•Locals join annual global initiative to give back to the ocean
A SMALL group of paddlers met at Nahoon Beach last Saturday morning to take part in Paddle for the Planet, a worldwide relay to raise funds for ocean conservation.
East London event facilitator Travis Smith said the East London Surf Lifesaving Club and Border Canoe Club decided to climb on board with the annual event a few years ago, to “give back to the ocean”.
The global event takes place in more than 20 countries, aiming to unite paddlers for a one-day global relay, to raise environmental awareness and give back to the oceans.
Events in each country are organised to take place sequentially, at a specific time in every time zone.
This year’s beneficiary was the Daram Marine Reserve, situated in the corner of Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
The biodiverse tropical region contains 70% of the known coral species and 1200 species of fish, but the island is in imminent danger due to its remote location.
This makes it the ideal base-camp for illegal operators who are destroying Daram through shark finning, turtle harvesting, live fish trade, logging and reef bombing.
Funds raised will be put towards the protection of this area.
Paddlers can either purchase a Paddle for the Planet sticker for R50 or donate their cash online at: www.paddlefortheplanet.org
Paddler Cassie van Heerden said: “It’s great for us to exercise, while doing our bit for the animals and cause awareness. I joined because I want to benefit an ocean conservation effort.”
Clarendon High School pupils Jenna and Carla van Wyk said they decided to join and support the planet, while doing something they both enjoyed.
Some paddlers scrambled to the wall and back, while others enjoyed cruising around in the bay.