Wednesday, July 27, 2005

‘Crazy Kayaks’ retrace Nelson’s last voyage

A Kayak similar to the one used by ‘Crazy Kayaks’, members of the Gibraltar Canoe Association, on their intrepid charity fund raising journey retracing Lord Nelson's last voyage to the Bay of Gibraltar - Photo courtesy of
Their call sign on the VHF marine radio was ‘Crazy Kayaks’ and yesterday they lived up to the name.

Four men, all members of the Gibraltar Canoe Association, set off in seagoing kayaks from Cape Trafalgar just before sunrise, destination Gibraltar.

Travelling unaccompanied and relying entirely on each other, their aim was to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and raise money for charity by retracing the last voyage of Admiral Nelson to the Rock.

But the anticipated voyage time of seven hours ultimately stretched to 11 hours after they encountered a series of hold-ups on the way.

For a start, the weather was not on their side. Even though the wind and the tide were in their favour, they were often battling large waves and choppy seas as they made their slow, gruelling way down the Spanish coast to Tarifa and then into the Strait of Gibraltar.

Somewhere between Cape Trafalgar and Tarifa they suffered an emotionally devastating setback after one of the four men – Norman Garcia – was forced to drop out of the trip following a bout of vomiting brought on by food poisoning.

They came ashore and made arrangements for Mr Garcia’s return to Gibraltar, but there was little question of the other three canoeists - Arthur Asquez, Eugenio Pons and Sigurd Haveland - pulling out of the trip. Within two hours, they were on their way once again.

For a while yesterday afternoon there was concern on shore after the three men lost contact with those following their progress on land. For several hours they could not be reached by radio or mobile phone, leaving anxious relatives and friends wondering how they were faring and fearing that something had gone wrong. Then, at around 5pm, the signal station at Windmill Hill managed to make radio contact and, shortly after, the Crazy Kayaks were spotted rounding Punta Carnero and heading into the Bay of Gibraltar.

As they paddled in toward the Rock they were accompanied by a Defence Police speedboat and a patrol boat from the Royal Gibraltar Police Marine Section, who kindly gave the local press a lift.

As they made landfall in Rosia Bay, where Admiral Nelson’s body is said to have been brought ashore after the battle 200 years ago, the three men were applauded and greeted by friends and family, greatly relieved to see them home safe and sound. The canoeists looked physically shattered, but jubilant.

“This is the most wonderful experience I’ve had in my life,” said Mr Pons, summing up their mood.

Editor's Note:

The canoeists were raising money for two charities, Rainbow Ward (unfortunately I can't find a link for Rainbow Ward) and Wireless for the Blind.

Anyone interested in donating money to the four canoeists for their great efforts on successfully concluding their Trafalgar voyage should contact Mr Asquez on 55076 during the day and 43896 during the evening.

Note: Gibraltar International dialling code: 350 - If dialling from Spain: 9567 (followed by the number)

Related Articles & Links:

13 July 2005 - Canoeists do the 'Full Nelson'!

23 April 2005 - Gibraltar commemorates 200 years since the Battle of Trafalgar

Wireless for the Blind

200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of TrafalgarBattle of Trafalgar at


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