The first-ever rowing round trip from Lantau to Macau was successfully completed at the weekend.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Rowing Team Alumni Association undertook the Pearl River Estuary Challenge to raise funds and awareness for the plight of the Chinese White Dolphin.
The gruelling 80km expedition took 20 hours, with rowers leaving from Tung Chung on Saturday, with the rowers staying overnight in Macau, before they returned to Tai O on Sunday.
Over the course, the rowers navigated through the core habitat of Chinese white dolphin in the Pearl River Estuary – also one of the busiest shipping channels in the world and location of the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge construction sites – and experienced the manifold threats the animal icon faces.
They have raised 90 per cent of their $100,000 target for the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong’s dolphin conservation work.
CUHK rowing president and expedition leader Chiu Tak-wing said rowing across open water over long distances is new and challenging to the team since they are more familiar with short-distance races in rivers.
“Strong ocean currents and high winds during the journey across the estuary made us seasick and threatened to stall our boats,” Chiu said.
“We also needed to stay alert to heavy marine traffic. We trained very hard over the past few months to adapt to these rough conditions.”
The team hopes the two-day experience in the heart of Chinese white dolphin’s home would enlighten the public about the marine animal icon’s plight.
“If I were a dolphin, I wouldn’t want to live in Pearl River Estuary,” Chiu said.
“I cannot imagine staying in an area as busy, dirty and noisy. Our team hope to change its fate.”
The public can donate until October 31 through https://www.justgiving.com/Pearl-River-Estuary-Challenge/
Photograph courtesy CHUK Rowing