Paul D’Offay taking to canoe for charity |18 November 2021
Following his crossing from Mahé to Praslin by canoe on April 6 this year, Paul ‘Fisher’ D’offay will this time take to the seas for a whopping three crossings, in the name of supporting a charitable cause.
Mr D’offay, a 70-year-old sea and canoe enthusiast who hails from Anse à la Mouche, has teamed up with non-governmental organisation Impact Sports Education Entertainment (ISEE) with the aim of helping the organisation raise funds needed to buy 100 beds for terminally ill patients.
The first crossing, which is to take place over the course of two days by the end of the month, comprises a tour of Mahéisland, with a total distance of 44,000 nautical miles. The first part of the crossing on Saturday November 27 will start from a point near his home and will end at the Sail Training Scheme (STS) Roche Caïman, while on Sunday November 28, Mr D’Offay will start at STS and complete the tour at Anse à la Mouche.
The direction he will take depends on the weather over the two days, although Mr D’Offay intends to be out and in the water by 4am on both days, ready for the feat ahead.
“Beforehand, I had spoken to the minister (Marie-Celine Zialor) while on La Digue, about how I would one day have a canoe challenge for an association, although I knew not then for which association. I have decided to do it whole-heartedly, with all my courage and determination. I wish to thank everyone, from the association, myself, and even all the friends and kids cheering me on at Anse à la Mouche, it gives me the courage and determination for the challenge. With the determination that I have, and especially at my age, I will succeed at it,” said Mr D’Offay.
“The satisfaction it will bring me is that it will benefit the elderly and those in need. I don’t have funds to directly contribute to the cause, so I am contributing my courage,” Mr D’offay stated confidently.
In preparation for the challenge, the dream chaser takes to the canoe and waters everyday, where he does long-distance, sometimes going all the way to Beau Vallon, to Port Launay and to Grand Police from his starting point at Anse à la Mouche. He takes the longer trips first thing in the morning, and on some days takes his canoe out for a shorter trip in the afternoons.
The National Sports Council (NSC) is also a key partner for the activity, which will officially conclude with the third crossing from Mahé to Silhouette on Sunday December 19. Representative of the National Sports Council (NSC) Alain Alcindor clarified in a press conference held last week that NSC will be providing for the security and safety of Mr D’Offay, as well as that of other experienced canoeists who are being invited to join in.
“As far as security, we organise this for the group, especially if we are starting early. We are doing it during this timeframe because we expect the weather to be calm. We had planned to do it earlier, but we could not because of the south east monsoon. With regards to security, we will have boats following so in the event that anything happens we can react quickly, but on the route we will ensure that we are not too close to the reef barrier, and we need to be mindful of the current to determine how much distance to stay from shore, we have lifejackets, and with such an activity, hydration is important, so we will have sufficient water, and will ensure that we have medical officers among us,” said Mr Alcindor.
“As explained, only experienced canoeists will be participating, including those who have canoed to Praslin, to Mamelles, and they are therefore able. We wanted to tell people to join us along the way, but we are still finalising the details, so they would know what specific time we would reach which point, which would give the canoeists who cannot go the whole route, to join at a specific point, but this will depend a lot on the press, especially the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC),” Mr Alcindor noted.
Canoeists can join any of the crossings, and at any point that they wish provided they have their own equipment.
Co-founder of ISEE, Amanda Rose, said the organisation is grateful to Mr D’offay for having approached them with and offered to do the crossings as a means of fund-raising, and that the organisation is nowhere close to its target.
“The cause will remain open to anyone who wants to support us, and we are really happy that you approached us, and on behalf of the organisation, I thank you. To be honest, we are really far off the target, because 100 beds is quite a target. We are getting donations slowly and surely, but I am confident that with time, more people will be willing to donate to the cause,” Ms Rose noted.
The organisation hopes to procure two types of beds, including specialised beds at a cost of over R40,000 each.