WHY THE CAPE TO RIO?
One would imagine that a rowing expedition of 6,700km would entail months of preparation and training, but for impromptu adventurer Clyde Barendse, a month had to do. On the 4th of December 2016 Clyde, by default, became Braam Malherbe’s partner on a 3 month expedition rowing from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Originating from Braam’s vision to collectively preserve our planet, the purpose of the Cape to Rio row is to launch their app called DO 1 THING which connects like-minded individuals and encourages them to do a single act which will protect our planet. This cause, along with Clyde’s passion for pushing the boundaries, made it impossible for him to refuse this once in a lifetime opportunity. A week before their departure, we met up with Clyde for a quick coffee to get a sense of where his head is at.
Sipping on an Americano, while speaking on the phone, Clyde gives us a nod and a wave to join his table at our favourite coffee stop in town. After his call, we find out that he is not only spending his days training for an expected 150km of rowing per day, but also running his full-time business up until their departure, and he seems to be doing it with ease.
Braam and Clyde will be attempting a feat that no one has completed before. To date, the most Southern trip to Rio started in Luderitz, Namibia, and took its rowers 143 days. Clyde confidently mentions that he is hoping to reach Rio within 2-3 months, a mere 60-90 days. Spear-guns will be their main livelihood to catch fish along the way, while the only water they have on board will be 100 litres of fresh water, along with a water distiller to purify salt water. On the topic of safety, Clyde calmly admits that they will be completely unassisted for their 6,700km Cape to Rio row, except for a GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) which will notify the nearest ship if things have taken a turn for the worst. With unpredictable weather patterns and heavy marine traffic on the route to Rio, Braam and Clyde will have to stay vigilant 24/7.
You soon come to realise that nothing much can scare this guy. His laid-back personality and gentle nature is somewhat surprising when you consider that he is one of the few people in the world that would take on a challenge like this, and other equally difficult ones, without blinking an eye. His past expeditions include hiking Kilimanjaro barefoot, sailing from Durban to North America, racing his friend from Cape Town to Durban and circumnavigating Ireland in the middle of winter in a dry suit.
As we wrap up our time with Clyde, he comes across as more relaxed about his Cape to Rio expedition than we are and his farewell “See you in 3 months” is a testament to that. This casual adventurer is clearly not in it for acclaim but purely for the thrill of accomplishing the seemingly impossible.
What a guy.