasti said it felt “weird” to be back on land.
“It’s like we never left”. She added that in spite of having done previous ocean trips, this journey had been tough.
“It was very dangerous. We didn’t have one day of calm seas. The first half was totally miserable. After halfway, though, the sun came out and we caught some fish.”
Vasti said they only realised they had a good chance of breaking a mid-Pacific rowing record three days before they reached their destination.
They were the fastest Open Class pair in history to row the mid-Pacific from East to West. They were also the first mixed pair to row the mid-Pacific and are the first South Africans to row any Pacific route, according to their publicist, Karen Jurgens.
Jurgens said that the previous record for the fastest mid-Pacific Ocean crossing had been set about two weeks before by a four-man rowing team.Independent on Saturday