Couple rows from Africa to South Florida - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Couple rows from Africa to South Florida

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MIAMI (WSVN) -- History has just been made in South Florida. A pair of adventurers from South Africa arrived at Fisher Island after rowing from mainland Africa.

Riaan Manser and Vasti Geldenhuys are the first couple to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Manser and Geldenhuys touched U.S. soil for the first time on Wednesday after rowing to Miami from Morocco. "I've never been in the U.S.A., and it's a privilege," said Manser with tears in her eyes.

They left Agadir, Morocco, on Dec. 30, 2013 on a 7-meter ocean rowing boat named the "Spirit of Madiba," named after Nelson Mandela. "Shucks, we are proud of ourselves. It has been a long journey," said Geldenhuys. "We have been in the water for more then 100 days."

More then 100 days on the water with no support boat in sight, and they said, they had a few close calls on the choppy waters. "We were about 2,500 kilometers out at sea, and the boat capsized. The big waves picking us up and throwing us over," said Geldenhuys.

"We had almost died, so this being our highlight is pretty awesome," said Manser.

Geldenhuys is no stranger to danger. He cycled the perimeter of the African continent in just two years. He has kayaked around Madagascar in 11 months and paddled around Iceland in a five-month period. "I'm just happy, just so, so happy," said Geldenhuys.

Geldenhuys said his girlfriend of 14 years joined him on his journey. "Now we've done something incredible together," he said. "A love story. Very sore bums, and a love story with ... listen we didn't smile at each other the whole 105 days at sea."

"A big hamburger with bacon, cheese and anything else that can go on it and a beer and Coke Zero," said Geldenhuys about what they hope to eat after they docked in Miami.

The journey continues for the couple. Their last stop will be in New York City, and they will then get on an airplane and head back home to South Africa.


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