On reaching the base we were to tired to feel achievement.
All we wanted was food and rest.
After a freezing cold night we prepared Vici for rafting.
Loading Vici onto the raft with some of our gear.
With Graham at the helm, HMS Vespa set sail.
The rest of us prepared Vidi...
...for the overland trek.
Johnnie recording the first tyre tracks to be laid in the base of the Fish River Canyon.
Graham fell into the river with all our sleeping bags. He made a pretty sight...
...water ran down his clothes into his socks and out the holes in his self repaired boots.
...and looking for suitable landing spots.
After that we floated the raft down stream with us on the banks guiding...
While the equipment was hauled overland – stretcher style.
The terrain ahead didn’t look too encouraging.
Peter went ahead on reconnaissance and returned 30 minutes later.
He reported it was difficult to negotiate on foot...
...and impossible to ride over. He suggested a man swim with the raft.
Sounded like a good idea – so he got the job.
In he went clothes and all into the freezing water.
After only 5 minutes with cramps in his legs he was forced to abandon the raft.
That evening found both scooters and raft secured on the river bank.
It had been a frustrating day. Progress had been slow – one day one mile.
Sunup the next day the raft was re-inflated.
This time Aubrey swam with the raft.
He reported a leak and that the raft was deflatingt.
We decided to ferry the raft across the river and repair it on the other side.
But that was not to be. Deflating rapidly it capsized plunging the scooter into the river.
With ropes entangled around his body Aubrey was dragged down into the murky depths.
We stood helpless, unable to assist. We thought he wouldn’t make it.
Suffering shock and exhaustion the indespesible Aubrey manageg to reach the river bank and safety,
We had lost our second scooter and all our mechanical spares. Vici would conquer no more.
Reluctantly we left Vici in her watery grave.
The canyon is a beautiful place but it is difficult to judge distances here.
What appears to be only a few feet away…
…takes hours to negotiate.
Climbing up a smooth granite rock face we tried not to think of the consequences of falling in.
Vidi was brought along a deep and long pool. She had to get through. All our hopes were pinned on her.
In the distance we saw some greenery where we set up camp.
Johnnie recorded the days events. The loss of our second scooter and the near loss of a team member.
The midday temp was 41.6°c in the shade and there had been very little shade.
We prepared meals that wouldn’t take long and even less time to eat. Porridge for dinner...
...and dehydrated stew for breakfast.
We wondered, had this prospector found his riches. We doubted it.
Leaving the most exhausted man in camp that morning.
He tried his hand at fishing.
We came across many varied game trails, This is the track of wild Egypttian Geese.
A large bird with beautiful markings.
The only enemy of the thousands of baboons who inhabit the canyon...
…is the leopard and it wasn’t long…
…before we came across his spoor.
We brought Vidi along a deep pool.
With mud and water in her petrol tank we carried her ashore.
Graham stripped the carburetor more than once in desperation to get her going.
Depressed we sat and waited our morale sinking...
...as fast as the fading sunlight.
Suddenly she burst into life. The light switched on to show all was well.
We were not beaten. as long as Vidi had fight we would head towards Ai Ais.
Aubrey brought some culture by wearing pajamas each night.
One group moved ahead with equipment, the other battled along with the scooter.
Stopping to record events we were passed by a large group of trekkers.
Later we found a message written in the sand.
We didn’t think we were mad. We only knew we were exhausted and a long way from Ai Ais.
Constant emersion in water and mud...
...had taken its toll on the overworked engine.
The fine mica dust had wreaked havoc on the sensitive electrics.
Without the spares we had lost when Vici sank we could not effect any repairs.
We lay Vidi to rest like a dear departed friend and covered her with reeds.
From 10 foot back. you couldn’t see her. But, her resting place was etched deep in our minds.
With heavy hearts and even heavier loads we said goodbye and moved out towards the palms.