The retired fish professor’s adventure in the Okavango
The spirit of adventure does not fade with age, as 66-year-old retired ichthyologist Prof Paul Skelton can testify.
Earlier this year, Skelton spent a month in the uncharted wilderness with explorers, scientists and filmmakers on The Okavango Wilderness Project, an expedition funded by National Geographic and the Wild Bird Trust. On Monday morning Skelton recounted his experience, challenges and treasured revelations in a presentation at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity. He story began with a wooden boat and ended with a porcelain bowl – and has all the ingredients of a grand adventure.
Prof Skelton, a retired ichthyologist, recently returned from a month-long adventure in the unchartered areas of the Okavango on an expedition funded by National Geographic.
The Okavango Wilderness Project aims to preserve the magnificent delta and ecosystems that depend on it.
The mekoros are traditional canoes made from entirely natural materials – carved trees and wooden poles. The expedition’s mekoros were heavily-laden with equipment, solar panels and cameras, and almost level with the water.
The landscape comprised of forest, river, grass or burnt bush, which was also evidence of the scarcely seen indigenous people.
Skelton’s presentation was aptly titled, “From Mekoros to Learjets”, and his adventure ended with a paralysed nerve and a flight home on a royal porcelain throne.