TWO brothers from Thornborough faced high tides and curious locals, and narrowly missed electrocution during an attempt to kite buggy along 1,000km of Brazilian coastline.
Former Stowe School pupils, Harry and Charlie Thuillier travelled to Brazil in August to take up the challenge, despite having only had one lesson in kite buggying, not being able to speak a word of Portuguese and not having any vehicle support.
The pair were raising money for Centrepoint, a charity for the homeless.
They started from Natal, on the north east coast, one of the windiest places in the world with beaches interspersed with dunes, mangrove swamps, rivers and fishing villages, finishing in Jericoacoara.
In a diary entry to the Advertiser and Review, Harry, who works for Racelogic on the Buckingham Industrial Estate said: “As we bolted together the buggies, strapped on our bags and set up the kites on a windswept beach in Natal, Brazil, a few local kids and dogs stood in the doorways of shacks and watched curiously.
“We knew the learning curve for what we were about to do would be steep but we were raring to go.
“I had butterflies in my stomach as the plane descended over the coastline of Brazil and into Natal, laden with the 150kg of gear we had managed to bring by pleading with the airline at the check in desk while wearing our Centrepoint charity t-shirts.”
The pair hit several challenges including dodging narrow beaches, deep streams and wind turbines, nearly running out of money which meant an emergency stop at a bank in Fortaleza, and dealing with unreliable maps and ‘contradictory local opinion.’
But they also received a warm welcome from local people and whenever they slowed to walking pace around the villages, they were followed almost constantly by people eager to help.
Harry said: “In a fishing village called Aranau, curious children emerged in twos and threes and followed us for miles, chirping questions in Portuguese, kicking the tyres, opening our bags and jumping in the buggies.”
There was also an incident where Charlie narrowly missed being electrocuted when he ran into some power lines near their destination.
Harry said: “Charlie was just ahead of me. With the late afternoon sun in his eyes, he had been focussing on an approaching blind corner and not on the sky. By the time I noticed the cables, obscured by the setting sun and the shadow of a hill and yelled out, the lines had hit.
“A bright white flash, a high pitched hum of hot metal, and one of the cables broke, narrowly missing Charlie and hitting the ground. We both paused for half a second, in shock, as the fallen wire set light to a pile of donkey manure. After alerting the power company and walking the final couple of hundred metres into Jericoacoara, thankful that at least no one had been hurt, we realised we had made quite an unintended entrance.
“Candles illuminated dimly lit rooms. Ceiling fans hung still. The streets were black. This wasn’t the finale to the journey we had anticipated, but luckily the power came back a few hours later with a cheer from the locals, and we were able to reflect on the whole adventure.”
More details about the trip can be found at www.kitebuggyadventure.com. Anyone wanting to donate to Centrepoint can visit www.justgiving.com/brazilkitebuggyadventure.