Product sponsors and backers – on board so far, for the River Gambia Expedition 2012. Thank you to everyone!

We have some amazing product sponsors on board so far…thank you so much to every one of them! We have a few more in the pipeline too…tbc…watch this space.

We also have ‘An Exchange’ for those individuals who would like to own one of River Gambia Expedition 2012 co-leader, Jason Florio’s, limited edition fine art photography prints which he will take whilst we are in West Africa. Please click on the image below to watch Jason reveal all, on Vimeo, about how to jump on board too:

One of Jason’s fine art photography prints, available in ‘an exchange’ from the last expedition ‘Alkalo (chief) Masanneh Cham, Chamen Sosseh The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Dream boats…folding Canadian canoe…anyone? We just need ONE more. Can you help?

Jason Florio – Photographer and River Gambia Expedition Co-Leader model’s our new Ally Canoe (by Bergan’s of Norway)…beautifully. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

NEWSFLASH! 21st Aug 2012: we now are the proud owners of 1 x 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe – BIG thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, for facilitating a deal with Bergan’s of Norway (who make the expedition-style beauties). Now…we just need one more…read on…

OK…as sad as this sounds, over the last few months, Florio and I spent an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about the ideal canoes for our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. They have to be folding – as there will be times when we will need to portage all our camping and camera gear and the canoes, where the River Gambia is impassable – on our journey through the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, on into Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, and then finally into The Gambia. The canoes need to be lightweight, shock-absorbable (is that an actual word? Anyhooo, we need to know that if we, say, accidentally bump into the odd hippo – out of 6,000 of ‘em! in Niokolo, the craft won’t fall apart on impact!), flexible, insulated, have a high-load capacity, anatomic seats would be nice and, most importantly, easier (and quicker) to assemble then a Ikea PAX wardrobe. Oh…and they need to be about 17ft-18ft long – to fit 2-3 passengers (for when we pick up guides, and the odd armed guard, along the way). Colour – optional. Personally though, I’m partial to green or red.

Lastly, we need two one more of the things. Actually, (Bergan’s of) Norway and a little place in New Hampshire (PakBoats), USA, produce some beautiful crafts that fit our criteria perfectly.

Route Map – River Gambia Expedition 2012-1000km source to sea African odyssey

If there is anyone out there who might be able to help us with sponsorship for two one more canoe, please check out the ‘An Exchange’ page for more information. We also have a pdf of how we publicize all the product sponsors we have on board (pun most definitely intended). We have some fantastically generous product donators with us, so far.

OK…back to dream boats.

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

The ’811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe, made by Bergans of Norway, is out of the box…and the cardboard box continues to have its uses

The Ally is out of the box – as modelled by Florio – Expedition photographer and co-leader. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

And the empty box has it’s uses…as modelled by Jacob. Image © Jason Florio

If you would like to find out how you can help us get the 2nd canoe that we need for our Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou, for the ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ please check out expedition photographer and co-leader, Jason Florio, on Vimeo…he explains all.

Footage of the Ally being assembled coming shortly!

Thanks for popping by.

Toodle-pip!

The Florios

P.S. Thanks again to Tony, Tamarack Outdoors, for facilitating the deal with Bergans of Norway for the canoe.

We have our first folding canoe! Thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, and Bergans of Norway!

She’s a beauty! Ally Folding Canoe by Bergans of Norway – from Tamarack Outdoors, UK. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

We got up even before next door’s cockerel had a chance to start its crowing yesterday morning, for the long drive, ‘Up North, to pick up our first canoe from Tamarack Outdoors – a gem of a place out in the middle of nowhere…well, not exactly nowhere. They are actually based in a picturesque village not too far north of Preston, in Lancashire. Tamarack, by the way, is a North American Indian word that means – ‘the tree that makes snow shoes’.

And a very warm welcome indeed. Tamarack Outdoors. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

And a very warm welcome we received indeed, from the one of the owners, Tony, and his wife, Trudie. They may be Southerners originally (from Portsmouth), but a great Northern-style brew was also in the offing (thanks, Trudie!).

Florio and I were like were like kids in a sweetshop – except without the pocket money! Tamarack Outdoors is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of all things well, erm… outdoors – camping, climbing, canoeing and trekking.

‘At Tamarack Outdoors we are committed to offering outdoors clothing and equipment from specialist brands from around the world, often difficult to find in the UK. The range we carry caters primarily for the campcraft and outdoors person as well as the hill walker and camper. We have found that whilst there are some good items in the UK market, to find a range of quality clothing , that will stand up to the job in hand you often, unfortunately, need to look outside the UK’ . Tamarack Outdoors

Florio gets his first glimpse of the Ally Folding Canoe in the flesh – so to speak © Helen Jones-Florio

When we could contain our excitement a minute longer, Tony took us to the back of their cavernous warehouse to show us what we were about to take home with us, and what we will eventually be paddling down the River Gambia in: the 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe

‘The canoe for those who need large volume combined with high stability on plain waters and in rivers. For years the 16,5’ DR has been the no. 1 choice of expeditions all over the world. It is suitable for 2-3 persons with gear, or 2 grown-ups and 2 children. ALLY 16,5’ DR has the same shape as 15’ DR but a longer, less rockered keel line, which increases directional stability. This canoe has been paddled in heavy white water and on rivers with great technical difficulties with splendid success – making it the optimal choice under all conditions’ Ally Canoes – Bergans of Norway

Florio & ‘Tamarack’ Tony talk buoyancy aids. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

On first glance, I’m thinking ‘bloody hell, it’s long!’ However, its actually 1/2″ shorter than the canoe’s we’ve been practicing in (and we had one each the other day!) with the top trainers from the Surrey Canoe Club But, the Ally is most definitely wider than those canoes – we need a much space as possible to carry our camping and camera gear, when we are on the River Gambia Expedition 2012. The folding capacity will also come in very handy when we have to portage them, and our gear, in the eventuality of sections of the river being impassable.

Bergans of Norway, Tamarack Outdoors, UK – Image ˙© Helen Jones-Florio

After whiling away a good 2-3 hours, and another cracking cuppa, along with some great advice on canoes, camping, packing etc. from Tony, reluctantly, we had to bid au voir and begin the long drive back to Surrey – and it was…lengthy, rainy and rush hour traffic logged. But, well worth it. To have our first canoe on board – boxed up and ready to assemble (the fun bit!).

Trudie, H & Tony – Tamarack Outdoors. Image © Jason Florio

Its a BIG thank you to Tony and his business partner (Mike) at Tamarack Outdoors for persuading the powers that be at ‘Bergans of Norway’ to help us out, when they were at a recent trade fair in Germany. They succeeded where we didn’t on that score. So MEGA THANKS Tamarack Outdoor!! We’ll hopefully be back for the second canoe as soon as.

Now, where is that instructions video from Bergans, Florio?! YouTube footage coming soon, me thinks!!

Thanks for stopping by and supporting. More updates as and when.

The Florios (H & Flo)

 

 

Dream boats…folding Canadian canoe…anyone?

Jason Florio – Photographer and River Gambia Expedition Co-Leader model’s our new Ally Canoe (by Bergan’s of Norway)…beautifully. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

NEWSFLASH! 21st Aug 2012: we now are the proud owners of 1 x 811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe – BIG thanks to Tamarack Outdoors, UK, for facilitating a deal with Bergan’s of Norway (who make the expedition-style beauties). Now…we just need one more…read on…

OK…as sad as this sounds, Florio and I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about the ideal canoes for our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. They have to be folding – as there will be times when we will need to portage all our camping and camera gear and the canoes, where the River Gambia is impassable, on our journey through the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, on into Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal, and then finally into The Gambia. The canoes need to be lightweight, shock-absorbable (is that an actual word? Anyhooo, we need to know that if we, say, accidentally bump into the odd hippo in Niokolo, the craft won’t fall apart on impact!), flexible, insulated, have a high-load capacity, anatomic seats would be nice and, most importantly, easier (and quicker) to assemble then a Ikea PAX wardrobe! Oh…and they need to be about 17ft long – to fit 2-3 passengers (for when we pick up guides, and the odd armed guard, along the way). Colour – optional. Personally though, I’m partial to green or red.

Lastly, we need two one of the things. Actually, Norway and a little place in New Hampshire, USA, produce some beautiful crafts that fit our criteria perfectly.

Route Map – River Gambia Expedition 2012-1000km source to sea African odyssey

If there is anyone out there who might be able to help us with sponsorship for two one canoe, please check out the ‘An Exchange’ page for more information. We also have a pdf of how we publicize all the product sponsors we have on board (pun most definitely intended). We have some fantastically generous product donators with us, so far.

OK…back to dream boats.

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition: