Three Bendigo paddlers will begin kayaking from Victoria to Tasmania this week in an effort to raise at least $5000 for ocean conservation.
Ryan Griffin, Fergus Meyer and Tom Murrell - or the ‘Strait Shooters’ as they’ve called themselves - will travel through Bass Strait in a grueling 350 kilometre journey that could take up to three weeks.
“Tom originally conjured up the idea,” Mr Griffin, who grew up in Bendigo, said. “He saw a YouTube documentary on it and then he sent it my way and we sort of got talking.”
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“It presented a great challenge for us as a close knit, adventure orientated group of friends,” he said.
The men, who all studied Engineering at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus, will depart from Port Welshpool in South Gippsland on Friday morning.
They will then follow a route from Refuge Cove, to Hogan Island, Deal Island, Killiecrankie and Whitemark on Flinders Island, Cape Barren Island, Clarke Island and end at Cape Portland in Tasmania.
The three 28-year-olds all have limited kayaking experience but have done rigorous training over the last year to prepare for the journey.
“The hardest training was, without a doubt, when we circumnavigated French Island,” Mr Meyer, who lives and works in Bendigo, said. “On the second day of the two-day journey, the wind forecast changed to a heavy head wind which slowed our progress.”
“We were paddling as fast as we could but we were still moving backwards,” he said. “It was a steep learning curve about how to deal with changing conditions.”
The men are using the expedition to raise money for an organisation that promotes ocean conservation and sustainability.
“We did a searching process and found Take 3,” Mr Griffin said. “They focus on education and empowerment of people to take their own action to clean the ocean.”
While the three men are new to long-distance kayaking, Mr Meyer said they would be keen to try a different route in the future.
“We’re focused on ticking this one off first,” Mr Meyer said. “But maybe we could look towards New Zealand next.”
If you would like to donate to the 'Strait Shooters' cause, head to Take 3 and insert "BSP" before your name in the 'first name field'.
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