On June 19, Katerina Vichou, Shu Pu and Katherine Lynch, from Hong Kong Outrigger Canoe Club and Pure Ocean Connection, smashed expectations by successfully paddling non-stop around Lantau island in a record-breaking 7 hours 36 minutes (double canoe) and 8 hours 7 minutes (solo canoe).
The paddlers pushed themselves to the limit in 34 degree heat to raise nearly HK$80,000 for three local Hong Kong charities, all dedicated to ocean conservation and making water sports available to the community. Speaking afterwards, Katerina said, “Today’s paddle was the hardest, yet most meaningful one I’ve ever done! I’m truly thankful for all the support we got and for having such amazing partners like Katherine and Shu.”
The women started their crusade in the early hours of Sunday morning, paddling anti-clockwise around Lantau, and were lucky enough to be greeted by pods of Chinese white dolphins along the way, who leapt into the air beside the canoes. While their journey highlighted the incredible beauty of Lantau island, it also reflected the environmental issues the island faces, as the paddlers encountered thick rubbish patches along the way.
The women were supported by The Little Blue Trawler, an ex-fishing trawler converted into an ocean classroom by one of the three beneficiary charities, Plastic Free Seas, and volunteer support swimmers helped deliver much-needed refreshments along the way. When asked what spurred her on in the challenging stages, Shu replied, “The chilled watermelons! Well, also the desire to finish…knowing that I just cannot fail with all [the] trust and support from the donors and the whole ocean community.”
If you would like to make a donation to the cause, which is supporting Hong Kong charities Sailability Hong Kong, Splash Hong Kong and Plastic Free Seas, please visit gogetfunding.com/pure-ocean-fundraising-paddle-around-lantau-island.
Photo credit: James Branch