Kayaking for a cause

Team spirit: back row, from left: Justin Ribot, mascot Ditto, Hetty Johnston, Ian Johnston, Brian Freeman and Michael Thirgood. Front, from left: Ian Kajewski, Graham Newton, Don MacLachlan and Guy Andrews.

HAVE you ever considered risking it all for charity?
Seven intrepid adventurers have chosen to do just that by paddling their kayaks across Bass Strait.
They began at Port Welshpool last Thursday and will spend a total of nine days kayaking 300km across a stretch of water known for its dangerous swells and unpredictable conditions.
Each evening they will settle on one of the islands dotted between the mainland and Tasmania, ending their journey on March 23 at Musselroe Bay, Tasmania.
Their first port of call is Refuge Cove, around a 50km paddle from Port Welshpool on the eastern side of Wilsons Promontory.
Serial adventurer Brian Freeman is one of the expedition leaders.
“We are doing it to raise awareness and also to raise valuable money for the charity, Bravehearts,” Mr Freeman said.
Bravehearts is a national organisation, founded in 1997 by Hetty Johnston, to advocate for the rights of children and families impacted by sexual assault.
Mrs Johnston works with government and non-government bodies on legislative reform, submissions, lobbying and research to improve child protection in Australia.
“We provide education in schools with Bravehearts’ mascot Ditto. In fact we have just celebrated helping 200,000 children with this education program,” Mrs Johnston said.
Ditto is taking part in the kayaking adventure.
To qualify for the Bass Strait adventure, each paddler had to raise a minimum of $25,000 for Bravehearts, training hard since December.
“Each paddler has done four months of open sea kayaking and endurance training, culminating in a 100km paddle from the Gold Coast back to the Brisbane River,” Mr Freeman said.
The participants of this adventure hail from Brisbane, with the exception of the expedition doctor, Andrew Graham, who is from Cairns.
Mr Freeman and fellow kayaker John Jacoby paddled their kayaks from Australia to Papua New Guinea in 2011, but none of the remaining five paddlers have had any serious kayaking experience.
The challenge presented by the treacherous Bass Strait was chosen to help draw attention to the cause.
“We were looking for something that raised people’s awareness;  it needed to be a challenging adventure because the guys wanted to demonstrate their commitment to the cause, being Bravehearts,” Mr Freeman said.
“The most challenging part of the journey is going to be the long hours, up to 10 or 12 hours in the kayak at a time.
“The support boat is only there in case we have a contingency. We are paddling island to island, so apart from that we will not get out of the kayaks or go on the support boat.”
The next Bravehearts challenge will be the Kokoda Track adventure, 96 kilometres in 96 hours.
For more information, or to follow the expedition, log onto www.adventure1000.com.au or braveheartsadventures.com.au.


Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=3151

Posted by on Mar 21 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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