Take Me 2 New York (Two World Firsts under the belt)

by TableBayer on

New York City, USA – It all started with a seemingly innocent request for a holiday to New York, but never in her wildest dreams did Vasti Geldenhuys think it would take 10 765 kilometres of ocean rowing to get her there.

Vasti, a lawyer by trade, has always been the support structure of pioneering explorer, South African Riaan Manser who rose to prominence by completing three unparalleled world firsts; cycling the entire perimeter of the African continent, circumnavigation of Madagascar by single kayak and Iceland with handicapped partner by double kayak.


The couple, who met in Cape Town, South Africa in 1999 put their fourteen year relationship to the ultimate test when they set out to conquer two world firsts at once; Vasti is the first African woman to row across any ocean on the planet and together Riaan and Vasti became the first ever in history to row from mainland Africa to mainland North America. They departed from Agadir Morocco on 30 December 2013. With no support boat, no ablution facilities, no luxury. Just Riaan, Vasti, their combined determination and a seven meter rowing boat with their supplies.

Early in the expedition they were struck by the misfortune of capsizing in seven meter seas and amazingly while rowing more than 1800 kilometers from the nearest land. What was more unfortunate is that their satellite phone antenna had been damaged beyond repair. This meant no internet to obtain essential weather forecasts.


This journey has tested their resolve like no other, mentally and physically. From blistered hands, rowers claw and severed backsides to a case of severe food poisoning from a revengeful Dorado. It has been nothing short of torturous for 133 days out at sea. Despite all of this, Manser’s separation from the boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean was the closest the pair had come to real life tragedy. Further the 1,5 meters box of living space they had to share, not being big enough when arguments arose and fatigue and emotions boiled over. One thing that brought some sanity was the abundance of sea life, dolphins and 30 foot whales swimming alongside their boat to large sharks that frightfully swim up to their hands while trying to film underwater.

But alas, the end is in sight, they can now almost taste victory and it comes with their arrival in New York City on 20 June 2014. What an amazing feeling it will be rowing up to the Statue of Liberty and into the history books, knowing they have done it, they have completed what critics called impossible.

Don’t miss out on this ending to this unparalleled modern day adventure; join us for Riaan and Vasti’s arrival and for the chance to hear their tales of perseverance and determination. Like Manser’s saying goes: “There’s an ocean between saying and doing.” In this case, nothing could be more literal.

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