Aleem, Amy, Naz & Vinney are delighted to announce their forthcoming event, How Poloroid Are You - 2016 Challenge:
Post Event Update
10 June 2016, Aleem Hosein
So first and foremost, we did it!!!!
The Quad-Athalon was tough, exceptionally tough; a combination of lack of training, lack of sleep, recovering from gulping swimming pool water whilst trying to escape from an overturned kayak the night before and using rental bikes that were last used in My Fair Lady, made what was already always going to be a feat of endurance into a monumentally mammoth task.
And that was all before we got to the La Valette bathing pools for the final leg of the first event!
This is where the real test of mental stamina (and summoning of our innermost bravery) truly mattered. Please refer to the photos below taken at 8.30pm and then 9.10pm (after we were back on terrafirma), which speaks volumes. Do note the faint white line (right angled) which signifies where the brick wall and railings were some 40minutes earlier when all appeared calm and naively possible.
Did I mention the icy English Channel waters at dusk?
After a day of recuperating in magnificent Guernsey we boarded the ferry to Jersey departing Guernsey with enormous appreciation for both the Guernseyian people (now known as) and natural spectaculor beauty that the island offers in leaps and bounds.
What lay ahead was completely unknown; would we be fighting for our lives fighting off wild animals or would we succumb to the Arctic winds that often consume the Jersey coastline? One last medium rare steak was called for, and wow how ribeye watering it was!
24 Hour Survival Time - Some 12 hours later (ribeye digested), suitably rested and expectedly hungry we stuffed our faces with a healthy Aloe based Forever shake (genuinely it's crummy and amazingly nutritious (thank me later Reeta)), and set off to meet Mr Fox and his merry survival experts. However upon arrival, it soon became apparent that the hype and consequential apprehension was somewhat of our (my) own imagination when the details became clear about what lay ahead. In short, we were tasked to catch our own food; not with spears or traps, nor with bare hands and nails, not even with ingenuity or valour, but with 4 sea fishing rods and tackle, and fish bait almost good enough to throw onto the BBQ (yes one of these was also provided!). Following on from our fishing lesson which was fruitless (fishless rather) we had a somewhat heated lesson (ha ha ha) in fire making, using rudimentary devices such as flints, sticks, modern survival flint-like devices and this extraordinary tool that is commonly associated with this naturally found raw material commonly known as tobacco. Yes we were told that the smart survivalist carries around a lighter (but wasn’t provided with one)!
Once our pyrotechnics session had ended we were driven (I know what you're thinking, so were we) to a secret location where we were given a map and told to find the spot marked with an X. In fact, there were 4 maps in total with 4 X's, all of which we found with relative ease.
At this point, we thought that the 24 hour ‘survival’ was, in fact, a bit of a picnic, with little more than a leisurely bit of fishing and turning on a hob. However, we were then told that we now had to scavenge on the seafront rockface for dinner. Having sampled some of the seaweed delicacies direct from the sandyish beach, we focused our efforts on prising away limpets and cockles and other marine snails from the wet black rocks until our container was full. Then we spent an hour or so foraging for herbs and leaves with which to create some seasoning for our shell 'creatures' meal a.k.a. dinner. Upon returning to the 'camp', we were presented with a 'shopping list' and told that the 4 X's we’d found during our map navigation exercise earlier had earned us vouchers from which we could redeem extremely useful survival tools from the list provided.
Now at this point we were pretty much as horizontal as one could be having had a chilled afternoon, so when presented with the list (which was subdivided into shelter/fire/food and other) we burst into laughter, with this realisation that the picnic had just been extended. At first glance, and to our unanimous applause, among the list of items to redeem was beer, beer and did I mention beer!!! Suffice to say that little else was as noteworthy and very quickly the discussion between the 4 of us became about whether extra rope, useful flint, even tarpaulin was of any use versus beer, beer and some more beer. Eventually, sense kicked in and we opted for the tarpaulin and beer (and a flint of some sort). Curiously, we didn’t take any notice of the item called ‘Duct Tape’ (oh how we wish we had taken notice, later that night).
Using our newly redeemed luxuries we soon set out building our shelter and making dinner concurrently as the sun was setting and there was clear evidence that some of us were getting drunk pretty quickly. During this time, the only real observation was that the tarpaulin was somewhat holy (no not the Jesus and Krishna sort, but the other one where it had several fist sized holes) but we had beer so we’d be alright!! (for those of you that had planned a BBQ for that weekend, you will know what is coming later, in torrential form!!!).
Bellies full and shelter cosy and water ‘resistant’, we sat around the open fire feeling extremely pleased with ourselves, having survived the picnic – sorry, I mean ‘survival day’, with only what was fast becoming a spectacularly star-lit night, with a glorious new moon reflecting on the sea down below in the distance, to get through. In fact, it was so clear that Amy was lucky enough to spot a Shooting Star (I so wish she has wished for no rain!!!!!) as we sipped our beer and constellation spotted.
Then the most curious thing happened, the moon suddenly disappeared, as if it had had a power cut. After searching we discovered that it had in fact not fallen into the sea, but had in fact been hidden by what could only be described as a Nimbus Cumulous Stratus (or something like that a.k.a. the mother of all endless dark black clouds. This signalled time for bed and we then quickly promoted reflection on the fist-sized holes that almost strategically appeared above our heads in the shelter. Did I mention the other ones that were by our feet?
20 minutes later we were all tucked up (mummified more like it) in our single body fitting sleeping bags (for anybody that suffers from claustrophobia, do not read on!!), Walton’s like goodnights ensued and then we closed our eyes hoping for 7am to miraculously appear, when we had been told we would be picked up (rescued). It’s noteworthy that all time lines were estimated as we have no comms, no watches or other tech so had no idea about what time is was throughout.
Approximately 10 minutes later the picnic was finally over. And what replaced it sounded like the equivalent of a grizzly bear but from the heavens above. For 7-8 hours (we think) it rained!!!
It rained and rained and rained and it rained some more. At the start of the rain, it became very evident that we had weaknesses in our shelter, during the first hour or so of rain it became apparent that the Duct Tape would have been a far better choice than the beer. During yet more rain, it became very apparent to Vinney that the Duct Tape would have been far more sturdy than his bladder, brought on by the ill-chosen excessive beer. During yet more rain, it became very apparent to all but me that a waterproof sleeping bag that weighed more and was bulkier than the ‘summer conditions’ ones the others had chosen was, in fact, the right choice, as it materialised that the fist-sized holes were working hand in hand with the relentless rain, to form puddles not just within the shelter but within the guys sleeping bags.
Suffice to say, it was anything but a picnic by now, in fact it was so miserable, that if it wasn’t for the commitment each of us had made to raise money for OKA, we would 100% (and in the first hour) have abandoned the shelter and walked the short distance to the organisers mansion house, where we’d have had zero issues with breaking and entering and finding a Goldilocks to shove out of bed!
However, the £3,000+ we had raised (through your very kind donations and our sponsors support) mattered and gave us the conviction to lay there wet (apart from me, I was snug other than my head due to the fist-size hole above it), with water drenched clothes and wishing and wishing for a glimmer of daylight and for the relentless rain to stop! No such luck, it rained and rained and rained and rained right until 7am when we were greeted by a man with an umbrella donning a winter coat and with a mug of cocoa in hand, who smiled like an angel from above, and beckoned us to follow him to the mansion house.
One last ‘foot’note….. Vinney who had probably had the worst of the water logging and cold weather, at approx 4am found a novel but exceptionally useful secondary use for one of his trainers, I’ll leave it to your powers of deduction to work out exactly what but with the following clue: it’s opening is pretty much identically shaped to a bodily part and when married together makes a great substitute to our favourite bedtime tool! Genuinely, it made all the difference to him being able to rest at least a bit.
Showered and hot chocolates inside of us (apart from me, I had Aloe), we sat in the canteen of the mansion house miserable, truly miserable, not a word spoken, no eye contact, just miserable. Then, it got worse. Fantastic Mr Fox came over and spoke the words we had all been dreading and purposefully not speaking about….’so who’s ready to go sea kayaking?’. It was a bit like being asked to Lead the Conservative Party (post Brexit)!
The words OKA were whispered and with that we all went into the changing room to put on our still wet wet suits (from the icy La Valette experience two days before) and we clambered into Mr Fox’s Land Rover and headed down to the sea. On route we were told that caves were out of the question due to adverse weather conditions (really!!!? He felt the need to mention the adverse weather!!!), which was a sense of relief to us all and in particularly Amy, who had been dreading the kayaking more than anything else because of her very reasonable fear of capsizing, both pre and post the exercise in the swimming pool three days before. Then came the great news; our Kayaks were not of the closed type (which we had used in the swimming pool when practising escaping from a capsized situation) but were in fact open so if we capsized we’d simply be flung into the sea (I know that doesn’t sound like great news but it truly was). 5km later (all in the rain) and we were DONE!!!! I hasten to add that the coastal scenery was spectacular and the sea water surprisingly not freezing, so despite the apprehension, we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Quick shower and fresh clothes and we headed off to board the ferry for the trip home.
We are SOOOOOO Polaroid!!!!!!
Till the Next One……………………………
In an attempt to kick start a more healthy lifestyle (again!), the four of us (Amy, Naz, Vin and me) have decided to put together an event that would put to the test both our physical and mental (oh boy... are we mental?!!) aptitudes. Given previous successes that included a Sprint Triathlon, 70km cycle event, and the near death Hellvelyn climb, there was an inevitable desire to raise the bar (why do bars have to go up when gravity dictates that as we get older everything hangs down!!!) with something altogether ridiculous. After some discussion and cavalier decision making, we quickly sketched out a plan that was designed to test us, rewards us, possibly nail us, and definitely cane us!!! Firstly, I’ll start by saying that it takes bravery, skill, agility, stamina and maybe, a little stupidity for the team to agree to use two of my Invicta S1’s as our mode of transport for the duration of the event (that is, other than feet...and even hands maybe....and fins and bicycles). And that’s not a cop out! (If anyone reckons so, I am happy to challenge them to do 100 miles in an S1 (at a tenner a mile, with all proceeds going to OKA) after which you’ll recognise the truly talented bunch we are. On a more serious note, in addition to the fun element that the cars bring to the event(s), we will plaster the cars with One Kind Act’s (www.onekindact.org) name and logo as well as our Gold Sponsor’s to raise load of awareness (for anyone interested, at only £250, you get to be part of this with us, with your logo on both cars - call me on 07909 940286). Back to the plot…..
Our aim is to truly push ourselves beyond our ordinary limits, so we have decided to do not just one but three events virtually back to back over a five day period. Each event must be original, ensure exhilaration, make us face our true fears and ensure that we create massive interest and respect to encourage all of you readers to dig deep and sponsor us with more than you ordinarily would, as a recognition of just how hard it’s gonna be for the 4 of us to complete each of the events described below.
So here goes…..
Day 1 - 8pm lesson in a swimming pool in London W12 – it’s actually our first and only lesson. The lesson is in a kayak in a swimming pool, but the lesson isn’t about how to use a kayak but instead how to escape from an overturned (capsized) kayak! The reason for this will become apparent as you read on. Following this roly-poly practice session, we drive to Poole for the night and then have a 6am start to get the ferry to Guernsey (please please please let the Invicta’s have sufficient clearance!)
Day 2 (the first event) - We arrive in Guernsey at 11am, when we have 4 hours in which to traverse the course (the whole island effectively) for our Quad-Athalon. This includes hiring cycles, laying down swimming gear and doing a lap of honour around the island in the two Invicta’s and hopefully gaining loads of interest and creating tons of awareness (and hopefully some dosh) for OKA.The event then begins at 3pm. Firstly, we do a 5 mile walk along the coast, this allows us to warm up our legs before completing a 7 mile run along another section of coast line, followed by a 14 mile cycle through some of the island’s interior, ending at the famous La Valette Bathing Pools (they are basically a wall in the sea where the ocean rushes beyond, creating a salt water (bloody freezing cold) pool (sharks and all apparently), where we will complete the Quad-Athalon (or drown trying) with a 500 meter swim (10 lengths). To keep us on our toes, we aspire to complete this 26.75 mile extravaganza (yes 550 meters further than the London Marathon) in less than 5 hours and 40 minutes. This I should add is exactly when the Sun Sets in Guernsey on 9th June (assuming there is a sun to be seen, as we have no idea what the weather will be like on the day!)
Day 3 - We have a 2pm ferry to Jersey, where we meet up with Mr Fox. Some say he’s pretty fantastic, but to us he’s so much more than this as Mr Fox will be our coordinator (not guide) for our 24 Hour Survival in the Jersey jungle, which we will commence at 9am on
Day 4 - (anyone seen the movie Alive!!?) – at 9am, we receive a map and compass and at the same time our mobile phones, wallets, torches, lighters, Swiss army knives, food, water and pretty much anything that Fantastic Mr Fox spots (and yes he will do a thorough examination!) are stripped away from us. We are given a point on the map and told to get there pretty sharpish as there will be a man at the other end who is waiting on us to give us essential training on how to survive a night in a jungle (ok, so it’s not the Amazon but to us London dwellers it may as well be). With nothing but a pen knife and some guidance on how to forage, find water, build a shelter and light a fire (and which leaves are soft on peachy skin), we are then in our own! Prey (let’s hope we are not!) for good weather!
Day 5 - after a wonderful night under the stars, at 9am we will be escorted (or carried) out of the jungle and shuttled over to the coast. There, we will be given a life vest, an oar and a kayak and off we’ll paddle into the cave network along the Jersey coastline. For those of you who have been paying attention, you’ll remember where we started on Day 1 in a warm, shallow swimming pool, life guard on duty, in London W12. Let’s just hope the lesson learned doesn’t have to be put into practice!!! 2 hours of sea cave kayaking through what alleged to be mesmerising scenery seen by only the very bravest Londoners)... and we are finally done (and boy oh boy will we be done!!!). 8pm ferry back to Poole and then a 3 hour drive home in the 200mph (no traction control, no ABS, no lightweights please) supercars.
Having written this diabrite, i'm not at all sure who the audience will be to read it. So whether it's an OKA follower, a friend or a family member of Amy, Naz, Vin or me, a Gold Sponsor (thank you), a stranger who happened to notice the OKA Invicta S1's on the road before during or after the event, or even a reader of the Sunday Times who decided to report on some near disaster story that occurred in the La Valette Bathing Pools in Guernsey or on a tiger attack in Jersey's jungle or on a shark attack in its sea caves, or even in the swimming pool in London W12, please please dig deep and recognise that we are fundamentally doing this to raise loads of money for OKA, who do some outstanding work to support underprivileged, neglected and often abused children all over the world. Please visit https://onekindact.org/events/ebp2016challenge to sponsor us. Or contact Amy, Naz, Vin or me on our emails/phones/facebook's (not me, I'm far too....to sign up to that) etc.
About One Kind Act
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