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DO ONE THING AND MAKE A SEA PLEDGE

The SAMSA SEA Pledge Tour has guest speaker Peter van Kets wow the audience at the tour’s Port Elizabeth stop


“A family of five dorado, also called dolphin fish, adopted me for the entire length of my solo Atlantic row,” said professional adventurer and champion for South Africa, Peter van Kets, “And every sunrise and sunset they would leap of the water and check on me. If it so happened that I was in my cabin and couldn’t see them, they would jump against the side of my boat or whack their bodies against my oars until I came out and greeted them.”

An avid adventurer and pioneer for pushing the limits, van Kets has completed a multitude of seemingly impossible tasks. In 2008, he and his friend Bill Godfrey, won the Woodvale Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race, a 4 700 kilometre row across the Atlantic Ocean, beating 28 other rowers. In 2010, Van Kets attempted the same race but a solo rower, spending 76 days alone in his seven meter rowing boat. The 5 438 unsupported kilometres was a first for any African.

Van Kets’ most recent feat gained himself and friend, Braam Malherbe, international acclaim as they became the first Africans to race to the South Pole. Covering a total distance of 888 kilometres, the race was unsupported and lasted 25 days. They crossed the line in third place, whilst aiding the British Team by carrying the load of one of their injured team members.
“I’m just an ordinary person,” said van Kets to the captive audience at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth, “Normal people can achieve extraordinary things so long as they have the right mind set.”

Van Kets is a supporter of the Grahamstown based charity, the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST). “It’s an honour being a South African alongside you,” said SST founding trustee and director, Dr Tony Ribbink. The SST along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) are currently on the SAMSA SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour. For four weeks the team will be touring South Africa’s coast line and spreading the word of coastal conservation to everyone from young school children to the various mayors and dignitaries along the way.

SAMSA and SST were privileged to have van Kets as guest speaker at the Port Elizabeth stop of the tour. “My newest endeavour is the Capri-X expedition, where I will circumnavigate the Southern Hemisphere along the Tropic of Capricorn on land and sea,” explained van Kets, “Unlike Kingsley Holgate I won’t be using any motors or have endless supplies of rum.”

As it is with all of van Ket’s adventures, he will be striving for stronger awareness on environmental issues. “At a stage in my solo trans-Atlantic row, I was rowing against currents of over two knots,” said van Kets, “There should never be a current stronger than a knot in the Atlantic where I was, that is all due to climate change.”

This is where van Ket’s and SST meet in terms of ideals. SST are inviting South African’s everywhere to join the SST and SAMSA on the coastal tour and to make their SEA Pledge, a promise you make to yourself on how you will help contribute to securing the healthy future of our oceans. Van Ket’s has adopted a similar mantra of DOT, Do One Thing. “Earth is a tiny dot in our universe,” said van Kets, “I’m just a tiny dot on our planet, but if I do one thing to help the environment and you do one thing to help the environment we can connect the dots and make a much bigger picture.”

Photos by Des Schirlinger :

Professional adventurer and champion for the environment, Peter van Kets, spoke at the Port Elizabeth evening event of the SST and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour.

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Professional adventurer and champion for environment, Peter van Kets, spoke at the Port Elizabeth evening event of the SST and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour. The photographs behind him illustrate the damage done to his hands due to his solo trans-Atlantic race.

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Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) member Shane Kelly, presents professional adventurer and champion for the environment, Peter van Kets, with a token of appreciation and honorary membership to the SST.

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Professional adventurer and champion for the environment, Peter van Kets and the Sustainable Seas Trust founding trustee and director, Dr Tony Ribbink, at the Port Elizabeth evening event of the SST and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour.

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Did You Know?

I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us.

Sylvia Earle
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