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Marathon kayaker treated disgracefully by marina official.

Werner Stoltz - Kayaking 16000 kms to prevent Aids in Africa Werner Stoltz is a remarkable young man who has taken the pledge to do something about HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Werner is attempting one of the most adventurous and dangerous expeditions, to raise awareness and money for HIV/AIDS. He is making a solo kayak trip from London to Durban - a total of 16 000km!

Unfortunately for Werner and for the reputation of Gibraltar Werner was treated disgracefully by a staff member of one of Gibraltar’s marinas. So much so that he was forced to return to Spain under inhospitable conditions. Read what Werner had to say about the incident:

I was really looking forward to cross from Gibraltar to Africa and seeing the place. However, on my arrival the weather had turned for the worse and I was really wet and cold. Only wearing a shirt and no rain coat I was near hypothermic and had been in the kayak for more than 7 hours. The mist had moved in and a strong westerly wind had picked up creating some real messy water. I decided to keep going to Gib as I knew I would get out there and take cover...on my arrival the weather dropped a bit and I pulled into the first marina to my right (Queensway Quay) once you get into Gib, that’s the one when you come in from morocco's end. It is the smaller one of the marinas.

To my surprise, this guy came out and told me that he can not help me as they have never dealt with a kayak and in order for me to go through customs I have to get a birth...a birth is where the big sailing boats go and stay. This is the first marina, all the way from London that said this. I could easily have just pulled it up where the slip was and done what I needed to do. When I asked what to do next, he suggested paddling across the bay back into Spain, even though you could not see anything. It then started raining again and I asked him if I could just get out and get a rain jacket out of my kayak, but he insisted I am not allowed to get out of the kayak as I have no birth and if I step out I need to go through customs, but cant do so without a birth. I explained that I have been in the kayak all day and am tired and cold. I just need to get out and get warm and out of the rain and then leave. He would not allow it. I mean it is not like I wanted to run away or anything. Where is there I can run to in Gibraltar??????, so I set off and went across the bay, well half way then turning back because I nearly got hit by a ferry. From there I went to La Linea in Spain, where they were more than happy to help me. From there I decided to go to Tarifa instead where I am still now recovering from a cold and fixing my kayak. Just waiting for the weather to clear ,then I should be away.

The thing is that according to some info I got from a sailing man: when the weather is bad there is no marina that can tell you that you are not allowed to land or seek shelter... but I guess I did not fit the profile of the rich... it's sad because I will never in my life like to go back there just because of one person who was too lazy to do some paper work and afraid of the rain. Just wish I had his name, I would like to mention him in my book when I am done... Sorry if you feel I am a bit harsh for judging a whole country one one bad experience. would like to take the opportunity to apologise on behalf of the Gibraltarian people for the incident that occurred. We are generally a very charitable and hospitable people and therefore warmly welcome you to return (using another marina) and enjoy our small nation’s hospitality. We hope that some if not many of our readers will take the opportunity to donate generously for what is a very noble and worthy cause.

Click here: to read more about Werner’s challenge
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