Sepik/Yangtze swim by two red-blooded revolutionaries!

April 9, 2013 at 3:42 am (Adrian Bird, Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik District, Mao Zedong, Sepik River, Yangtze River)

 

Yangtze Sepik Swim

October 29, 2009 at 5:02 am (expatriates) (, , , , , , , , ) · Edit

“At the start of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the Chinese press reported that Chairman Mao Zedong (then age 73) swam across the Yangtze River at Wuhan. The story was intended to quash rumors that Mao was either gravely ill or dead.”        WuhanTravel Guide

When did the Birdman swim across the Sepik?

“Now the Birdman, it was when Trueman was building the club toilets etc.   I can’t recall the year, but I distinctly remember that it was between smokes!”

Peter Johnson (Former Secretary of the Angoram Club):

“I would say from memory that Adrian Bird swam the Sepik River in 1969.

The Chairman’s swim, in a sense, ushered in the Cultural Revolution and the Birdman’s swim coincided with revolutionary changes in the social and political life in Angoram.

Adrian Bird, the Birdman, was a master builder who was initially employed by Geoff King, the Manager of the Angoram Hotel, to carry out hotel renovations. When these were finished, Kevin Trueman, entrepreneur and builder, decided to retain the Birdman to start and complete a contract he had with the Angoram Club.

The swim was a perilous achievement as the current of the mighty river almost carried him away. On reaching the bank he was heard to say: ‘I need a smoke.’

I think the dangers that Adrian faced were greater than those faced by the Chairman. Whether, of course, the enormous political implications were as great for the Birdman as for Mao is a matter for debate.

Both were significant revolutionary figures.”

4 Comments

  1. Dan Claasen said,

    October 29, 2009 at 7:18 am · Edit

    Where did he swim from and, more to the point, why? Can we have a map of the crossing point?

  2. David Wall said,

    October 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm · Edit

    Dan

    To exactly answer your questions I shall have to consult an eyewitness first.

    David

    • deberigny said,

      November 1, 2009 at 6:00 am · Edit

      “Birdman was pretty broke; he did it for money! There was a huge purse on offer if he could do it, rules were set – which took hours!

      He was pretty smart and started from the top end of the Service Camp, even so he misjudged the current, his strength, or both. He was allowed under the set rules to briefly come ashore on the far bank. When he did he gasped “anybody got a fag?” He completed the return swim, landing in the pitpit between Laskompani and Taway! Sorry my cartographer’s on strike! ”

      Peter Johnson

  3. deberigny said,

    April 9, 2013 at 2:29 am · Edit

    A comment from Sandra King:

    REMEMBER THE GREAT SEPIK RIVER SWIM ?
    NOT ONLY DID ADRIAN REACH THE OTHER SIDE……………..AFTER MANY BETS WERE PLACED IN THE CLUB.
    I REMEMBER A PARASOL, DUG OUT CANOE………..AND BEING PADDLED AFTER HIM

    AND…………………………..AFTER A CIGARETTE…………….HE HOPPED BACK IN AND SWAM BACK !!!

    CRAZY…………….BUT FUN !!
    CHEERS
    A BLACK VELVET TO CELEBRATE.
    REMEMBER HOW THE HOTEL CELLAR WAS STOCKED WITH MUMM CHAMPAGNE??

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2 Comments

  1. Mike Goodson said,

    As I recall Adrian didn’t actually get any cash from the swim but did however wipe out over $1000 of gambling debts.
    Regarding the actual route i can confirm that after fortifying himself with quite a few stubbies prior to the swim, and after discarding his shorts,dived into the river about three quarters of the way up the Service camp.

    He swam across the river and then ended up on the bank about in the middle of Angoram Village.
    After a short break he recrosse the rover ad ended up in the pitpit a couple of hundred yards past Las Kompani at the of Tobacco Road.

    He was dragged naked into the river truck containing the spectators where a towell was hastily thrown over his manhood to protect the sensibilities of the good ladies in the river truck.

    I can confirm the route as I hired a small canoe from the service camp in order to accompany him and give directions when he was going off course.
    I was protecting my $100 bet with Jim McKinnion that he actually would make it.

  2. deberigny said,

    Mike, thanks a lot for that. You have provided some very interesting and important information. Dave

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