Maldives Rowing Volunteer
First night wearing every single one of our woolly clothes!
So after a lunch of curried fish intestine, rice, onion omelette and 3 bananas I feel ready to tackle the back log of blogging.... I have tried to upload this blog three times now and computer gods hate me so much the internet crashes each time i'm ready to hit publish.

We’re all back in Addu and what a time we had! So many firsts for Hasna, Sharu-u and Sarey – first long haul flight (the novelty waned rapidly and by the Doha – Seoul flight the ‘are we nearly there yet?’ questions began to come out – all now hate long plane journeys), first escalator – going up and down them helped pass the four hours in Qatar airport, first time being in air cold enough to see your breath (check out Sarey in his coat!!), first bus ride that lasted for three hours and we had still not reached the end of the road and of course the hills and mountains. Highest point in the Maldives being 2.3m!

Fun, food and photos in the accreditation office
Talking of firsts on the night we arrived while waiting to collect a few other countries before going to  the hotel we bought a few bits and pieces to eat from the 7 Eleven including sea weed – yes a definite Howard purchase, Mum would be proud. Everyone gamely tried some and a variety of faces were pulled and comments made. However, by the end of the trip everyone was tucking into the packets of seaweed served regularly with lunch and dinner.

A note on the food here – thankfully despite missing fresh tuna and ‘proper rice’ the food was deemed by all to be edible and even in some cases tasty (praise indeed!). Happily for the dustbin on the team, I had no problem and was glad the others would try everything once before a decision as to whether they liked it or not was made. Unfortunately, for Hasna she discovered that gummy rice dumplings with gooey unknowns in the middle were not to her taste while a bunch of sweet Korean ladies were doing all they could to entertain us in the accreditation office. She stood behind me and retched and gagged and pulled funny faces until it went down. Then as food was being plied on us grabbed a load of mentos to keep the ladies at bay!

Leisure Boats = super sonic stealth craft...
So how to describe it all? Let’s go with Training Camp first. Five FISA coaches, headed by Brian Richardson, had been put in charge of the camp and each country taking part was split between these five coaches. The first day involved me putting on my rigging hat (never my favourite occupation). I have a feeling I looked like I was just pulling numbers out of thin air doing some crazy calculations and then pronouncing we were half a centimetre out or spot on to the bemused looks of Sarey and the other two. Because we were coming from coastal boats the Korean organising committee had rented a couple of ‘leisure boats’ for our use. One stable flat bottomed, complete with stabalisers that I immediately removed, and the other nicely keeled and a good bit wobblier than what we were used to. So having rigged the boats perfectly and finally found two sets of blades that actually managed to go down to 285cm we launched onto the water staying within range of the landing stage. All went well with everyone marvelling at the lightness of our leisure craft.

That afternoon, Brian having announced to the whole camp that the weather and water conditions at Chungju were spectacular and perfect, the wind had picked up into a biting cross and the water was covered in lovely waves. So with strict instructions regarding the circulation pattern Sarey and I launched our two little athletes to go and complete their first ever 4km on a proper course. General heart attacks ensued as Sharu-u decided the dead lane was the right one to be in and convinced Hasna he was right. So Sarey and I ran round and cadged a lift with the Korean coach and Anna our lovely translator. We caught up with them and then really confused them by making them come off the course out of the way of all the others while they got the hang of the finer boats. The four km was completed with both boats being blown all over the shop – they felt better about it all when they heard all the other athletes complaining about what a horrendous outing it had been.

The hills are alive
The rest of the week was lovely flat calm and sunny and we built steadily up to 16km spread over two sessions. I decided a three session day was in order and hauled everyone into the gym after lunch one day – next day I had two very tired athletes who were barely able to speak so thought it was best to just stick to the two sessions. Instead we went for a couple of walks up in the hills behind the accommodation and played basketball on the court when anyone felt they had more energy.

Some of the ladies in yellow
The Koreans had organised a load of interpreters to help all the teams out and they were really lovely and exceptionally friendly. To Anna, Sol and Sura goes a huge thank you for sorting out telephones, washing powder, rigging equipment, basketballs and anything else 'Team Maldivou' required. By the end of our stay 'Team Maldivou' had created quite a name for ourselves for not only causing ‘minor’ issues such as having organised nothing to decorate our blades with – stickers had to be ordered in the last couple of days (doing things at the last minute – never!) but for also being very smiley, friendly and outgoing. Sharu-u was a definite hit with all in yellow jackets holding court regularly even while getting on the water for racing.....! We tease him lots, there were tears when we left....

Ok the rest of the tale I hope to put up tomorrow all things going my way!

x Tash


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10/03/2012 02:07

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