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18 January 2010, 11:01
For some people, kayaking well over 1,000 miles would be the expedition of a lifetime. But, for the Big 5 Kayak Challenge, it was just a warm up.
Led by Bedford kayaker, Richard Harpham, the team have now unveiled their latest 5 challenges.
They will be starting their first challenge in April this year.
The team have agreed to become ambassadors for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), aimed at protecting the marine environment and seas, currently less than The recent Marine Conservation Bill is new and aims to create special Marine Conservation Zones where the usage of the area is protected from overfishing, industry, marine craft, pollution etc.
So far the MCS team have identified 73 areas such as the Farne Islands, Skomer Island, which they hope to be designated for protection. People can vote for areas they wish to see protected and also on the 73 sites already listed by visiting www.mcsuk.org. Kayakers can make a real difference by voting on sites, proposing new sites and generally raising awareness. Fundraising by doing a sponsored paddle is also another way people can show their support and make a real difference.
“We saw the good, the bad and the ugly of the marine environment during our previous five expeditions, so it seemed appropriate to get involved with this great charity. We have been lucky enough to experience the most amazing marine wildlife at close quarters, including eagles, humpback whales, porpoises, dolphins, bears, orcas and seals. We have witnessed the rubbish and pollution in our seas and on beaches in some areas of the country, which is in stark contrast to the protection provided to the environment in Glacier Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site. On some of our sea trips around the UK we paddled past long lines of plastic bags and other forms of rubbish in eddy lines. It was shocking and sad to see. To sit back and do nothing would be wrong and we believe the Marine Conservation Zones covered by the new bill is a good start”, commented team technical advisor Olly Jay.
We'll be speaking to the team before their first challenge.
For more information about the team and their challenges, and for information on how you can sponsor and support them, visit their website: www.big5kayakchallenge.com