The Hong Kong teen giving up a summer of Netflix to sail 100km for charity

  • Ocean Feng is stepping out of his comfort zone while raising money for environmental organisation A Plastic Ocean
  • No Wi-Fi, no showers, and no aircon for four days - can you do it?

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Teenage Ocean Feng plans to break out of his comfort zone and raise money for charity this summer by sailing around Hong Kong.

Ocean Feng is determined to “live life to the fullest” and not fall into the traps of a normal teenager. The 16-year-old is about to sail 100km around Hong Kong, camping for four nights in the middle of summer, to get out of his comfort zone.

“My friends ask what the point of this is. It was really hard to find partners. It sounds so tiring, four days outside, they’d rather stay inside, watch Netflix or chill by the pool. I’m pushing, going outside and living life to the fullest,” said Ocean, who will be joined by Hong Kong-based Frenchman Raphael Macresey.

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Ocean has a small inflatable catamaran and plans to sail from Discovery Bay to Sai Wan in Sai Kung, camping on Round Island, Tung Lung Chau and Pak Lap along the way.

The trip will take him 100km in a straight line but the length could change drastically depending on the wind. He will have to cross shipping channels, which he has never done before, and be exposed to the open sea. His adventurous spirit is not innate to him though.

Ocean Feng, 16, is sailing around Hong Kong to raise funds for A Plastic Ocean.

“My dad has always been pushing me to be more adventurous,” Ocean said. “He wants me to use my summers rather than just sitting at home or watching Netflix. It can be hiking, paddle boarding or reading so many books in the summer. He wants me to use my summer.

“The camping doesn’t come naturally to me. He pushed me last summer to do this hike from The Peak to Stanley. I wanted to do it in one day, which is fine by me as I don’t mind long distance hiking. But he wanted me to camp, which is a challenge in Hong Kong because it’s so hot and the weather changes. I did it and I’ve fallen in love with being outdoors.”

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He now cannot wait to spend four nights camping, resting between his long sailing legs. And he’ll need all the rest he can get. Crossing shipping lanes will be mentally taxing.

“The challenge is stepping out of my comfort zone and facing fears,” he said.

“Four days is a lot, I have to devote a lot of energy to it. I’ve never camped more than one night.

Usually, when I go paddle boarding, or sailing, I stay in protected waters.

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“I’ve very rarely gone through shipping lanes. That’s hard and I have to do planning for that. Not having a shower, not having good food, no Netflix, no Wi-fi, things that are important to teenagers these days. It’s a challenge but I’m very keen,” Ocean said.

“Mentally, I’m fine. But practically, I have to get familiar with going through shipping lanes.”

Aside from the challenge of sailing, Ocean is raising funds for A Plastic Ocean, an environmental charity best known for its Netflix documentary.

Ocean said he fell in love with the outdoors after being pushed by his father, who wanted him to do more than watch movies during his time off.

“Being outside a lot, I see what is happening. I went to the back of Middle Island, where people don’t usually go. There was so much. I found pig lungs, car keys, polystyrene. The strangest things wash up on the beach and it really disgusts me,” Ocean said.

“I understand we are on a path where we can’t stop using plastic, but we can reduce it, use less or make changes.”

Ocean needs no pushing now, as the snowball is rolling on its own.

“I haven’t needed being pushed this summer, but it’s great to fulfil his goals,” Ocean added.

You can donate to Ocean’s page here.

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