Sean McDermott – a book and photographs

Just been doing a home office cleanup or really clean out as most stuff is going out to the bin. Came across a bit of memorabilia on how I got into kayaking. Met a “mad professor” at a party in the 1970’s and he was into kayaking. Said something about just coming back from walking and rafting down the Amazon river. We became good friends and paddled together, held up the bar in a few pubs, argued politics, stuffed around with polo kayak designs and generally had fun.

“Mac” (few people knew his real name) had many adventures and if you check the secondhand book shops on the web you may even come across a copy of Amazon Journey..From the source to the sea- the adventures of three men and a girl. Author John Ridgeway.Published 1972. Would have been an “interesting” trip with Mac along. Check out Ridgeway’s daughter Rebecca, who became the first woman to paddle a sea kayak around Cape Horn.

Mac was indeed a mad scientist, working at the IMVS labs in South Australia, then the United Arab Emirates, before returning to Darwin to work in tropical diseases.

Sadly he passed away a while ago, from cancer. Not a fitting end for a mad man, but life is terminal. Luckily before Mac’s death his son John was able to take the many boxes of slides he had from the Amazon River adventure, restore them and put onto disk.

AMAZON JOURNEY 
Written by John Ridgway
Hodder & Stoughton 1972The first expedition to travel from the furthest source to the mouth of this mighty river. This is my adventure with John Cowie, Sean McDermott and Anna Asheshov: a race against time in the High Andes, struggling to reach the jungle before the rainy season. I was thrilled when Marie Christine flew out to join us in Iquitos. July 1970 ‘Already I had a pretty good idea the expedition would be on. There was the familiar feeling of elation connected with any act of positive living, and the usual sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach – once again I would know fear in anticipation and feel the calm out on the edge of life where one mistake means death.’

SOMETHING AMAZING
Written by Rebecca Ridgway
Hodder & Stoughton 1993At the age of fifteen, I wanted to do ‘something amazing’. The chance came nine years later, in January 1992, when I became the first woman to paddle a kayak round Cape Horn. This adventure in stormy waters forms the climax of the book, but there were also a few other amazing things, which happened to me long before the final chapters.

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