Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Congratulations to Sarah Outen who, in an astonishing solo effort, has rowed the Indian Ocean from Australia to the Island of Mauritius in just 124 days. She is following in the oar strokes of the Woodvale Works 8 person team who set the speed record for rowing across the Indian Ocean, earlier this year, travelling the mammoth 3,132 nautical miles across the treacherous and unpredictable Indian Ocean, in just 58 days, 15 hours and 08 minutes. This achievement knocked an impressive six days off the previous route record. Sarah’s effort, in her ocean rowing boat, Serendipity, a mere 6m x 1.6m, is even more remarkable as she was facing the challenges and dangers alone. She is the first ever woman to have attempted and completed this and is now the new world record holder for a solo woman rowing the Indian Ocean.

Sarah is a biologist and was very concerned about making her epic journey as environmentally conscious as possible. ‘I am a naturalist at heart:’ she says ‘wild places, creatures and landscapes are an intrinsic part of what makes me tick. As a teenager I volunteered with my local Wildlife Trust; we coppiced, built fences, laid hedges, counted birds, set up Osprey eyries and monitoring sites among other activities ñ it was very hands on and fuelled my conservation ethic.

As a biologist and outdoor enthusiast, I love the creatures to be found at sea and want to encourage others to appreciate them, too. For what we love, we save. My journey was as green as possible, and my aim was to encourage responsible stewardship, especially of the blue stuff.’

On her website, www.sarahouten.co.uk/enviro/ you can read all about Sarah’s passion for the marine environment. She recounts fantastic tales of her encounters with marine life at all levels and explains why she is so concerned about pollution and damage to our oceans. This is perhaps why she has used her voyage to raise awareness of the organisations that help protect our seas and oceans. Green Blue’ is one such group, backed by the British Marine Federation and the RYA, it provides lots of information, practical advice about protecting the marine environment ñ with links to other site that have similar aims. It also provides information to boaty folk, water-sports enthusiasts and those practising industry associated with the sea about how they can best preserve our seas for future generations.

Along side all this Sarah has also been using her adventures to help raise awareness of and fund for a charity that helps in the care of people who have chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her dad was affected by this painful condition and she wanted to raise funds to help others get access to relief medications, support, care and advice. Before setting out she dedicated her voyage to the memory of her father ñ and as she came in to land on Mauritius on the 3rd August 2009 he would have been very proud of his daughter’s achievements. Messages of congratulations are still flooding in from all over the world it is a tremendous and inspirational achievement. Sarah ñ sportswoman, environmentalist and campaigner is a great example of an ordinary person having a positive impact on the world around them. To find out more about the journey and environmental groups that Sarah Outen supports visit her website.

www.sarahouten.co.uk

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