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Article in our paper today has a headline about a local Grants Pass adventurer (Chris Korbulic) who does extreme kayaking. He was on a expedition in the Congo with another friend, plus a very experienced expedition guide. The guide was attacked in his kayak by a croc and is presumed dead. Thought there might be some that would like to read the article. Maybe you have even heard of or know Chris, or the guide, Hendrik Coetzee, that he was paddling with at the time.

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I can't get to the article. But from what you said that's terrible.

Here's a copy of the article if you want to read it. 


Rogue River kayaker who saw croc snatch guide in Congo headed home



JOHANNESBURG -- The parents of local adventurer Chris Korbulic are relieved their son is safe following a tragic crocodile attack involving Korbulic’s expedition leader in the heart of Africa. Korbulic, a world traveler and extreme kayaker, witnessed horror on Tuesday when 35-year-old South African Hendrik Coetzee was snatched from his kayak by a crocodile. He is presumed dead.

Coetzee was leading Korbulic, 24, of Rogue River, and Ben Stookesberry of Mount Shasta City, Calif., in an Eddie Bauer-sponsored expedition.

Korbulic and Stookesberry paddled to safety after the attack on the Lukuga River in Democratic Republic of Congo. They are headed back to the United States, according to a web post by the expedition.

Paul and Mary Korbulic of Rogue River said they were vacationing in Costa Rica when they got an e-mail from their son saying he was safe, but had no details about the attack.

“You just can’t even think how terrible that is,” Mary Korbulic said of the crocodile attack.

They had been following the expedition through blog postings and were becoming concerned that there were no new postings when they got the e-mail from their son. “All of us with loved ones engaged in extreme risk as a lifestyle and vocation live in dread of getting bad news, but at the same time we are wildly proud of our sons for their courage and determination to be explorers in a time when most people think terrestrial, social and environmental exploration is over,” they said in an e-mail. “We didn’t know Hendrik, but will miss his presence on earth and in the life of our son.”

Chris Korbulic, who grew up outside Rogue River which is still home base, regaled a Grants Pass Rotary club with his adventures in July.

The expedition was the latest in a string that Stookesberry and Korbulic have mounted to explore remote and dangerous rivers. In recent years they have been in the Himalayas, Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico and North America. Stookesberry has a production company, Clear H2O Films, that makes DVDs about the expeditions.

Kayakers in the Rogue Valley have communicated with Korbulic via Facebook.

“He said he was getting a lot of support from all over and it’s really helpful,” said kayaker Nate Barnard of Medford.

At last report, Coetzee’s body had not been recovered. The stretch of river where the trio was traveling is notoriously dangerous because of its whitewater, and numerous crocodiles and hippos.

In a blog called The Great White Explorer that chronicled the trip sponsored by the Eddie Bauer clothing and outdoor equipment company, Coetzee wrote about the thrill of taking to uncharted waters, including stretches that might soon disappear, due to planned dams. He also described sometimes facing suspicion from military and other officials. One day ended in a storm:

“As hard, warm drops trashed at our little selves and a pair of goats, we stood precariously on an unknown slope deep in the heart of Africa, for once my mind and heart agreed, I would never live a better day,” wrote Coetzee, who was known as Hendri.

A friend, Celliers Kruger, who owns a South African kayaking company, called Coetzee a legend.

“He was the bravest guy I’ve ever known,” Kruger said. “But he wasn’t crazy. He was very calculated and set the bar high for future exploration in Africa.”


I heard about this a few days ago.  This caused a long conversation between my wife and myself about the differences between alligators and crocodiles and a lot of reassuring that we don't have crocodiles around here, just alligators.

Yes, I thought of you and your buddies kayaking the marshes in your area when I read that. I realize your area is a far cry from the Congo, but I guess any alligator or croc area is something to be cautious around. I'm certain Chris and his guide didn't wake up that day thinking about making headlines. You guys be careful out there. Your blogs & pics would be missed.  :-)




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