Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket paddling challenge: Birds ready to hit the water for ’round-the-island’ adventure

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The countdown is on for the father-and-daughter team of Les and Victoria Bird whose epic quest to paddle more than 120 kilometers in a circumnavigation of Phuket starts this weekend.

In the early hours of February 12, Ironman athlete Les, 59, and seven-time triathlon champion Victoria,11, will set out from Yacht Haven marina on the island’s northeast coast. They won’t return for some time.

Paddling in scorching heat during the day and cloaked in darkness at night, the Birds will have to contend with boat traffic, exhaustion, unpredictable weather and tide changes to make it the whole way around.

But they are determined to finish what has been described as an “inspiration for Phuket”, and it could take them five days to finish.

Anil Thadani, CEO of Symphony Capital, has donated his 38-foot vessel Blowfish as safety boat.

Australian mariner Bill O’Leary will helm the boat, looking for potential dangers and pointing the Birds in the right direction.

“When I read in the Phuket Gazette about Victoria’s aim of raising awareness for charity, I wanted to help in some way. I admire people who take on tough new challenges. This young girl is an inspiration to us all,” said Mr Thadani.

The Birds will also be flanked by two veteran kayaking instructors on their trip: Ian Jones, who runs Exceptional Experiences, and Rob Ford, the Head of Primary at Victoria’s school, the British International School.

The Birds announced their ambitious plans in October. Since then, the local community has been quick to lend support and cash donations. They are raising funds for the 100 Friends international foundation and Phuket Sunshine Village.

So far, more than 32,000 baht has been raised and handed to charity representatives. Victoria is intent on raising much more.

First taking up kayaking 22 months ago in Phuket, Victoria completed a British Canoe Union (BCU) training course on the Isle of Wight in the English Channel in summer 2009.

Victoria’s paddling progress over the past few months has left dad Les and her instructors baffled.

“It’s amazing. She is a natural…she makes me look bad,” Les jokes.

The pair will be paddling in 14-foot solo Atlantis kayaks with drinks, food and their bunk-beds all aboard Blowfish.

Les said the paddle will be split into eight sections, a change from the original three.

On the first day, the Birds will set out from Yacht Haven and paddle about 30km to Nai Yang (2). Later that day, after Les has had his daily two-km swim for a “cool-down”, they will head for Bang Tao (3) and stay the night on Blowfish.

The following day they plan to make it all the way to Nai Harn (4) in the South. Les said they will have to stop halfway for a quick respite.

This will all be the easy part, says Les, who is more concerned with the unpredictable tidal patterns and speedboat traffic in Chalong Bay and off the coast of Phuket Town’s Rassada Pier.

Day three is going to be tough. Paddling from Nai Harn, the duo plan to make it to Friendship Beach (5), then Cape Panwa (6).

On day four, en route to Boat Lagoon (7), “We’ll stay away from the coastline to avoid the busy channel,” says Les.

The fifth day will see the pair shoot for their final destination, Yacht Haven. This is where Victoria’s classmates are expected to throw a welcome home party. All members of the Phuket community are welcome to attend.

Will the Birds reach their dream of paddling the whole way around the island? If there’s any father-and-daughter team who can, it’s them.

If you would like to bank on the Birds and donate to one of the charities mentioned in this story, then contact Les at T: 081-926 7103 or lesbird10gmail.com.

— Fraser Morton

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand to apply for Guinness World Record for longest petrified log

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Koh Samui bar and club finds 16 Covid-19 infections

Best of3 hours ago

Kanchanaburi’s 5 coolest hotels

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand3 hours ago

Thousands of inmates granted royal pardon on HM the King’s birthday

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 16,533 new cases; provincial totals

Best of4 hours ago

5 of the most amazing hotels in Koh Chang

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Best of4 hours ago

The best steakhouses in Pattaya serving juicy steak

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Girls infected with Covid after mother dies at home; public criticises healthcare system

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Crowds rush to Bang Sue for vaccination ahead of walk-in registration ending

Coronavirus Thailand7 hours ago

Thai PM predicts current Covid crisis will be over in 2 or 3 weeks – 4 at the most

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Health Ministry says all frontline medical workers will get donated Pfizer doses

Coronavirus Vaccines8 hours ago

Study confirms mixing AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines as good as 2 mRNA doses

Coronavirus Phuket8 hours ago

Officials reluctant to cancel Phuket sandbox, lifeline for desperate locals

Best of9 hours ago

Top 5 art museums in Pattaya

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: Record high of 16,533 new cases

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending