One day to go…

“This is the stuff we are made of, this is what men do well, what we are equipped to do, what most men alive today never discover, this is what populated every corner of this planet, what began the civilisation that followed.” 

As we assembled everything to check the gear and then packed it down to make sure it fitted in the car before leaving for the airport tomorrow, it was an inspiration to receive an email from Craig Hansen containing the sentence above. Craig and Jenny at PLK buggies in New Zealand are basically the third and fourth members of our team and it was good to get a reminder of why we’re setting off on this crazy adventure in the first place.

Assembling the buggies and packing all the gear made us realise how much planning has gone into this, and how lucky we’ve been to get all the help we’ve had. Containing all our gear and perfectly fitted, the buggy bags look

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Heading off in under three weeks

Both our wallets are now a lot lighter, having now booked the flights from London to Natal complete with excess baggage (thanks to Sophie at STA Travel!). We’re heading out on 25th July.

Insurance is booked, arms are feeling numb from training (and vaccinations!), and a lot of very generous people have already donated to Centrepoint, a charity for homeless young people, on our just giving page here.

Buggies are on their way from New Zealand (thanks to Craig Hansen and Computer Solutions!), kites are en route from Vietnam (thanks Ozone!), buggy bags are currently being stitched in Wales (thanks BuggyBags!), the best tyre sealant available is already here (thanks Ultraseal!), and we are the proud owners of four very fashionable caps to keep the sun off in the day and light our way at night from 2C, makers of the Solar Light Cap.

I guess that all means we better go for it now…

We’re planning the whole route on google earth and we really appreciate all the advice and offers for support we have had so far, without which this trip would be even more of a challenge than it already is.

If you know the area between Natal and Jericoacoara, we’d love to hear any local knowledge you have. Post your email in the comments below!

Training

So kite buggying is just about sitting back in your seat and cruising along eh? Not quite. You’re in a heavy buggy with a month’s worth of gear strapped to it, and all the power to get you moving has to be channelled through your arms and legs to drive the buggy along.

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‘I think you’re nuts, but I don’t see why you can’t do it…’

It was while we were researching this adventure that we noticed ‘Mad Way South’, an expedition even crazier than our own.

In 2009 Mad Way South broke the record for the first wind powered expedition across the Sahara, and the longest distance travelled by kite buggy. Craig Hansen, kite buggy expert in New Zealand and one of the four participants in the sahara expedition, was the best person to talk to. After receiving our email in May 2011 outlining the idea and asking his advice as to whether it was possible, Craig was kind enough to reply. The conversation went a bit like this:

‘Will you be using vehicle support?’

‘No.’

‘Do you know if anyone has kite buggied the Brazilian coastline before?

‘No, I don’t think so.’

‘Have you ever even kite buggied before?

‘Um, no.’

‘Do you speak Portugese?’

‘Afraid not…’

“I think you’re nuts, but I don’t see why you can’t do it…”

Dozens of emails later and Craig had told us about many of the lessons he had learned in the Sahara, and arranged to send two expedition ready Outlaw buggies to the UK from New Zealand. Without Craig’s generous advice and sponsorship, this trip would never be able to go ahead.

Craig also put us in touch with Karen Critchley, a women’s buggy freestyle champion. We travelled down to Wallop, a big land kiting festival in Dorset, UK, to meet Karen who was competing there and talk to other kiters. Everyone was very friendly and seemed happy to talk to us two crazy novices with their idea to kite buggy 1000k in just two months time, and Karen commented that she thought it would be great for the sport.

Once we’d seen the various options available at Wallop, we knew the best kites for us would be depower foils from Ozone. Craig put us in touch with Matt Taggart at Ozone who was immediately enthusiastic about the idea.

Ed Texier from Oceansource, a travel agency specialising in kite and windsurf destinations in remote spots around the world, also got involved. We had previously met Ed when we used Oceansource to go on a windsurfing trip in El Tur, on the Sinai peninsular in Egypt, a few weeks after the Egyptian uprising in earlier this year. While he thought we were mad to be doing this sort of expedition with no prior experience or vehicle support, we were grateful that he still pledged his support! Ed put us in touch with Fabio from Club Ventos, a windsurfing club in Jericoacoara, who kindly offered us windsurf hire once we reached Jeri, provided we still had any energy left!

Why kite buggy 1000km in Brazil?

Good question! At first we simply wanted to do some travelling, but what began as a simple bit of backpacking has developed into a much more exciting challenge.

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