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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


The wrong way up
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sharp viewers may notice that my kayak is the wrong way up on this wave. Others may dare to suggest that this is my best side? So yeah, I got a bit of rolling practice in at the weekend - one on my strong side, and one on the side that makes me doubt just a little bit that I'll come straight back up!

Alun, Gemma, Barry and I went back to Penrhyn Mawr on Sunday to try to get more photos for a future edition of 'Paddle World' magazine. I'm not meant to give too much away in advance but I thought I'd share this with you because it makes me laugh! It brings back happy memories of playing with the glorious sea, surging down the face of a wave one minute and being engulfed by pounding white spray the next. I am smiling now as I re-live that moment when the wave behind me starts to surge and lift up the back of the kayak, I lean forward and dig in my blades - paddle, paddle, paddle, come on, come on, come on... then suddenly the wave steepens, the kayak starts to race down the face, I'm leaning right back now trying to stop the nose from burying. What exhillarating speed! Will I surf out of it with this smile intact, or will I bury the nose, stop dead in my tracks and have more rolling practice?.......not knowing is half the fun....!

Orangutans - make a difference
Monday, February 13, 2006

I wanted to write a non-kayaking blog about one of the other aspects of my life. I've recently got back from producing a TV programme about orangutans in Borneo. I know it sounds glamorous and I'm not complaining but the experience made me feel strongly that I shouldn’t just shut my eyes to the destruction and greed that is going on all around us in the world. Our newspapers are full of horror stories of rainforest about to disappear, animals about to go extinct and people made homeless by money-driven developers and it’s easy to turn the page quickly and just go paddling.

I don’t claim that I’m about to drastically change my lifestyle but I was inspired to make a modest donation to some people in Borneo who are really making a difference and I’d encourage you to do the same.

The orang utan is the only great ape which lives in Asia – there used to be hundreds of thousands of them but as their forest home continues to be logged, they are only about 50,000 of them left. 5,000 of those are disappearing every year.

Most of the rainforest that remains in Indonesia is being chopped down to make palm oil plantations. This is a very profitable industry for the country, but the crazy thing is that there is no need to chop down primary forest to make new plantations. We saw thousands of acres of degraded land in Borneo which could easily be used for palm oil plantations. The sad truth is that developers would rather chop down primary rainforest so they can make a profit from selling the timber first. The local government is all too often bribed to allow the deforestation to go ahead.

We were filming at the Nyaru-Menteng orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre run by BOS - The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. They have their hands full looking after over 400 orangutans, with the eventual aim of releasing all of them back into the wild where possible. All the oragutans have a sad story – most have seen their mothers murdered before their eyes.

BOS are really making a difference– their work involves lobbying the government to protect the remaining forest, rescuing orangutans who have been made homeless by deforestation and teaching baby orangutans the skills they need to live in the wild. At the moment they have nowhere to release their rehabilitated orangutans. They are working hard to pressure the government to protect an area of forest which would be perfect, but until this happens their orang utans will have to stay in cages.

A small donation can make a big difference to BOS. For example, our presenter, Iolo Williams, arranged for some binoculars to be donated to BOS. The binoculars were recently used to spot a missing orangutan. She was found severely dehydrated high in a tree and might have died if she hadn’t been found.

If you want to read more about the orangutan and the work of BOS then go to

To donate, go directly to this page.

The programme that we made will be shown on S4C, Channel 4, in Wales, this Autumn. People throughout the UK can watch this on Digital TV. I'll post details nearer to the time.

Trophy time
Monday, February 06, 2006

'This is the Sea 2" has won 2 awards already which is very exciting. It won 'best seakayaking film' at the Reel Paddling Film Festival in Canada, which had it's premier in Ottowa last weekend. The festival is now taking the best films on tour to over 20 locations in Canada - so watch out for it at a location near to you - you can see where by clicking the link below.

The 30 min Tasmania documentary, which is part of "This is the Sea2" won 2nd prize at the biggest European kayaking film festival. 750 people attended the 9th annual kayak film festival, held in Rosenheim in Germany on 21st January. I'm thrilled that 'Tasmania' came 2nd out of 15 entries, especially since there was a mainly whitewater kayaking audience. The winner was 'David Arnaud' with his new film 'In flux', and third was 'Young Gun Productions' with 'Dynasty'. You can see a few photos from the festival by clicking the link below. I couldn't attend, but there is a photo here of Paul 'Cheesy' Robertson picking up my silver camera prize for me - he tells me he did a lovely curtsey, in true British style!

The photo is of a paddle to Penrhyn Mawr on Saturday. Alun was taking some photos for a magazine article, but the conditions weren't big enough!! Next time!

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