Paddlers are encouraged to start practicing now for this year’s Kayak Challenge which will be held Saturday, November 3. This event is organized as a partnership between the Friends of the Environment and the Abaco Cancer Society and all funds raised benefit the two groups equally. Any kind of vessel without a motor can be used and this includes kayaks, paddle boards and canoes.
The event was first held last year and was inspired by the Kayak Challenge which had been held from Exuma to Nassau in memory of the late Monty Higgs. The one in Nassau is no longer held so the Abaco Kayak Challenge is the only one in The Bahamas and the organizers are hoping that participants will come from other islands and that eventually it may become as big as the Conchman Triathlon. Kristin Williams, Executive Director of Friends of the Environment, was very pleased with how the whole event came off last year.
“I was surprised that 52 persons participated in our first ever kayak challenge; it was an amazing turnout, especially since the weather could not have been worse. People were great,” stated Ms. Williams.
Last year, the Snake Cay Creeks, which are part of the East Abaco Creek National Park Proposal, were highlighted as part of the course. This year the Bight of Old Robinson will be the area highlighted. “This is an incredibly beautiful area with the second highest density of blue holes in the Bahamas,” commented Ms. Williams. “Participants will paddle over 10 blue holes. We are very excited about this course as lots of people have never even been back there.”
Last year the event began and ended at the Abaco Beach Resort but this year it will begin and end at Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour. Every course will go through the creek except the 3 mile course and the children’s’ course. The three-mile course will go from the Little Harbour beach to Bridges Cay and back. The eight mile course will go through the Bight of Old Robinson, across the bay then back over the stunningly beautiful blue holes. The 15 mile course will go out to the end of Lynyards Cay to Wilson City and back around through the creeks. The kids’ competition will take place in Little Harbour itself.
According to Kristin Williams, the organizers would like all participants to make an early start and be on the course by 8.00 a.m. There will be plenty of fun for people who are not actually paddling but would like to enjoy the party and support the two organizations. There will be games and kids’ competitions on the beach plus activities like at the Friends of the Environment’s summer camps. Local artists will showcase their work, donating part proceeds to the event. A pig roast and live music will add to the party atmosphere. Friends and supporters will enjoy watching for the paddlers to come in and cheering them on.
“This is a really good fit for the Friends of the Environment and the Abaco Cancer Society because both help to promote health and the environment and a lot of pharmaceutical companies are now looking at coral reefs and sea fans for cancer fighting drugs,” stated Ms. Williams.
Anyone interested in participating in the 2012 Kayak Challenge should call Friends of the Environment to register. There is a registration fee of $25 which includes a T shirt. Each participant is asked to get individual sponsors up to at least $100. Anyone of any age can participate as there is a course to suit all abilities.
“This will be a really fun day for paddlers and spectators, so mark the date on your calendars and come out and enjoy the fun,” urge the organizers.