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Marathon Kayaker: Werner's departure from Gibraltar is delayed until March

Werner Stoltz, a man who has taken the pledge to do something about HIV/AIDS. With the help of God and his sponsors, Werner will be the first person to attempt one of the most adventurous and dangerous expedentions to raise awareness and money for HIV/AIDS: a solo kayak trip from London, UK to Durban, South Africa - a total of 16 000km! We invite you to be a part of this groundbreaking journey!

"As most of you are aware, I was supposed to be on my way again today. Unfortunately as these things go, I have experienced more delays. I can now tell you that without a doubt I will be away on Monday March 12th. The reason for all these delays is very frustrating but at the same time I am really happy I have been slowed down. The kayak Epic made for me is shipped from their factory in China and unfortunately due to the weight of the kayak protection packaging as well as the sheer length of the kayak, it was financially impossible to send the kayak by air. So now the kayak is being shipped by sea and will take about 5 weeks to Gib. (Scheduled arrival in Spanish port is 10 March - Ed)

The delays have proved life saving when I think of it. During the past few weeks I have received lots of help and support from various people and companies. I think it's fair to say that the road to Durban without these people's help would have ended up in a disaster. For example, some of the things I have managed to get sponsored:-

Satellite phone - André de Bar. André has given me his personal satellite phone with credit to stay in touch with the outside world in case of emergencies.

Desalinator - André de Bar. The Katadyn Survivor 35 desalinator can pump 4.5 litres of sea water in an hour. This will come in handy in Africa as fresh water will not always be easily available.

EPIRB - The crew of the Ta Manu yacht that stopped in Gib put money together to buy me this expensive piece of equipment. The EPIRB will be used for emergencies when my life is in danger and on activation sends out a distress signal.

Outrigger - (a Canadian company) has sponsored me with an outrigger for the African leg of the trip. The outrigger will be used to keep me away from the coast and help me to sleep on the sea with ease. It will also come in handy for when my visas run out again.

Kokotat Dry Jacket - Kokotat are the leaders in sea kayak wear. They have sponsored me with a wave dry jacket.

As you will notice, all very important and potentially lifesaving equipment! Thank you all!

I have recently also moved onto André's power boat ICO . If I had not met this amazingly generous man here in Gib I would have been badly stuck while waiting for my visas and new kayak. Other good news is that the Egyptian visa was issued valid for 3 months! We are still awaiting approval for the Libyan visa. Fingers crossed as this one seems hard to get.

And then I'd like to say thank you to Nigel Jefferies. I met Nigel in Gib through another kayaker called Norman, who I will get to tell you about later. So Nigel have really gotten involved in helping me with all the procedures to get the kayak into Gibraltar. It is really hard to bring anything into Gib because of the tax laws, but Nigel has arranged it all. Thanks Nigel!

So this brings me to Norman. Norman is a man I met when I first got to Gib. He saw me coming in here the very first time, and saw me leaving. Then when I came back from Morocco (into Gib) he saw me again and knew about the expedition as he had read about it somewhere. Norman is a one legged paddler and Gibraltar's kayak champ. He is one of those guys who's just in love with the sport. He reminds me of a duck crossed with Rambo whenever we go for a paddle around the rock. Kitted out in every piece of equipment available in the stores, headband and hood on his head, he uses this as excuse to do his vanishing act on water. One moment you'd be talking and paddling beside Norman, and just like that he disappears under the water only to roll back up on the other side. "I was getting a bit warm" is his words every time he pops back up. So yes, if ever a kayaker loved to eskimo roll in cold Atlantic water while the wind is blowing a gale, it most definitely is Norman. Paddling with Norman has definitely made me realise again how wonderful it is to be an inch from the water and free as a bird. Check the website for more photo's of Norman aka Rambo under water."

Click here: to access Werner's site and to make a donation

Image: Werner with one of his friends from South Africa, in on eof Gibraltar's many pubs

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