Author Topic: Adventurers  (Read 37694 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2007, 02:24:25 AM »
When we first decided to go on that trip, one of the first things we did was go to a travel doctor who vaccinates you for all kinds of shit and gives you pills to ward off any number of things.  On our last visit to him, he asked me if I planned on getting in the water.  I said noooo way, buddy.  He told me it wasn't a big deal if I did, but that I should be careful not to urinate with my waist below the water because of those fish Nach posted the article about.  Just the story of that fish alone was enough to keep me out of the water the whole week.

The problem was that most trips on the Amazon are in January or February as it's fairly warm and it's a dry part of the year.  As a result, the river was down probably 7 to 8 feet when we got there, so all the good fishing spots were sometimes a mile off the main river through very shallow water.  I'd say that within the first half hour of getting onto our first boat, before we'd even had a chance to use our rods, our guide ran the fishing boat aground... and we had to get out and push.  Our first day there and I'd say I was in the water maybe a total of five times.

They tell you that if you're walking around in the river, you should always sort of shuffle your feet to move because there are freshwater stingrays all over the place... if you kick them rather than step on them, you're less likely to get stung, but really it doesn't fucking matter either way because stingrays in the water is unnerving.  Couple that with the fact that we've flown about 2 hours out of Manaus, Brazil into the jungle and for hundreds of miles in all directions there is absolutely nothing and the thought of being stung by a stingray is scary for a whole new slew of different reasons I hadn't thought of before.

I guess of all the things that stick with me about my week there, it's the intensity of nature there.  It's kind of like stepping into Jurassic Park or something becuase there is so much shit out there that can hurt you.  You see things move out of the corner of your eye and realize you're not just seeing things, it's a snake or an alligator or a monkey.  The fish most often caught on any given day is called a dogfish.  They have poisonous bites that can really mess up your skin.  You're not allowed to handle them at all and every one of the guides killed any that we caught.  Sometimes we'd throw them in the water and you could watch pirhanas eat them.  It's just everywhere and it's unforgiving and it's a rush just being out in it, not to mention that the fish you're catching are among the most stupidly violent I've ever witnessed.

Peacock bass are highly territorial which is part of the reason they're so much fun to catch.  They will hit a lure as many times as they have to to eat it... once I hooked one only to have it leap out of the water and toss my lure... it dove back into the water and then came up and hit my Dad's and Dad caught the fish.  :)  You use these lures called woodchoppers that are maybe 6 or 8 inches long and have huge propellers on either side.  They make a buzzing sound if you pull them through the water right and it drives peacocks nuts.  Typically, you'll be fishing and all you see is just a huge V rip out from under a log or near the shore... and it's just humming right at your bait.  So a lot of times, you've got a second to prepare yourself, and then when the fish finally hits there is just an explosion of water everywhere.  It looks like what you'd imagine would happen if someone dropped a 30 inch television into the water from a 2 story building.  The next minute or two is total chaos as you try to out wrestle a 15 pound fish that feels like it's about to pull you right off the boat.

The trip itself is physically daunting.  After an hour of hucking woodchoppers through the water, it feels more like boot camp.  You just want to rest or fish with a fucking bobber or anything... anything but fling this murderious chunk of wood out there again.  After the trip, my arms would be so swollen that I couldn't put on my watch for an entire week.  If I ever go on a trip like this again, then I'm working out for a good 6 months beforehand, because it was exhausting.

The day we went out with Leno was the worst as far as how much time we spent in the water.  The guide he was following was dead set on getting to this place at least a mile off the main river channel.  For 2 hours, both ways, we'd drive the boat forward 15 or 20 feet, run aground and then have to push it another 20... over and over again for most of the morning.  At one point, we were in a shallow little alcove and I could see thousands of these black minnows swimming around my feet.  I pointed down to them and Leno says, "Pee-rah-na!".  Sweet.

FINALLY we get back to this hole and start to fish.  In the distance, I can see the other guide and the two guy's he's with catch a pretty large peacock bass and as he does, the second guy tosses a lure at a log which then turns and swallows his bait... he's got an alligator on the line.  What was even more amazing was that they wrestled the thing into the boat and got the lure back.

After maybe an hour of fishing, it was time to turn around and start the 2 hour trek back towards the channel for lunch.  With the other guide in front of us, Leno starts to follow him back the way we'd come.  I may have mentioned that the other guides had clearly stuck Leno with the shittiest of the fishing boats.  The thing was abysmal.  It would stall and take him minutes to restart.  Multiple times, Leno had the cover off the top of it to work on it... he'd get it going again and then we'd run into a log or sandbar and it would stall again.  While all this is happening, the guide he's following is getting further and further away, so Leno is becoming more and more frantic each time the motor stalls.

Eventually we start getting back into some deeper water again and the boat's able to travel pretty well without running aground.  Leno's now 50 or 100 feet behind the second guide and we're zipping along a space of river that's maybe 20 feet wide.  As we approach a fork in our little channel, I see the lead boat turn left and disappear around a corner.  Leno follows him, only just as we're beginning to turn left, Leno and I see a little man paddling a canoe made from a hollowed out tree... and he is right in the middle of the path of water we're headed to.  My Dad is sitting in the front of the boat sitting so that he's looking out the back, so he doesn't even see this guy.  Leno panics and instead of throttling down and trying to avoid him, he just jerks the steering wheel right and heads off down the other portion of the fork.  This would have been fine, except for the massive tree down across the width of it.  The tree is only a few inches below water and we hit it full tilt... I just see my father roll over backwards, his feet up in the air and then I'm hit in the back of the head by the cover of the motor as it goes flying out the front of the boat.  There was a very brief moment there where I thought we were in big trouble.  Everyone was very quiet as we mentally checked that our arms and legs were still attached and that we weren't being ambushed by tigers or angry hornets that had been living in the downed tree.  The little dude in the canoe is now sitting 20 feet away just looking at us like we're going to start doing magic tricks or something.  The motor had tilted all the way forward as far as it could go and we could see clearly that Leno had destroyed the prop. Somehow he managed to get the damn thing started again and we were able to limp back to the main boat for food.

I survived with just a bump on the head and luckily Dad was able to stay in the boat.  After lunch that day, though, Leno had a new boat with a much better motor. :) 
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2007, 07:50:51 AM »
http://www.amazonswim.com/main.php?S=1&Article=154&mpage=1

So he made it...after being attacked by pirates, contracting a larval infection, and arriving at the finish line in critical condition.

NPR's follow-up today has him still in ICU.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2007, 12:28:41 PM »
Unbelievable... I'm amazed he made it.
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 12:34:29 PM »
Yeah.  Barely. 

I wish their blog was a bit more in depth instead of stuff like: Martin swam alot today.  Piranhas like meat.  We slept well that night.  Watch out for bandits!  Martin started swimming early.  We saw the bandits. Martin completed a million strokes today.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2007, 12:38:13 PM »
I wonder if Martin accidentally peed in the water. 
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2007, 12:43:14 PM »
Saw a lost tribe in the jungle today.  Martin peed in the water.  Steak for dinner.  Last of the potatoes.

Offline Tatertots

  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10038
Re: Swimming the Amazon
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2007, 03:01:09 PM »
The documentary film should be pretty good. That man is as ugly as sin, though.

All I could think of today while I was swimming was those "swim up your penis" things. Jesus.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2007, 08:34:54 AM »
Quote
Reed boat sets off on ocean trip
By Mark Pivac
BBC News

A team of explorers has set sail from the US for Spain in a 12-metre-long (40ft) reed boat, hoping to spend about two months sailing across the Atlantic.

They are trying to prove that Stone Age people crossed the ocean thousands of years before Christopher Columbus in the 15th Century.

Aymara Indians in Bolivia, who still use reed boats, built the new vessel.

It takes its inspiration from prehistoric European cave paintings dating back more than 10,000 years.

Surrounded by the modern New York skyline, the dozen-strong team put to sea in the seemingly flimsy boat made of reeds.

The German biologist leading the expedition, Dominique Gorlitz, argues that traces of cocaine and nicotine found a few years ago in the stomach of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Ramses II, were native to the Americas, so must have travelled to Africa by sea.

He says he is also hoping to overturn current thinking that says the prevailing Atlantic winds would have allowed ancient mariners to sail west to the Americas, but would have prevented them from returning home.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6294786.stm

More detail from June, with photos:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,druck-486804,00.html

Quote
SPIEGEL ONLINE - June 6, 2007, 03:11 PM
URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,486804,00.html
SAILING BACK THROUGH TIME
German Plans Atlantic Crossing in Reed Boat

By Stephan Orth

An adventurer from the eastern German city of Chemnitz believes that sailors crossed the Atlantic as far back as 14,000 years ago. He plans to prove his theory by making the voyage on a homemade reed boat, built using prehistoric techniques.

Dominique Görlitz may not have a sailing license, but he does have a dream: The man from the eastern German city of Chemnitz wants to cross the Atlantic from west to east on a reed boat built using prehistoric techniques. He plans to sail his 12-ton, 12.5-meter "Abora III" from New York to Portugal and Spain, via the Azores. His goal is to prove that it was possible to sail across the Atlantic as early as 14,000 years ago.

"Traces of tobacco plants and cocaine were found in Egypt, in the tombs of Ramses II and Tutankhamun, for example, that clearly came from the New World," Görlitz told SPIEGEL ONLINE. There is a lot of scientific evidence that a trans-Atlantic exchange took place between prehistoric cultures, he says.

He conjectures that there were trade relations between North America and northwestern Spain thousands of years before Columbus, and that some North American goods could have even made it to Africa. According to Görlitz, 14,000-year-old cave drawings from Spain indicate that the inhabitants of the region were knowledgeable about ocean currents in the Atlantic.

Surpassing Heyerdahl

Görlitz's role model and idol since childhood is Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ethnologist who died in 2002. Heyerdahl, with his famous voyages on the "Kon-Tiki" and the "Ra II," wanted to prove that prehistoric peoples sailed the high seas. But despite his successful voyages, Heyerdahl's efforts were met with skepticism within the scientific community, especially when genetic researchers disproved his theories of the intermingling of South American and Polynesian cultures.

Görlitz, a former physical education and biology teacher, has also met with criticism from scientists, and he is aware of the limited validity of his expedition. "We cannot prove that such voyages did in fact take place, but we can prove that it would have been technically possible," says the 40-year-old, whose project is part of his doctoral thesis at the University of Bonn.

Unlike Heyerdahl, who sailed from Morocco to North America on the "Ra II" 37 years ago, Görlitz would have to build a boat that, thanks to stable leeboards, could also sail into the wind. His design makes it possible to sail at a 70-degree angle to the direction of the wind. "Thor Heyerdahl only sailed from East to West, with the wind at his back," says Görlitz. "You could toss a refrigerator into the water in Morocco and it would eventually end up in America."

As long as the boat holds up, a westward Atlantic crossing is easier than many a Mediterranean voyage. "Phoenician seafarers already knew how to tack against the wind," says Görlitz. "The crossing from Spain to Egypt demanded more of sailors than a voyage from Africa to America."

Test Run on the Hudson

Just as Heyerdahl had his "Ra II" built by Bolivian Indians on Lake Titicaca, Görlitz is also entrusting the building of his vessel to the technical skills of the region's Aymara tribe, which still uses reed boats today. After studying petroglyphs and the scholarly literature for many years, Görlitz attempted to build as authentic a boat as possible. The result closely resembles Heyerdahl's "Ra."

The hull was brought to New York in May, where the superstructure is currently being completed and preparations are underway for the launch. The "Abora III" will complete a test run on the Hudson River in mid-June before heading out to sea in early July, "as soon as we have good weather."

With high swells, sudden changes in wind direction and powerful storms, the more than 6,000-kilometer (3,728-mile) stretch across the North Atlantic will be extremely challenging for Görlitz and his 11-member crew. Some are veterans of voyages with the boat's predecessors, the "Abora I" and "Abora II," while the others were recruited through ads in magazines, on the Internet and on television.

Görlitz describes his crew as ordinary people from five different countries, people he believes have the strength of character to endure two months living in cramped quarters in the boat's two extremely small cabins. Five people will sleep next to each other in a space only 3 meters (about 10 feet) wide. The crew will do without the luxury of an onboard toilet, and there will be no boat accompanying the vessel for emergencies. But in one respect Görlitz has opted to dispense with prehistoric authenticity: He will use state-of-the-art GPS equipment to navigate the boat in the open ocean.

The adventure almost ended before it began, when US customs agents found a beetle in the hull as the boat was being brought into the United States. It was only when a zoologist was able to prove that it had come from the United States and not Bolivia that the unusual cargo was allowed to enter the country.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2007, 11:32:58 AM »
That is friggin awesome.  They should combine this with the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" and have a prehistoric crabbing expedition.
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2007, 11:38:01 AM »
I just wish we could follow along with a blog or something.

Offline Reginald McGraw

  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 6570
  • Crypto-Facist
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2007, 12:21:53 PM »
The boat is 12 tons!  How can something that heavy float!

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15494
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2007, 12:27:24 PM »
Because they offered 4 fatted calfs to Poseidon before they began their journey.
8=o tation

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2007, 12:32:56 PM »
Ah...tradition.

Online nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2008, 11:28:13 AM »
http://www.gadling.com/2008/04/10/hollywood-stuntman-to-sail-atlantic-in-a-popsicle-stick-ship/

Quote
31 world record breaker and former Hollywood stuntman Robert McDonald's new adventure is to cross the Atlantic in a 15-meter ship made of 15 million ice-cream sticks, that looks like a replica of a Viking ship.

A lot of the sticks were used, steam-cleaned ones and about 13-million of them were donated by Unilever. He made the ship, stick by stick, with the help of his son and 5000 children from Holland; the sticks have been stuck together by salt-water proof glue. This ship is probably the world's largest handmade recycled object.

McDonald's creative and risk-filled life stems from the fact that he was injured in a gas explosion that killed his parents and six-siblings, and confined him to 5-years of hospital bed rest. All his feats are motivated by a strong and simple belief that he wants to share with kids: "you can do anything". Part of McDonald's fearless stunt portfolio includes climbing the Twin Towers in 1995, and free-climbing the Grand Canyon.

A dangerous expedition but possible; the ship is undergoing various sea-trials at the moment. Apparently, McDonald said that when a boat inspector analyzed one of his planks made of 5000 popsicle sticks, he pronounced it 5-times stronger than steel.(!)

According to a Reuters report, he currently is looking for a crew to sail the ship across Atlantic from Holland to America as well as of course, funding.

Offline Matt

  • working through the 1st 10,000
  • Old Timer
  • Wee Bin Hoker
  • ***
  • Posts: 7670
  • tourist
Re: Crossing the Atlantic -- stone age style
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2008, 11:29:42 AM »
What a fucking moronic boat inspector.