Tinny man takes on epic voyage
HE was a little bit shaky as he climbed out of his 4m tinny at the Burnett Heads marina after a four-and-a-half hour trip from Hervey Bay yesterday, but John Fels insists he is five days into one of the most enjoyable experiences he has had.
Mr Fels started his epic voyage from the Gold Coast to Cairns on Sunday to raise awareness and money for the support of leukaemia patients and their families.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said.
Mr Fels has so far raised about $39,000 for the cause and is pleasantly astounded at the reception he is getting along the coast.
A caravan park owner refused to charge him for an overnight stay and people are giving him cash and refusing to take a receipt.
Mr Fels said he was inspired to make the fundraising trip after witnessing the devastating effects leukaemia had on a friend two years ago.
“David has always dreamed of doing a big fishing trip up north, but seeing he’s too ill to make the journey himself I decided to take on the challenge and raise money along the way,” he said.
Mr Fels is alone in the boat, but has twin brother Robert and friend John Darbyshire as his land support team, and said he expected the voyage to take about 20 to 26 days depending on the weather conditions.
“Robert and I have been boating for more than 40 years but are still taking safety very seriously,” he said.
“We’ve scouted the entire route by land and water, talked with local marine safety authorities and checked coastal bars and bays for safe landing sites.
“We have also strengthened the boat to ensure it can withstand rough weather conditions.”
Mr Fels said he would be visiting as many communities as possible to raise funds and would be stopping at more than 30 Marine Rescue stations along the route.
“Each year, 2000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with blood cancers,” he said.
“That’s one person per
kilometre of my boat trip, which really puts the seriousness of these diseases into perspective.”