South Africa Pictures

Ok so I have finally gotten through sorting the 610 pictures that Adam sent me from South Africa. Some have already been added to certain posts but this will be a mostly picture thread, in chronological order. There were a lot of landscape shots, but I am posting the best of those. I am also still waiting on Vinnies pictures I dont know what is taking him so long.

Here is the field, a classic Millenium bunker set with the href="http://www.warpig.com/paintball/tournament/millennium/2008/malaga/fields/">Malaga layout. The only difference is that we had a dorito in the other corner.

A couple pictures of the "hotel" we stayed at for the tournament. Easily the nicest place i have ever stayed at for a paintball event. It was the first time i have seen a thatch roof, it was super nice to hear the rain on it the night we had a huge thunderstorm. We were all secretly wondering if it would leak, but it was tight as a drum.

Some more pictures from the lion park. The only thing stopping that lion from eating JP was the window of our car. Well that and us driving away, but regardless the beast was large and close.

The following are pictures from the Pilanesberg game reserve.Read about our 12 hours in the Game Park here

This is the map of the whole reserve. We drove around in here for 12 hours and still only got to about 1/2 the area on the map.

Some pictures of Tom Cole stalking a wildebeest. He is always trying to push the limits to get a better shot.

A picture of the rare West Virginian leg slug.

Warthogs eating and playing. You really had to be alert to spot a lot of these animals. People would blow right by us as we were watching all kinds of stuff. Not many people saw the giraffe, but the baboons were everywhere by this one dam.

Me with some badass wood carvings at the lunch spot.

We could stop at certain points to get out and stretch and take in the view. It was some beautiful country. Apparently it was the wettest it had been in a long time, as the lakes and rivers were very full, and the country was very lush and green.

We saw some cool animals but not as cool a scene as this one tourist got to see at Kruger National Park.

Here is our Route from Rustenberg to Cape Town. Read about it here : Road Trip

View Larger Map

So the next group of pictures is from hiking up Table Mountain and some spectacular views from the top. Read all about it here : First Day in Cape Town

Adam pointing at the Cape of Good Hope

This is the main downtown area of Cape Town. You can see the tall skyscrapers as well as the V & A Port in the background. Looking back it is really hard for all these pictures to do justice to the spectacular natural views.

Cape of Good Hope and Coastal Drive.
Read about this day here

There were Hells Angels all over Cape Town I guess there was a rally. This guy brought his date with him.

Behind me nothing but ocean and Antartica

A couple of lizards we found while hiking around
The historical coastal town of Simontown.

Random Pics

A couple pictures of the hostel we stayed at House on the Hill.

A picture of a shanty house. It was very eye opening to see so many people living a hand to mouth existence, walking everywhere.

That is the cream of the pictures I got from Adam. I am bugging Tom Cole and Vinnie for their pictures, so when I get more I will post them up.



So my brother owns a natural resources consulting company, Sustainable Solutions. One of the contracts he has is to do prescribed burns. Basically a prescribed burn is when a piece of land is too rough or overgrown for mowing the best way to clear it out and encourage new growth and species is to burn it.

Being a professional paintball player means you have to have some sort of contract work or alternate type job to keep money in your pocket. The regular 9 to 5 desk job would tell you to kick rocks if you occasionally asked off for weeks at a time. There are not many pro players out there who can truly claim to only play paintball for a living. We would all love to be there and have been in the past but the truth is sponsorship is down this year. Enter firefighting.

This is the Engine and Ranger. The Engine tank holds 400 gallons and has a 200 ft hose reel on top, with multiple other hose lays available. The Ranger has a 100 gallon tank and 100 ft reel. We were working in an old Pine plantation that needed to be brought back to its natural state of mixed hardwood forest.

We had a 2 day burn with an understory burn of about 25 acres the first day.We backed the engine down our fireline and kept up a wet line to keep the fire contained.

The wind was predicted to be steady out of the north but it was very variable at times which made for some tense situations. The line we put down held perfectly and all the equipment was more than adequate for the situation.

It was a great 2 days of work. Two back to back 12 hour days, grinding away on the fireline will keep you in shape to play a little paintball. I am training my 3 man guys again tomorow so we will see how they do. Planning on going up to Crims as Arsenal and NE Hurricanes are going to be there, so I can show the squad how the pros do it. Do work


Bad Company Wins Aruba!!!!

I just got off the phone with Tom Cole. In a tense 3 game set where Company had to max Rapidos (with Mikko and Xalo from Ironmen) to win the last game, the boys did it. "Two stalemates with them getting the pull," said Tom, "then we had a great breakout and ended up smashing them pretty good in the last game." Tommys teams the Mercenarios finished up in 4th, losing out to Aruba Unpredictable Assasins who got 3rd. Much thanks to Aruba Madness and Replacements for all their help. I could hear the awards ceremony going on behind Tom and I have to admit I was a little jealous, but very proud. All kudos go to both Adams, Kevin, Coleman and Chris. Great job guys we are proud of you...have some cold ones tonight and enjoy it. Take some pictures and email them to me asap :)

Boat Capsizes in South Africa

Check out this article on the wire. Boat Capsizes . That is in Gansbaai right where we went...The waves were rather large for our boat ride and I thought that, along with not spotting any sharks was a bad day. I would hate to get hit by a "freak" wave that capsizes you into the freezing water filled with sharks. My condolences to the families of the 3 people that died in this terrible accident.



I have been texting with Adam. The 5 man team is Adam Smith, Kevin Fillers, Adam Johnson, Coleman, and Cmac...They won all 6 games today with 4 more to go tomorow. Tom Cole is playing with another team, having already promised to do so before he knew Bad Company was going to be at the tournament. Toms teams is in 2nd having lost one and a half games. Adam said the weather was beautiful. They went kayaking around the island and checked some stuff out. I am working on pictures :)

Weather is kind of stormy here...if it isnt raining probably go out to Leesburg and train with my boys. I am trying to get them in shape to qualify in one of the Spyder Cup regionals. Lots of gun skill drills and concentrating on field awareness. I play them 3 on 1 and some 2 on 1s to help with closing.

Also check out this blog called Mara Triangle. Its all about rangers and their problems working on the Mara Conservancy game reserve. It is fascinating the things they have to go through in a day.

I will post up results as soon as I hear from the guys.


Final Chapter

Sunday morning starts with us bidding farewell to House on the Hill. One of the nicest hostels I have stayed at this place was great to us...a haven amidst all the chaos that is Cape Town. We did some last minute shopping and grabbed lunch at the V of A waterfront. A quick stop to check out the colored houses in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood then gassed up the VW for the long drive back to Johannesburg. We stopped once in the middle of the country to look at the incredible stars. We all agreed that it was the best view we have ever seen. You could see the whole Milky Way spread out across the sky like a crescent moon made of stars. We made it about 800 kilometers (497 miles in 7.5 hrs = 66 mph avg not bad) before we hit the wall and couldnt drive any more. We stopped in the tiny town of Colesburg and got a room at the Colesburg Lodge. Our super friendly clerk Ullrich took great care of us, made sure we got a meal in the restaurant and we crashed hard. Woke up and 7 and got on the road as soon as possible. Made the remaining 700k in 6.5 hours ( 67 mph avg). We met up with Dawid and Ash at their mall, grabbed some fast lunch, said our goodbyes, then had some stressful 30 minutes of navigating to Dawid house to grab our gear bags. We snagged our bags and sped to the airport with barely 90 minutes until our flights left. We all checked in just in time and the 3 musketeers broke up as Adam had a flight to Atlanta and Vinnie and I had a 19 hour flight to JFK. Vinnie and I shared a luxurious whole row for the first 8 hours before our layover in Dakar, Senegal. After the layover the flight got really bad. We had a bunch more people get on the flight, so we were moved out of our row, and promptly bracketed by crying, sick babies. After the 15+ hours of driving and the already 8 hours of flying this was a hectic ride for sure. We toughed it out only to find that when we got to JFK Vinnie had missed his connecting flight to LA, and my connection went to Dulles an airport some 45 miles from my house (that hurts when there is an airport 5 miles from my house).Saying good bye to Vinnie I flew my final leg, then took a bus to the Metro. Total travel time for me since leaving Jo'burg 27 hrs. Vinnies time was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+hours. Total miles flown somewhere around 14,000. Total Miles Driven close to 2,000. Overall it was a fantastic trip. South Africa is a beautiful country and the people are very friendly. The food is top notch and the wine is great too. The paintball part wasnt great for us but all the credit has to be given to the teams in SA. They have been practicing and working on their game and the results show. Hopefully we will get another chance to come back and prove ourselves again.


Shark Diving and Saturday Night

As Adams phone alarm blares through the morning I struggle to remember where I am and why I am up. It all hits me in a rush Great Whites!! Carcharodon carcharias, the biggest meanest fish in the sea; and we are going to be jumping in the water with them albeit in a cage. I shake Adam awake and we stumble into the car. Some quick navigating and he passes out and I floor it as we left kind of late. 2hours and 15 min later we cruise into the one horse town of Gansbaai. We meet the tour operator, Unreal Dive Expeditions, in a little restaurant and have some breakfast. Our group is fairly varied some German tourists, some Americans and some Hells Angels. Apparently there is a big rally in Cape Town this weekend as the Angels have been everywhere. This group is sporting patches from Germany and Finland. We load onto the boat and head in the the biggest seas either Adam or I have ever been in. We have a 2 story boat and when we are in the bottom of a wave the next wave is about 10 ft above us. That means at least 30 ft seas. The crew brief us on what is going on and let us know that the rough seas may mean the captain may have to turn the boat around. More importantly it means people start getting seasick right away. I took some anti nausea medicine and Adam is just tough, but people were dropping like flies. After a 1 hr boat ride past Danger Point, we get out to Dire Island and Shark Alley, where we are going to start chumming the water. Anything you have seen on the Discovery channel about sharks breaching has been filmed here, in Shark Alley. At this point they ask if any of the seasick people (2 girls, 1 german, 1 American, and 3 Hells Angels) want to get off. Apparently for an additional $50 they will send out a smaller boat and you can end your trip early. The 2 girls and 2 guys take the smaller boat in, but all the Hells Angels stay and tough it out. We anchor and start dumping fish heads and blood into the water. At this point we take a nap expecting the call for Great Whites at any time. Waking up, we find that after 3 hours of chumming the crew has decided that there are no sharks out today, and we are headed back into shore. The mood is decidedly ugly, and we all curse nature for not sending us any sharks. When we get back to shore we dont get our money back we just get vouchers that have no expiration and are transferable. So if anyone is going to South Africa and wants to go cage diving with Great Whites let me know, I can get you a deal. Unreal Tours were top notch; the crew and boat were super nice, but when the seasons are changing I guess it can be a little hard to find the sharks.

We were super depressed heading back to Cape Town. When we meet up with Vinnie at HOH within 10 minutes he cheers us up by chugging some floor cleaner. I guess the maid put her floor cleaner in a water bottle and Vinnie thought it was some sort of flavored water. A solid hour of rolling on the floor laughing at him while he gags and spits put us into a much better mood. We shower up and head out for a restaurant on the waterfront that Vinnie has scoped out earlier called Balthazar. This is a top notch fine dining steak and seafood restaurant with a 600 bottle wine list. They serve Karan beef and obviously super fresh seafood. Our server is right on helping us pick out a great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Western Cape, and assisting Vinnie and Adam in choosing a great surf and turf of calimari, tiger prawns and a sirloin. I have the fillet and it was melt in you mouth tender. Some rice and green beans round out a superb meal, and we head back down to Long St to check out some places recommended by our server. The first place is a kind of lounge with a super sweet porch that overlooks Long St. After a couple of beers we head down the road to a more clubby type place, but here we also end up just hanging out on the porch/deck overlooking Long St. After that we tried to head to some famous club on the 13th floor of the ABSA bank building but Vinnies skate sneakers got us all neg'd at the door. Thus another night in Cape Town ended...it would have been great to seen some sharks though....

Ok so I found that picture from the shark cage on the internet. All we got pictures of were seasick people puking and Vinnie puking. The USB card reader adaptor I took with me wasnt compatible with Adams Fuji memory card. We took a ton of pictures and I will get them published as soon as Adam sends them to me which hopefully will be soon. I will make a separate picture post as well as go back and upload some relevant pix to each post. Im very sorry I know these stories would be way better with all the pictures. Mea Culpa

EDIT : First Round of Pictures is Up Here

Cape of Good Hope

We woke today again to the sounds of the French guitar player that shares the courtyard in our hostel. Apparently he practices his scales starting around 7, then starts in with chords around 8, then full songs around 9. This has the effect of getting us up early, but we arent happy about it. We checked in with our guy at House on the Hill to setup some cage diving with great white sharks. Basically its $140, and the boat leaves from a little town called Gansbaai (pronouced Hansbai)at 8 am. Its a 3 hour drive from where we are in Cape Town, but Adam and I are in for sure. We book for Saturday morning, and hop in the car to cruise along the west coast of Cape Town. Its an awesome drive, kind of comparable to California coastline. We drive through the very Gucci towns of Clifton and Camps Bay, which were even nicer in the daytime then they were last night. We head for the Cape of Good Hope, that infamous point that has been the bane of many an ancient mariner. Apparently over 400 shipwrecks litter the ocean floor around here. I would love to come back sometime and do some Scuba diving. After making another contribution to the South African National parks we enter the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve. Driving past signs that implore us not to feed the baboons, we spot packs of them as well as some turtles and ostriches. Parking at the Cape, next to some tour busses we run towards the water. Our feet freezing we look out towards Antartica, and try to ignore the hordes our tourists behind us. Seeking some solitude we hike up a bluff and get some quiet. Its the farthest south any of us have been and it is a spectacular view. Heading back up the eastern coast of False Bay, we stop in the little town of Muizenburg for some fish and chips. Apparently this town is a surfing mecca, and Adam and I decide to rent some boards and wetsuits for an hour. For this privilege we are set back 50 rand each, some $6. Lunch = $3.50, Surfboard and Westsuit= $6, Spectacular Views of Cape of Good Hope and great Waves = Priceless. I love South Africa. It was Adams first time and my 2nd time surfing but we still managed to get up for a couple of good rides. We returned to shore to find Vinnie about 4/5 drinks deep, and headed back to get showered up, and grab some dinner. All the sea views had left us with a hankering for sushi so we walked down the street from House on the Hill (hereby referred to as HOH) for a killer sushi dinner. 3 guys crushing a ton of sushi and some beers and it was still only $60. We decided to head down to Long Street, which is Cape Towns nightlife district. We found this awesome place called Mama Africa. They had a 6 piece band called Abakhava, with a drummer, 3 xylophonists, horn and lead singer/dancer. The most interesting part was they had no amplification at all and they still sounded spectacular. The lead singer had the most amazing voice and all he would do was hold one of his ears closed to "turn up his monitors". This Is Africa (TIA).


First Day in Cape Town

Today dawned with bright blue skies, cotton ball clouds and perfect temperatures around 70. We walked 10 minutes to the Victoria and Albert (V of A) waterfront which is a massive complex of an actual working port, restaurants, shopping, and residential. Had some delicious English breakfast of classic eggs, meat, beans and tomatoes, all the while overlooking the port. We did some light shopping and headed to the downtown area to check out the famous Long st and Loop st. We found some great old school downtown buildings on lively one way streets. We browsed through some shops and markets and I checked out an internet cafe ( finally!). After pulling Vinnie and Adam away from the bar we decided it was time to conquer Table Mountain. But who wants to ride up a cable car?? Anyone can do that. We decided to hike up the 1050 meters ( 3360ft) through a gorge called Platteklip Gorge. After a 70 minute vertical scramble that almost killed Vinnie, we got to the top and were awarded some of the best views I have ever seen. We spent about 1 hour on top then headed back to our gorge and scrambled back down the mountain. Got to our place hit the showers and headed out to Clifton Bay for some seafood. We had a superb meal of Springbok Carpaccio, Calamari, and a seafood platter of prawns, fish skewers, mussels and assorted other goodies. Had a couple beers and headed back with one of the greatest days of our lives under our belts.

Next Post Cape of Good Hope and Surfing
as soon as I can...also I Promise I will get some pictures up we are having some technical difficulties :)

Road Trip to Cape Town

So we were up at 6:30 am, but still managed to miss Tom Cole who had already balled out for Botswana. We headed south on the R30 against the advice of our hotel clerk. It was a winding 2 lane road and we had no problem until we hit the final town where it ran into the highway the N12. Well apparently in this town they had not caught up with changing the signs as the N12 was formerly called the R29. After some confusion we sorted it out and headed south again. It was very desolate country with the occasional high hill (called kloofs) jutting up out of the flat plains. The occasional giraffe, ostrich, tssebe and impala sighting helped Adam pass driving the first 1000km, a 10 hr shift behind the wheel. The road also had the occasional construction site as well as passing the huge South African double tractor trailers. We saw an accident as well where a huge truck had gone off the road into the ditch. A lot of the the nicer trucking companies had on the back of their trailers signs that read "No yellow line passing", meaning they would not ride on the shoulder to let you pass them. The drivers were very nice though using their signals to let you know if it was clear and flashing their lights. I took over for the final push into Cape Town, right as the sun was setting and the rain was starting. A slightly hairy drive through the mountains similiar to I15 through Utah, was marked only by a major accident. Some cargo had fallen off one of the trucks into the road and a little car towing a trailer swerved into the ditch. Made it to our hostel after 15hrs of driving a 1465km (910miles), a respectable 60 miles per hour. Called House on a Hill, our place is great. We have a single room with 2 singles and a bunk bed, and its own shower etc. We put the orphan child aka Vinnie on the bunkbeds. Ate some great Vietnamese stir fry at a place right down the street, drank a couple beers and crashed.


Game Park

Monday was a transition day. We moved out of our awesome Inkwazi (sp?) hotel and went to the mall to meet up with Dawid. Kevin, Jp and Coleman all headed back to the States today so now there are 4 of us. We headed north on the N4 through Pretoria headed for Rustenburg and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Here we were treated to a Tom Cole special. Up at 5:30 am to make it to the gates of the reserve by 6:30. We spotted some baboons playing on a dam immediately upon entering the park and it only got better from there. We had multiple encounters with white Rhinos with some getting a close as 5 feet to our car. We saw 2 different giraffes, Hippos, Vervet Monkeys, jackals,Warthogs and everthing in the antelope family like Hartabeest,Kudu, Tssebe, Waterbuck, Wildebeest and Zebra. On the way out after 12 hrs of game watching we finally saw some Elephants as well off in the distance. It was a most excellent day. Got to see 2 0f the big 5 ( Big 5 = 5 most dangerous animals in Africa, Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Cape buffalo).
I couldnt get Toms pictures before he balled out to Botswana at 5am the next morning but I will load up some of Adams pictures later on today. Not having a laptop or camera is proving to be a little more difficult than I thought so I am very sorry for not updating this faster. Internet access has been a little difficult to find, and honestly everytime I find a computer someone is yelling at me to go somewhere else or I have been in the paintball store.
Next Post
Road trip to Cape Town.

Rand Show and Sunday night

So after we didnt make the cut :( we had some time to walk around the Rand Show. Basically this is a huge tradeshow/carnival/global bazaar. You can buy everything from African art to camel rides, Pakistani housewares to info on joining the South African Police force. There was also all kinds of delicious foods, I had some great Chicken biryani, with fresh hot buttered naan bread. Another huge rainstorm broke out while we were walking the show so we ducked into a beer tent for a little bit to wait it out. We also checked out some really cool pop-up campers. Apparently this is a big thing in South Africa to tow your popup and go camping. These things would unfold into multilevel tents with stoves, light panels, all kinds of hight tech stuff.

Sunday Night
So Sunday night we went to this awesome restaurant called Carnivores. Basically it is setup like an all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse type restaurant. You walk over water on a bridge into this huge hall with exposed beams, and tons of tables. This restaurant is known for its charcoal-grilled delicacies that are roasted on converted Masai tribal spears in a large open fire. We ate crocodile, hartabeest, kudu and ostrich complemented by more mainstream dishes, like lamb and chicken. It was a great experience eating all the different kinds of meats, including some made into sausages as well. Kudu and ostrich were favorites due to their extreme tenderness and good flavor. They also had 7 different kinds of sauces to put on the meats ranging from spicy cream sauce to mint sauce. Finished off with a couple different kinds of desserts and we had to loosen our belts to make it out of there...