By Bruce Greenhalgh (half of team 88 with Steve Sullivan)

A knackered nautical navigator of Noarlunga continues with the maritime theme as he reports on the four-hour rogaine.

It’s going back a bit in the movie archives, but those who have seen the 1987 film ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ will probably recall the irreverent DJ, played by Robin Williams, describing the weather by declaring, ‘It’s hot! It’s damned hot!’ It’s a description that could equally be used for this year’s four-hour event.

I guess it could have been hotter. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in following the weather forecast in the days preceding the event. Heat wave conditions prevailed and a day in the high thirties was a possibility. Fortunately, Saturday was ‘only’ forecast to reach 31 degrees. It was, however, ‘damned hot’.

We devised our route more-or-less assuming we’d be okay running (not necessarily that fast) in the heat. And we had a few escape routes if our plans capsized. Initially things went well enough. We started by heading south to the nearest control (32), then onto the river plain before heading north into the ‘burbs. By the time we’d changed tack and headed to the coast we were alone, which suited us fine. It means no distractions and we are just silly enough to think that on such occasions maybe we’ve got it right and everybody else has got it wrong. Whatever the case, it was plain sailing. By the time we passed the Port Noarlunga jetty we were again seeing other teams and so it remained for the rest of the day. There were, of course, hordes at the pirate ship, lured by the promise of treasure and the chance of a close encounter with SARA’s equivalent of Jack Sparrow (Jacqueline Sparrow?).

From the pirate ship we headed to control 82. Navigation was easy – just follow the path – and with a cooling breeze coming off the sea this was the rogaining equivalent of a broad reach. Things were about to change, however. We left the coast and headed to the river plain and Noarlunga’s answer to the doldrums. The doldrums are an area around the equator where the north and south trade winds counteract each other and create calm waters and still air. The lack of wind was a real problem for mariners in the days of sail. Of course, we didn’t need wind to make progress, but the want of a cool breeze and the paucity of shade made it tough going. I was still running (just) as we collected controls 41, 71 and 72, but on the trail to control 21 my heat-diminished energy levels dropped below a personal Plimsoll line and I was reduced to walking. Bummer.

At the southernmost control, 101, I hit my low and walking across the suspension bridge felt like walking the plank. I slowly recovered as we headed back toward the Hash House. As we made the long voyage between controls 61 and 43 I even managed some running, ‘surfing’ the downhills for all they were worth. It was on this stretch where the Smith/Carcas team sailed past us. Such youthful exuberance! There ought to be a rule against it.

At control 41 it was decision time; one more port of call? We decided to go for control 31 and timed it to perfection making it back to dry dock for much needed rehydration repairs with a minute or so to spare. We were even lucky enough to win a chocolate frog, which, confirming my assessment of the weather, was decidedly molten.

My thanks to the young and young at heart, Meredith, Paul and Des for setting, map making and vetting, and for the rest of the volunteer crew for running a tight, but happy, ship. Thanks also to Steve for putting up with me and congratulations to all who competed and made a veritable armada of an entry.

Anyway, that’s it for me. I’m off to see my therapist about a recently acquired addiction to Zooper Doopers.