Local girls to paddle round Mauritius

2008-03-16 00:00

A group of 15 courageous Epworth girls are going to the island of Mauritius on an inspiring adventure — they plan to paddle sea kayaks around the island unsupported.

Les Willows, co-ordinator of this mission, hopes to accomplish the trip in about nine days. The group’s food, clothing, cooking utensils and so on will be stored in their kayaks. Due to limited space in the hatches, there will be no room for sleeping bags or tents. Sleeping on the beaches under a ground sheet is what these girls are going to have to put up with.

Most of the girls are very experienced canoeists so their fitness won’t be a problem, but paddling along a coastline that is foreign to them will be a challenge.

The girls are going to have to do a considerable amount of fishing along the way if they hope to add a bit of flavour to their diet.

They will be setting off from the beach in Pereybere, which is situated up in the north of the island, very early on Wednesday morning. After about 220 km of paddling, they hope to finish back where they started by Friday, March 28.

As is the case with the annual Epworth Adventure sports programme, funds are going to be raised for a needy cause and the Mauritius Mental Health Association has been chosen as this year’s beneficiary.

One of their aims is to completely refurbish a classroom at the centre and they will be visiting the premises to make a start on the work once their marathon paddle is complete.

In January, as part of their training, the Epworth girls completed a 24 hour non-stop paddle, which raised R17 000. They donated R8 000 to Duct (the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust). The balance of the funds will be used to assist them on this adventure.

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