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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Black Hawk Adventures – A family of travelers: Life’s always an Adventure

After 14 years, four children, 55 countries, and 250 000km, this Argentinean couple had a dream of travelling around the world by car and still on the road fulfilling their dream.

In 1999, Herman Zapp and his wife Candelaria climbed into their car and drove out of Argentina with only $4 000 in hand.  Using their 1928 Graham Paige they went to Alaska as both wanted to go, so that’s what they did.  “I saw the car two months before we left and fell in love with it so I brought it,” Herman said in Cape Town, where they now live. They arrived in South Africa last year.

In the same year Herman, an electrician, and Candelaria, a secretary, sold their house, packed what they could into the car and left. “Everyone thought we were crazy,” Herman said. “But, really, who is crazy – the one who goes for the dream or the one who doesn’t?”

Even that they are doing what they wanted at first the couple has some fears.  “That first day was the hardest,” said Herman. But the pair was determined. “If you let your fear take hold, your life will pass you by,” he explained.

The couple, Herman Zapp and Candelaria was married for 20 years. “We think we will be around forever but it’s important to rethink life,” said Herman. “My mother died when she was only 46, the only legacy I have taken from her is to ‘do it now’.”

They survive mainly on the kindness of others, having been taken in by more than 2 500 households all around the world. “You have to give a chance to people to show how good they can be.”

They have three children, three boys and a girl and every child were born in different countries. Herman said being on the road was the best education they could get.

“School is important, but it’s not the most intelligent person who survives, it is the person who learns how to adapt the fastest.”  The husband is in no doubt that his children will be better people for experiencing all the different cultures of the places they’ve been to.

“We’ve been to Australia and Canada and have stayed with kids who’ve had rooms full of toys, but we’ve also been to countries like Cambodia where children have made toys from sticks.”

This kind of education, said Herman, is priceless.

“Now they know that everything has value and meaning.” Candelaria said the children were excellent travellers and adapted easily.

The Zapps, are currently living in a flat in Constantia, Cape Town.  They supplement their income by selling their book, Spark Your Dreams and giving motivational talks.  Their next plan as soon as they have enough money, they plan to head to Egypt for their next adventure.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Diving - Black Hawk News - Adventures Guide

Since 1943, scuba diving has become a famous activity practiced the world over after the invention of the aqualung by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Diving could be dangerous if you are not qualified to do so but there are now many training programs to meet the requirements as a diver. There is PADI, NAUI and CMAS after, divers can rent equipment, request air fills, and dive without any higher supervision but it is always recommended to dive with a buddy.

If you are planning to go diving here are some great places you can visit:

Vinales, Cuba. Maria la Gorda and Cayo Levisa are Vinales’ great diving site and it is two of the most candid diving spots in the world. The stunning Maria la Gorda’s black corals overflowing with marine life such as barracudas and red snappers is a good choice for a diving spot. While Cayo Levisa is a dreamy mangrove-island on a 3km long coral-reef.

Dahab, Egypt. For divers of all levels Dehab is an easy shore access of a great spot for divers. It has deep water and extreme visibility. You can have the chance to see not only large numbers of reef species but also the occasional pelagic and even the odd shark.

Bali, Indonesia. Warm tropical waters, marine landscaped coral reefs, wreck diving and abundant tropical fish and mammals, these are just few of what Bali can offer divers. Not to mention there are plenty of dive sites all around the compact island and each with crystal waters and the opportunity to dive with dolphins. The three of the top spots are Menjangan Island, Tulamben and the island of Nusa Penida.

Boracay, Philippines is a Pilipino national marine preserve. It is one of the most famous diving sites in Southeast Asia. This is one of the great beaches in the world which makes it a great choice for a holiday vacation plus it offers a wide range of dive activities. You will also enjoy the numerous good quality resorts, restaurants, bars and nightlife.

Koh Tao, Thailand. If you want a pure relaxation and a getaway from the outside world, then this is definitely the perfect place for you. This place is small Tropical Island covered in jungle, surrounded by many quiet, palm tree covered beaches. You can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving. You will definitely enjoy the corals and the turtles.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. By the bay of Kota Kinabalu Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is a marine park made up of a number of islands. The waters here offer divers a first glimpse of Borneo’s profuse array of corals and underwater creatures. Its calm water is ideal for macro and close up photography, with a World War II Japanese freighter wreck nearby for the adventurous.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Black Hawk Mines Adventure - Adding outdoor adventure to the family mix

NOW summer’s finally here, it’s time to take your whole brood outdoors and create some lasting memories.
Lisa Salmon is inspired by two adventure experts who have written The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
THE electronic age, combined with an increasing tendency to wrap children in cotton wool, means kids are staying inside more than ever.
But while hours spent playing on a computer or watching TV may keep kids entertained, there’s one thing for sure: electronic entertainment is not what childhood memories are made of.
Memories come from doing things like climbing trees, making dens, sitting round a campfire and generally having fun outdoors; say Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, who have written The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors to encourage more families to get out and about together.
The married couple has picked up a wealth of knowledge about the great outdoors since they abandoned the London rat race when their first child was born more than 20 years ago, and moved to a farm in Kincardineshire.
They now have six children, five dogs and six horses, and their children have been brought up to love the outdoor life.
They’ve learned all manner of outdoor skills that Charlie and Caroline share in the book, from building rafts and treehouses, to starting a campfire and cooking on it, and even skinning a rabbit.
“Danger and fun have evaporated from normal life, but we brought our children up in the middle of nowhere in a very free way,” says Charlie.
“They were allowed to go off and play in rivers and climb trees, which is how I was brought up.
“We think that’s had a profound effect on their confidence and their sense of who they are.”
As well as information about outdoor living, the book includes advice on making weapons. Charlie’s great-great grandfather was the famous Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone, who had a collection of hundreds of axes, which Charlie still treasures.
He gives swinging and chopping advice in the book, after reminding readers never to forget how dangerous the tools are.
He also explains how to make weapons including a potato cannon, bow and arrow, dart launcher and catapult, and says: “One of the theories we have is that if boys particularly were allowed to chop with axes, throw things, make weapons and light fires a bit more often, there’d be very little fighting in the street.
“Boys are naturally aggressive, and the wrong outlet for that is computer games or TV. If kids get out and run round, climb something and get really dirty, they’ll come in and be sweetness and light.”
But Charlie, 49, stresses that just because his children – who are aged between 13 and 23 – have been brought up spending a lot of time outdoors, it doesn’t mean they don’t have TVs, iPads and computers.
“Of course they do. We haven’t brought them up in a way that says outdoor fun is all they’re allowed.
“But in a world full of ‘stuff’ and purchases, it’s nice to strip all that back and go for a sense of purity.” He says their outdoor fun is easily achievable partly because of where they live. But we’re not suggesting that children need to grow up in such a remote place – anybody can climb a tree, go for a long walk, swim in a river or cook on a campfire.”
Many parents may appreciate the fun side of the outdoor life, but worry about the safety aspects. However, Charlie stresses that as a child he did “unbelievably reckless” things, such as jumping into a river in flood, with a rope tied to his waist at one end and to a tree at the other.
“It was fine,” he insists, “and it removes an element of fear.
“You can survive unbelievable things in life. Allowing your children to walk to school on their own for the first time in a city is much more risky than climbing a tree.
“You just have to apply common sense, and learn your limitations.”
And while he acknowledges modern health and safety rules can have their place, he says, sometimes such rules can be “a nightmare”, which aren’t constructive or helpful.
“Stopping children from doing some of these things doesn’t improve their life,” he insists.
As well as explaining how to master outdoor skills, the guide suggests outdoor activities for families such as building rafts, dams, dens and treehouses, and making rope swings, smoke signals and even rosehip itching powder.
“You’d think kids would tire of outdoor games by the time they’re about ten,” says Charlie, “but if you add some real challenge and danger, they’ll enjoy them throughout their life.

“You need to be quite bossy with kids though and tell them, ‘We’re going to do it, tough’.”
He adds: “The best fun you can have in the world is sitting round a campfire with your kids. Given the opportunity, anyone can do these things – they’re completely free, and it terrifies me that more people don’t do them.”

• The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone is published by Square Peg, priced £12.99