Mayumba mud-puddle claims another victim!

One of the blogs we follow is called ‘Moving Sushi‘. It’s a buddy of ours from University, Mike Markovina, and his girlfriend Linda on a very similar route to us, documenting the state of fisheries up the West coast of Africa. We have a good chuckle amongst ourselves as each new post comes out, documenting many of the same obstacles we encountered ourselves, as they move North.

Markovina employs novel up-close techniques to research fish in Africa…

Needless to say they’ve just hit one of our favourite obstacles. Here’s what they had to write about the Mayumba mud puddle…

We chopped our way through fallen trees and climber over maddy banks and small rivers and then there it was, the infamous mayumba mud puddle from hell, which likes to eat cars. It did not help that a couple of elephants decided to take a bath there and leave great big holes in the mud, which one had to avoid. I know there are 3 guys reading this and smiling as they had a car eating experience here in June 2007. We laid down all the wood we could find and carefully guided the car onto it, trying to avoid the mud, this was not to be and we were instantly stuck at 3pm. Getting out of the car to check the problem I was obliterated by horse flies, probably my least favorite animal in the world. We dug, and winched and jacked the car for hours. We inched half a meter at a time. At times like this it is important to stress and drink cold beer, so we did, drink beer that is.

Thankfully Markovina had some previous experience with the puddle. After Stone famously walked 32km’s through hippo and buffalo-infested jungle to find cellphone reception to call the Wildlife Conservation Society outpost, approx 100km further North – it was Mike who the park manager despatched by quad-bike! Mike was working as an ocean conservationist in the area at the time, and had previously worked together with Stone on the University of Cape Town surf club committee… coincidence!

Gabonese highway…

When we attempted the same road circa June 2007, the intel we had received advised: “not to attempt route without a chainsaw, and a strong spade“. We had neither. But we were still intent on tracking the coast as the only other road North was a few-hundred-kilometer diversion inland. So we borrowed a machete from a generous biologist in the Congo, and set-off with little more than a scrappy page of directions and a lot of canned beans…

The note should have rung a warning bell. Part of it read: “…they will have to get off on a busted up sh#tarse piece of crap road that takes off to the right. It is hard to spot and they will have a hard time accepting that it is a road at all…” Apparently this is how an 8-mile road that takes 3 days to pass begins!

Anyway we eventually emerged from the jungle across the border – filthy, cut, bruised, and carrying numerous new parasites… but with a great adventure under our belt.

Mike & Linda -  we’re stoked you had the same fortune… and also stoked that our dignity is somewhat redeemed by the fact that we were not the only one’s eaten by the hungriest car-eating mud-puddle in Gabon!!!

A part of the story which is often forgotten is that on the same day he walked 32km for help to freeing our landcruiser from the mud, Stone twisted his knee badly on a quadbike, putting him out of surfing for the next month! Tim and Lurks were stoked to finally have someone to film…!


2 Responses to “Mayumba mud-puddle claims another victim!”

  1. 1 Tim Reynolds Dec 8th, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Nice post. Thank you for the info. Keep it up.

  2. 2 Linda Dec 11th, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Hey kids…, the memories of that puddle will stick around for a while, took us 9 hours to winch ourselfs out, through hours of jacking and rejacikng the car onto wooden planks that never actaully held the car out the mud and winching off tree trunks that would break very often. I aslo saw on one of your pictures that stone got munched by furru (little invisible bugs, evil devil things) Dude I feel your pain, got anniahilated outside Iguela, looked like I had the pox. In Cameroon , heading for Limbe and Mount Cameroon tomorrow….looking forward to the road to Nigeria…apparently it’s “great”….more mud..grrrrr.
    Keep well, Mike and Linda

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The original trip

March 2007: Tim, Lurks & Stone mission north from Cape Town up the west coast of Africa, in search of good waves and good times. Their vehicle: a trusty 1981 Landcruiser named Mzee Kobe (The Old Tortoise). Their final destination: London... finally arriving almost a year behind schedule in latter 2008!

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