Saturday, September 29, 2018

Mad Belgian - Book and Camera updates

Hi to all followers of the expedition #TasmaniaWinterTrek this page can be accessed by It will contain several resources, links, to book progress, ideas and to the several future events (I hope) related to the expedition. It might leave my main website in the future to be a complete new standalone page.

1) Bushwalking discussion during the expedition - That Mad Belgian - #TasmaniaWinterTrek announcement
2) Garmin Inreach Trace - Google Earth file (to be coming)
3) Where was the Panasonic camera (and a few other items) lost on the Derwent river? What about the 1000 AUD reward?
4) Book structure (draft, to come soon)
5) Book progress (not really to come soon, I'll add a newsletter you can subscribe to know when the book is out or when I need some help for some sections)
6) Events related to #TasmaniaWinterTrek (if I come for a tour in TAS/OZ. Not before 2019-2022)

3) Lost equipment and reward.
On D25, I had a packraft accident that could have been fatal. I went down paddling the upper Derwent river from lake St Clair, paddled under the dam (class 3) then I had a choice to make as the river split into 2 directions. I took the right (going down, west arm) and few minutes later I faced a tree log that is fully across the river arm. I stopped for a few seconds assessing the log that was 90% just under the surface of the water. A large branch coming from this log a bit like half a rainbow just above the log. I thought it would be just possible to go over the log and bending my upperbody backwards to go at the same time under the big branch. The water was so powerful, it pushed me facing the side of the boat against the log, pressure started to push the boat against it and a second later I tilted, water entered the boat and it started to sunk half under the log. I grabbed the branch to pull my body out of the boat. Retrieved paddle, saw my black day-drybag (a hole in it) sinking and going half floating going away. 30 min later I had managed to get the boat on land (not knowing yet about 2 punctures and 10cm tear on the floor. I went around the log to check if I could see my black drybag but nothing. Went then around the log with all my gear and boat (what I should have done in the first place) and paddled to safety with the sinking boat. In the next 24h I had repaired the boat, bought a shitty 15AUD headlight at Cradle Valley, told the rangers, the manager of the hotel/restaurant gave me 2 pairs of sunglasses from his lost&found items.
But I lost of of this: Panasonic HC-VX980 and memory card / Petzl Actik Core / Julbo explorer sunglasses / tiny 10liters blue backpack / Rode Videomic Pro / a few gopro mounts, tiny tripod, peanuts, 1 green 800ml gatorade bottle (some water in it) 1 empty 1,2 liter transparent bottle.


Location accident?
In the summer, at the water level of the upper Derwent is very low. Chance to find the equipment is fairly good. GPS coordinates are estimates.

1000 AUD dollars Reward conditions:
* once the camera is found and out of the water (dry or not, it was in another small drybag, not sure 100% tight waterproof) remove battery, remove SDcard (bottom camera) and dry it with a towel. Do not let it wet and rust in the air. The camera might work if dry inside the drybag.
* you can keep sunglasses if found / If headlight there and dead, I'd like to have it as souvenir, same for rodemic. Perhaps the Rodemic survived?
* I'm of course mainly interested in the memorycard and the content. First contact me, do not insert it in a drive. Take a photo and email me.
* I think of found it is a great story, and opportunity to speak again of the "Mad Belgian" and at the same time in the press give an update on the book if any progress. So you might have your name in the media, even interviews.
* If you don"t want the money, perhaps a donation to a charity of your choice or in a free talk of me in a school of your choice (1000AUD is half of a cost to fly me to OZ/TAS)
* You send me package at your cost, I will do the payment on  a bank account once received. My risk if nothing can be recovered but normally big chance I get it all. Trust me I will not fail on my promise.
Questions? email me, I'll add the answer here if relevant for others.

Monday, September 24, 2018

day 52

24 Sept. End of the exped.tomorrow night on ABC News! Lost15,5kg. Will be in Hobart by 4pm. Suggest a bar on fb if you wanna meet! Will choose one near hostel. Bus to Laun in the morning.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

day 51

23 Sept. 50gr of food left. Not enough for bushbashing to the cape. Might try a bit if enough time. Wanna end around noon. Thinking about writing a book about my 2 TAS expeditions.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

day 50 - part 2

Took battery pack to charge lighter. Fell in a pool with mud above the knees. Trying to reach South Cape Rivulet tomorrow, ending at South Cape on Monday, reack Cockle by midday. Not there yet. Will need food & scale at Cockle.

day 50 - part 1

22 Sept. Last test, write, repack, taking care of my feet. Left late. Finished crossing with the raft at 6pm. Walking in the forest with the flame of my lighter. Lost the track then light battery died. Bushbashing in the dark to reach previous point.

Friday, September 21, 2018

day 49

21 Sept. Good, confident start. Up Ironbound, wind at the summit so strong, threw me to the ground. Stopped at 8pm, feet hurt, rash. Need rest! Drysuit wet inside, taking it off tomorrow, back into normal clothes.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

day 48

20 Sept. Very cold night at Melaleuca. So tired, fell asleep after breakfast till 9:20. Then late start. Hard to get here tonight. Hunger, back hurts and worst wet socks ever. Pain like sandpaper.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

day 47

19 Sept. Boring rainy morning on Port Davey Track till Spring River. Mostly sunny in the afternoon. Paddling to Melaleuca in the moon light. Un peu tardif mais: Joyeux Anniversaire Sacha! Tomorrow South Coast Track with 30kg. 4 days maybe!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

day 46

18 Sept. I completely underestimated the distance compared to what the notes of my map say. 1 gaiter dead. Tried to repair the airmat again til 4am, but it's still leaking. Backpain. Starting rationing tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2018

day 45

17 Sept. Good progress but lost 1h to go back to yesterday's landing spot to get my 2nd 6dl bottle. Lost it. Hungry! Just now looked for a bag of food…mmm. 2.7kg left, will have to last 5-8days!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

day 44

16 Sept. Almost no sleep because of wet sleeping bag, burnt it a bit while drying it with stove. Other holes in airmat. Felt like another rain & wind day...but with the wind on my side. Now safe.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

day 43

15 Sept. Crashing waves made me capsize passing the tip of the peninsula. Fun! Relaunched and padlled. Later on the wind was too strong, with 2m waves. Had to stop on island. Now, please, Tasmania, send Margot Robbie with pizza & beer.

Friday, September 14, 2018

day 42 - update from John

"Louis-Philippe today passed from Lake Gordon to Lake Pedder, an important milestone. Conditions have been très difficile, and the police have been very worried about his condition. They have been liaising with me seriously this past week with thought to enhancing L-P's safety. They wanted him to retire. Today they met him as he crossed a rare road and were pleased with his condition; stronger than they had feared. If L-P can safely cross Lake Pedder tomorrow; I think he will complete the journey, but it is dangerous. It has been a draining but magnificent achievement so far.

Best regards, 

John in Tasmania."


day 42

14 Sept. 1,5h writing & research tests this morning then walked to road/Pedder Lake where a police officer was waiting. We discussed plan. Nice sun. Paddled against the wind, slow.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

day 41

13 Sept. Waited for the right time; waves ok so I went straight. Body warm. Rather easy. Then dodging trees on flat water until Pedder river. Class 3 rapids, so the only way up was on land. Food 4.7kg

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

day 40

12 Sept. Heavy rain & wind all night, could use wind blowing South but at inlet it changed to heavy SW with 1m+ waves, rain, hail & often gust. Wanted to SOS but pushed to island

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

day 39 part 2

...but hey: raft tested successfully! No more supper food. 3 breakfast rations left. 1 chocolate bar, 1.3kg nuts, 1kg hemp seeds, 30 clifbars. It is now a race before 21 Sept.

day 39

11 Sept. Woke up with pain & issue in my right eye. Tried to solve the problem for hours, without success. Doc in Hobart. Got out of the forest, then easy on to the lake. Not sure if it's a puncture after all that bushbashing!

Monday, September 10, 2018

day 38

10 Sept. Up to saddle, great view. Down forest following ck, ok til I reached a 30m waterfall drop. Cliffs all around. Stuck, got out after 80°climb. One mistake meant dead. Now safe. This is hell.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

day 37

9 Sept. Sunday with big rain & wind. Waited for better weather to get out. So slow & weak. I feel I'm older than TAS expedition 2006. Will I reach lake tomorrow? TO ALL: next Sat 15/9!

Saturday, September 08, 2018

day 36

8 Sept. Went up again, east Mt Curly. Hard to choose route down other side.Went down by 3pm. Broke 2nd trekking pole by 4pm. Cried for 2min. Can't just stop, I chose to be here. Fell more.

Friday, September 07, 2018

day 35

7 sept. Heavy rain in the morning. Left when it stopped. Checked map: more forest along river. Got stuck, decided to go up in the mountains, better up there. Each day harder to find a decent camping spot

Thursday, September 06, 2018

day 34

6 Sept. Started early after drizzle. Could walk a bit on rocks in river, with drysuit even in water. So cold! Had water inside, fixed a tiny hole below knee. Now hard rain.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

day 33

5 Sept. My legs are so skinny, almost no power. Still some belly fat left, though. Weather mostly sunny. Terrain is better. Made navigation error to wrong mountain. Had a nice 2m roll, fell on my head, back, legs, but all ok.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

day 32

4 Sept. Dried tent, sleeping bag and clothes in the sun. Found a rusted chaintractor on old airstrip #2. Steep down to Gell river. Needed water. Crossed, walked and crossed again.

Monday, September 03, 2018

day 31

3 Sept. Sunny but pointless day in the forest. Finally an early start. Hard but now back in scrub/buttongrass. So near airstrip & river. Camping between buttongrass.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

day 30

2 Sept. Hard to find motivation. Rain, leeches, high scrub or forest for which my backpack is too high and wide. Tried to find old track, found man-cut branches but lost the trail again.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

day 29

1 Sept. Light rain, snow and scrub. Not yet at Gell river. Vegetation around old airstrip is huge compared to 2006. Branch in eye. Cannot see well. Hope it's not permanent >:-(