Friday August 30 th , 2019. Expedition Africa 2019, Rodrigues. It was such a delight today, seeing pint-sized Ruby Dreyer pulling a suitcase and lugging a paddle almost bigger than herself. She was at race registration, the right hand little lady for her dad Martin from Crusader Logistics. ‘This is why we brought her!’ he laughed. Family spirit, team spirit. It’s what epitomises Adventure Racing. The true feeling of race build up really was experienced today as teams piled in to the Family Youth Centre of Anne aux Anglais of Rodrigues. As mentioned in previous Bella’s Banters, teams have been steadily arriving all week, yet it was today’s moment when they received their race bibs and had their gear check that things started to feel real. Pre rego, they had a snoop around downtown Rodrigues, grabbing a few essentials like loaves of banana bread and sweet treats from roadside stalls, to fresh produce at the market. There were no takers for the roasted boiled eggs. And today was bike day!! Seeing the cargo ship glide into port this morning, framed by the palm trees and footed by the glistening water, truly was a sight to behold. The teams were openly thrilled to rip open their bike boxes this afternoon in town, swiftly unwrapping and putting together the puzzle of handle bars and wheels. Race bibs. Tick. Bikes arrived. Tick. Excitement. Tick. Teams took a few moments today on dry land to rig up their chosen sail systems to the local pirogue style fishing boats they’ll be using during Expedition Africa. ‘We’re all in the same boat’ may not necessarily be the case, will be interesting to see who does what to best conquer the knots. For those of us not racing, it’s all about scooters for getting around in nifty fashion. Downtown Rodrigues, nestled amongst the numerous stalls and service shops and nic nac shops selling English Football paraphernalia and plastic water shoes, is EmCar, scooter collection place. I collected mine today, it a red Suzuki called ‘LoverGirl.’ A guy called Bennet owns it, I remember his name because it was on a necklace around his neck. He dropped it to EmCar. Bennet runs on strict island time, and the man at the shop knew this. ‘Yes, he’ll be arriving at 11am. (It was 10.55am.) So he’ll be here in 15 or 20 minutes.” I’m new to scooters, I think quad bikes make more sense. ‘Where is the reverse switch?’ Bennet smiles, and points to his feet. So, tomorrow is the one final day before the hooter goes, and we’re pretty much good to go.