Maldives Rowing Volunteer
 
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(I have now uploaded lots and lots of photos from the day please see them all here)
0415 and my lovely Nokia alarm hauled me awake. Washed, dressed – nice Dhiraagu polo shirt and a new pair of board shorts specially for the occasion. Took the battery for the camera out of the charger (amazing I know, my battery is never charged – George’s wedding, shark diving, most of the trip round China....)and left my room into the pitch dark morning. The sky was amazing – no moon and loads of stars looking like you could reach out and touch them and only me on the now fully tarred main road - Orion, and the southern cross being the only two constellations I can identify with any certainty. (Thanks to Becs I’ve now added the little know ‘tennis racket’ to that list!).Then while calling Sinan, Sarey and Roba I pedalled down to the power house and started getting all the gear down to the water ready to go – tyres, rope, lifejackets, blades, fuel, the ever present plastic bags full of odds and ends and the bucket cum tool box. Roba laughed at me when I told him I was nervous and had butterflies..... 

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Luckily loads of the kids had to walk by the power house to get to the swim track so we dragged 7 into the boats to help us row them out to the course.  I went in the launch and Sinan and Roba took the motor bikes around. You know the mental puzzle of having one boat and a load of people or animals on one side of the river and you have to get them all across in a certain number of moves or with various restrictions – well I think all Maldivians would ace that game as they do it on a daily basis working out how to transport loads of people to various locations on only one or two bikes.

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The sun by this time was coming up and as we rounded the bend out into the lagoon it was obvious we were going to certainly start with no wind at all - the water was like glass. All the equipment had arrived and a frantic few minutes was spent getting it all in place and greeting all the students as they dragged themselves along - no one enjoying the 0545 arrival time! Roba soon had them organised into schools. Everyone looked very smart in school colours, flowers in hair and carrying school flags and or shields. Once everyone was in order I dished out the rules and introduced our sponsors – I’m sure they’d worked it out by this time given the profusion of paper caps on heads! The first competitors were announced and we were off. 

Guin and Becks were in charge of timing from the Dhiraagu tent armed with stop watches, whistles and two megaphones ably supported by Roba and the MNDF. Ira and Sarey were in charge of getting the students in and out of the boats after each race and making sure we had the right students at the right time. Ably supported by the teachers and our amazing notice board (sadly not made of cork board – wood coated in nice red beize had us all fooled for a while – however with a bit of effort and much cursing pins and paper were encouraged to find a precarious grip) which in true GB rowing style had a bus timetable and circulation pattern ..... I was very impressed with myself! 

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Sinan and I were in the launch getting boats to the start, starting the race and providing steering tips and hints on the way down. I even had one of the biggest megaphones known to man at my disposal. I stupidly listened to Sinan who informed me the on switch was the red button which I duly pressed and deafened most of the island with the alarm siren. However, once we’d turned it on properly, and I remembered to use it, it worked really well and I had a voice at the end of the day (not sure everyone else was so happy about that).  We had two further safety launches from MNDF who also provided trips for staff up and down the course and seemed to have an amazing supply of drinks and snacks that Sinan and I made the most of through the day. 

As the day progressed little issues such as what to use as a starting flag were ironed out – I switched from using a lycra to one of the very large Dhiraagu flags. FISA rules were explained to Sinan and I through the day so hopefully we got one or two of the races spot on! The students were great all proceeding up in single file to the start, with just the odd alternative thinker, and generally getting themselves nicely lined up. The fact we were through the start line most of the time when starting was something we let slide. Did mean we had a girls crew post the fastest time of the day much to the U18 and 16 boys anguish until I explained they had been 50m through the line by the time we were ready to go. Note for next time: have the marshalling point miles above the start line!!

To be continued.....

 


01/28/2012 01:57

is shortly

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01/28/2012 08:18

Many thanks for info

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03/10/2012 16:32

THX for info

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03/22/2012 00:10

good post

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03/22/2012 13:55

Many thanks for details

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03/29/2012 14:05

Fine info bro

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09/27/2012 13:57

nice post

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