Duo arrives in Miami after rowing from Africa

By Peter Burke, Managing Editor, pburke@local10.com
Todd Tongen, Reporter, Anchor, ttongen@Local10.com
Published On: May 07 2014 02:48:38 PM EDT
Updated On: May 07 2014 10:18:00 PM EDT

Two rowers made it all the way from South Africa to Biscay Bay.

MIAMI -

Two South African rowers arrived Wednesday in Miami, becoming the first to row from Africa to North America.

Riaan Manser and Vasti Geldenhuys arrived at Bayside about 12:30 p.m.

"The city of Miami is honored to welcome these two courageous adventurers as they touch U.S. soil for the first time in our city," Mayor Tomas Regalado said in a statement.

It was the final stretch of a grueling 5,000-mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean. They left Agadir, Morocco, on Dec. 30, 2013, in a row boat called the "Spirit of Madiba," named after Nelson Mandela.

"We have done something that in history, no human being has ever done," said Manser. "My knees are so sore, I feel like a 100-year-old man."

The couple said the lowest point came right after their small boat capsized due to 25 to 30 foot waves. They realized that water had gotten inside their satellite phone transmitter. That was when they realized it was a life or death situation.

But the duo said coming into Government Cut and seeing the Miami skyline was the payoff.

"I am so glad I did it," said Geldenhuis. "It is an amazing, amazing feeling to have achieved something like this, but I will never do it again."

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