Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Great White Explorer

Life is made up of a myriad of ambitions, hopes, dreams and fears.  Some people gamble it all.   Others take the slower, easier route and play it safe. 

I spoke to Chris this morning who rang to tell me that a friend of ours, Hendri Coetzee, had been involved in a kayaking accident in the heart of Central Africa.  Hendri was leading a team of experienced American kayakers who wanted a serious African expedition - he was without question the man for the job.  Disturbingly the news so far is that his kayak was taken out by a crocodile and his body is yet to have been found.

Hendri was everything you would expect in a great white explorer: charming, athletic, handsome.  He was an adrenalin junkie with an open heart.  He was as happy on his own as he was in the company of others drinking tea.  He practised yoga and he meditated.  He was also someone who lived life dangerously on the edge - pushing inaccessible boundaries that would have most people questioning his sanity.  But that is how he lived his life, to the absolute fullest and with very few regrets. 

Hendri is the third young man we know to have died in Africa doing something they loved.  Ben and Grant lost their lives - one in a motorbike accident and the other on the Zambezi river.  Their loss reminds me that life is for living and that we cannot give up on our hopes and dreams just to keep things safely in perspective. 

As Chris so rightly put it, 'Hendri was a man who would always burn brightly.  He was never one just to fade away'.

I'll raise a glass to you tonight my friend, you f*cking legend.

Hendri, second from the right.

Hendri going solo...

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