Kicking death in the testicles

What I looked like just before defeating Death

There is something strangely satisfying about raising the middle finger to Death, telling it go play with marbles in peak-hour traffic. The instant you kick death in the nuts has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

How do I know this? I started the year by escaping Death’s clutches. It’s true.

January 1, 2011, was a perfect day in Durban. The sun was shining and there was a slight breeze blowing just to cool things down. It was the perfect day to get into a light aircraft and cruising up the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, which is how I would be spending my morning (thanks to KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife). We would leave Virginia Airport at 9.30am and head up to Kozi Bay, fly over the lakes an then head back. Lovely.

The bucket of death.

The aircraft (and I use the term very loosely) was a four-seater Cessna – which would be best described as a tin bucket with something barely resmbling wings attached at the side and a fan at the front. But I’ve been in worse, I will admit and I wasn’t particularly worried.

We left the ground and made our way north. This I say with absolute confidence: the North Coast is simply beautiful. The beaches are pristine. We flew over some of the coastal resorts and I will make it my mission to visit each of them over the next few years – they are just that awesome. We went over the coastal sanctuary and it’s magnificent coral reefs, spotting several turtles and pods of dolphin in the process. It was simply remarkable.

Then, on the way back, near Richards Bay [Why is it always that something bad happens in RBay? Like, seriously, is the place cursed or something? But I digress…] we hit a little bit of turbulance. And by “a little bit of turbulance” I mean “eff my life I am going to die!”
I guess there are uglier places in the world to die...

There was a pocket of warm air that hit the left wing, forcing the bucket with wings to rotate sharly to the right. The pilot, Myles, who was quite brilliant, righted the bucket and all was well – until another warm stream of air hit the right wing and sent us sharply rotating to the left. My kitbag went flying and I thought: “Okay, this is it. I’m about to become a headline.”

As you can tell by reading this, I didn’t die. I am not a headline. But, man, it felt good to kick Death’s arse.

Yes, this is a dramatic version of events. I wasn’t really going to die and the Cessna wasn’t a tin bucket. So, don’t worry, Ezemvelo Wildlife, you won’t get bad press as a result.


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