December 3, 2019
Article by
Gary King


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The Success of our Murray Paddle Fundraiser

Last year I heard about the Massive Murray challenge - a 404 km kayak from Yarrawonga to Swan hill. To enter all competitors must support a charity and I thought our Mission is a perfect fit for such an event and so decided to organise a relay team to participate and raise money for the Mission.

Any amount raised would be a kick-start for our fund raising plan to finance our 3 major projects for the next year.

These include:

  1. The addition of a free morning return bus service to Port Botany.
  2. Provision of transport and welfare services to crews arriving at the White Bay terminal during the cruise ship season.
  3. Welfare services to crews arriving at the Caltex Terminal at Kurnell.

At the onset I had a very modest goal or around $5000. Fortunately, that turned out to be hugely pessimistic. Troy and James jumped at the opportunity, and with a very small amount of training at Pittwater we set off to the Murray for 5 days of paddling.

Troy commenced the event on the Monday with over 200 kayaks, canoes, and other assorted craft including a dragon boat and several outriggers on a beautiful early morning on the Murray. As well there were over 300 support crew. A special thanks to Margaret for the 5.30 start and all the wonderful food preparation.

Our plan was to swap paddlers at specified check points and each day we paddled between 20 to 52 km. On the first day James, full of enthusiasm completed the day with a tough 52 km in the hot sun and strong wind without complaint. Although I heard later his body was feeling the effects of the long paddle that night.

One of the highlights of the paddle was to be able to have a chat with fellow paddlers (the ones who were paddling at a casual pace). We often talked about our respective charities and all were very interested in the work of the Mission.

I am pleased to say we completed the course with no blisters and still lots of enthusiasm.

Our Mission was one of only a handful that got a special mention from the convenor as I crossed the finish line, a great tribute to our work for the Seafarers.

Our time was certainly not at the lower end of the scale but thanks to the incredible efforts of our fundraising team spearheaded by Wendy the final total of 14000.00 would put us the third highest fundraising team in the event. It says a lot for the quality of care that we provide to the Seafarers that they contributed approximately $2000 to this total.

Finally I want to give a special thanks to all those that supported us both financially and logistically.