A team of rowers from the South Coast are aiming to become the first all-women team to row across the Bass Strait this week, raising money for the Red Nose Foundation.
The ‘Red Nose MusselRowers’, departed Welshpool Port, Victoria on the weekend, paddling 40 kilometres in a surf boat to Refuge Bay.
Day two saw the rowers face their longest day of paddling on the journey. They rowed for more than 12 hours from Refuge Bay to Deal Island – 89 kilometres of rowing – which is a world record for the longest surf boat row for male and female rowers.
One of the rowers, Shannon Small from Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club, told East Coast Radio it was an amazing feeling to hit a world record.
“We’re certainly feeling it in our bodies but we know that we can push on but we’re feeling tough and extremely proud of ourselves and our support crew who have done an amazing job to help get us here but yeah we don’t have time to celebrate yet, we’ve still got a job to do,” Small said.
The Eurobodalla local said morale is high among the group but the girls are starting to feel the burn.
“We’re sore, sore all over, sore legs, sore bum, blisters, a bit of seasickness about but nothing that we can’t deal with together,” Small said.
“It’s really really special though, certainly something we will remember forever,” she said with a smile.
“(I’ve) made some really amazing friends, (there’s been) great stories, great laughs, lots of tears but yeah a really great group of chicks and men as well, we’ve got an awesome crew and we couldn’t do it without our support crew, they’ve been just been really special.
Eurobodalla residents Ashley Bujeya, Michelle Cottington, Shanon Small, Taryn Carver and 23 year old Topaz Eaton, the youngest participant are five of an eight women team paddling from Victoria to Tasmania to raise money for the Red Nose Foundation.
“We’re not half way yet, we’re planning to hit Flinders Island today (Wednesday February 8) and towards the end of that will be half way, that’s our plan anyway,” Small said.
“But yeah we’re having a great trip so far.”
One of the other rowers from the Eurobodalla, Michelle Cottington, said to finish will be a massive achievement, but the real motivation behind the Bass Strait crossing was to raise money for the Red Nose Day Foundation which is a charity that works to save little lives and support families impacted by the death of a baby or child.
“The reason we’re doing it is to raise money for Red Nose,” Cottington said.
“SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) gets forgotten until it hits someone and then it’s spoken about,” she continued.
“Carmel Harrington is a doctor who lost a baby to SIDS and she found out that there’s an enzime that normally wakes babies up, that is missing in kids with SIDS, so she wanted more funds to do more research.”
The Bass Strait crossing is expected to take the rowers seven to eight days in total, weather permitting.
Donations can be made at the MusselRowers – Womens Red Nose Bass Strait Crossing – Facebook page or HERE.