Club members paddle to Macau and back to raise funds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am

Some 145 members of the Hong Kong Island Paddle Club paddled to and from Macau at the weekend, and it wasn't because they couldn't afford the ferry tickets. The journey of 130 kilometres took seven hours each way. They took turns on Saturday and Sunday in three six-man canoes, joined by a support boat, in competition. Of course, it wasn't just a contest of endurance, as the outrigger club also raised money for the Hong Kong Sea School, which offers boarding education for underprivileged boys.

Even more challenging, the canoes didn't pause when paddlers were making a changeover. Replacement crew members jumped into the ocean as the canoes raced towards them. The new member in the water then hauled himself or herself into the boat, and the paddler being replaced exited by diving overboard on the other side.

'This is something we practise anyway,' club chairwoman Julie Devine said. 'We last did this in 2007 and it had been an annual event prior. This weekend was particularly difficult because the water was calm and flat. You can't surf along in flat water. And it was hot.'

The club hopes their effort will raise more than HK$50,000. If you're impressed by these modern Argonauts, you can add to their total with a donation at