25 October 2017

South Africa: Book Extract - Being Blasted By the Mistral During a Kayak (Mis)adventure


TERRY BELL is a South African journalist and labour commentator. In the mid 1960s, he and and his wife Barbara were political exiles in London. They agreed it was time to get back to Africa. They decided to paddle 11,000 kilometres from England to Dar es Salaam in a five-metre glass fibre kayak. In this extract from their travel memoir, A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar (Cover 2Cover books), Terry and Barbara have paddled down through the French canals to the seaside town of Agde, in the Languedoc region of Southern France, and are planning how to get across to Spain, by sea - they will "leave from the beach beyond Agde and just cut across the sweep of the Gulf of Lion to Port-la-Nouvelle where the Canal de la Robine empties into the sea". The chapter is titled: Being blasted by the Mistral.

There was a slightly chilly, light breeze blowing and it was our first venture into the sea since our rather haphazard paddle along the English coast to Dover. But we soon settled into a steady rhythm, paddling about one kilometre offshore across the long sweep of the bay and making what we thought of...

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