EYES WIDE OPEN: This month’s Dusi Canoe Marathon paddlers need to be extra vigilant when negotiating the Umgeni River following the recent sighting of a crocodile. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Organisers of the Unlimited Dusi Canoe marathon are hunting for a crocodile spotted in the Umgeni River – to protect paddlers during the race.
“A trap has been set next to the Umgeni near Springfield Park,” Dusi spokesperson Ray de Vries said yesterday.
De Vries said the crocodile was spotted last week along the banks of the river, but that the sighting was an isolated incident.
“Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has set the trap just opposite the railway bridge in Springfield Park in the hopes of catching it,” he said.
Nearly 1800 paddlers are expected to participate in the race which starts on Thursday in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban two days later.
“As an extra measure we have regular patrols and will place marshals along the river during the race,” De Vries said.
Meanwhile, top Dusi canoe marathon contenders Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins have made a last-minute change to their set-up for the race that starts at Camps Drift.
The duo have tasted success together in the past, and initially started training with Jenkins in the front of the boat, taking charge of steering and the tactical control of the craft.
However, they won Friday night’s race in the Varsity College Marine Surfski Series with McGregor in the front.
McGregor confirmed the switch for the Dusi, saying that they were both highly experienced athletes and were looking at ways to get more out of the boat.
“It just seems to work better this way,” said McGregor.
“We are both experienced paddlers who have done well in this race in the past, but after the Inanda Dam to Durban race we both felt that the boat just needed a little extra ‘something’.
“We tried swapping around and it seemed to work, so we will stick to me sitting in front for the race for now.”
He said if needed to they could revert to their original set-up. – Sapa