After another year of thrilling adventures, we are proud to announce that the title of Nightjar Adventurer 2015 was awarded to Bernie Theron for his solo unsupported trek across Iceland.
In support of future expeditions, Bernie received a MSR Superfly stove, a PowerMonkey Classic, a PowerMonkey Explorer, a PowerTraveller PowerChimp, and a R2 000 Adventure Voucher from Cape Union Mart.
The title of Readers’ Choice went to Cameron Bellamy for his part in the Guinness World Record fastest row across the Indian Ocean. Cameron received a R2 000 Adventure Voucher from Cape Union Mart, and we hope to hear about more of his adventures soon!
All of the expeditions for the title were in attendance, and contenders received Buff and Sea to Summit gear. They thrilled the audience with personal memories from their expeditions, while the setting at the Cape Union Mart Canal Walk Adventure Centre made the perfect adventurous backdrop.
Every year, we are amazed by the achievements of South African adventurers, the miles they’ve trekked and the heights they’ve conquered. To say that this year was no exception would be an understatement. The determination and courage displayed has been beyond inspirational, and we wait with bated breath to see what our local adventurers will come up with next.
Looking back at the year, we feel that there has been a beautiful expression of the spirit that we hope to embody as a nation. A spirit that looks forward with determination and perseveres through hardship to achieve our aspirations. Each of the expeditions nominated this year faced significant challenges, and rose to them.
What do you do when you spend a year planning an expedition to travel halfway around the world and trek across a continent, and your funding and your partner disappear with mere months to go?
Ask Kai Fitchen. He jumped on a boat with a bunch of strangers and a bit of money from friends and family, and conquered South America regardless.
What do you do when you have to swim in tropical waters where both sharks and crocodiles are a risk factor, and you can’t convince a single other person to join you?
Ask Jean Craven. He prepared what he could, and hoped that determination would take care of the rest.
What do you do when the mountain you want to climb is classified by NASA as being the closest thing on Earth to the surface of Mars?
Ask Karen Hauptfleisch. She measured the risks, and the sacrifices she would have to make, and found them wanting compared to achieving her lifelong dream.
What do you do when your most important means of communication breaks after a disastrous hit by a big wave, 20 days into a multi-month rowing expedition from mainland to mainland across the Atlantic?
Ask Riaan Manser & Vasti Geldenhuys. They assessed the situation, decided they could make the best of what they had, and got on with the adventure.
What do you do when there are no maps to guide you, and you have to take full responsibility for your route up an uncharted Antarctic peak?
Ask the Unlimited. They trusted in the years of planning and preparation they had done, took the necessary safety precautions, and ultimately triumphed.
What do you do when you know there are sharks in the water, but it is your responsibility to take the barnacles off the hull of the boat?
Ask Cameron Bellamy. He knew there was a risk, and it scared him, but he also knew what needed to be done, so after checking the water very carefully, he did the job in front of him.
What do you do when your gear sled breaks down irreparably, and you still have to walk across the entirety of Iceland?
Ask Bernie Theron. He repacked everything into his backpack and, even though he was now carrying around 45kg, he set his mind to finishing his amazing journey.
We feel that there is a clear message here. The next time you are stuck in a rut, glance out a window and look to the horizon. Somewhere between here and there, resting on a ledge or riding a wave, diving in or climbing up, is a fellow South African - buckling down, moving forwards. As our adventurers have told us numerous times, the most important thing is believing in yourself, and if they can do it, so can you.