All Under The Place – 26 Oct, Tasmania, Australia

The Derby River Derby takes place every year along a beautiful tree lined river punctuated by the occasional white water rapid. Throughout the day during various races teams of people pelt down the river bank and head off down the 6km course in a shower of water balloons and flour bombs hurled by the enthusiastic crowd.

Michelle and I were entered into the 12 person raft race for the Main Event part of our show, and we joined our opposing teams as they were assembling their rafts from tractor inner tyres, drain pipes and wood. It was precarious work for our cameraman Geraint, as throughout the afternoon you could be struck by a water or paint bomb at any point, but we got away with it until just before the start of the race when Geraint got hit in the head by a large handful of pink sludge.

Once we hit the water it became clear in less than a minute that Michelle’s team had steamed way ahead of the rest of us and I barely saw them until towards the end of the race. My boat was christened “The Pommie Taxi”, as I’d been teamed up with a bunch of Aussies and they all thought it would be funny. After half an hour or so of good natured joshing about how “the pom should be pulling his weight more” I was striving to do my best and gain some ground on Michelle’s team ahead of us, but it was not to be and we finished a comfortable second.

Couldn’t’ believe it when I got back to the hotel and realised I was sunburnt on my chest. I’d only been out of my wet suit for about 10 minutes all day. The sun in Tasmania is absolutely savage. It’s not hot here at the moment, but we’re all getting blitzed, even when people stick sunscreen on twice a day. Apparently it’s something to do with there being no o-zone layer left over this part of the planet. Nice work human race.

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