Article by IOL In The Cape Times

The Two Oceans Aquarium and stand-up paddler Greg Bertish have teamed up to raise funds for those in need, whether they are little children or little turtles.

The Great Optimist Race will see the Two Oceans Aquarium partaking alongside charities such as the NSRI, the Children’s Hospital Trust and Newborns Trust.

Bertish, the founder of the Little Optimist Trust and one of the greatest optimists of all, sailed an 8-foot children’s Optimist dinghy around the Cape of Storms in April 2016.

He crossed False Bay, rounded Cape Point and headed for Langebaan Lagoon on the West Coast. His 200km journey matched the 200 days he had spent in hospital fighting life-threatening heart infections.

“As ocean-passionate optimists, we are thrilled to be part of the Great Optimist Race this year, raising funds for sick kids through the Little Optimist Trust, but also for sick turtles cared for by the team at the aquarium.

Every year, a number of compromised, weak and very cold little turtles wash up on our beaches, and with the help from kind and caring people we get to rehabilitate these amazing ocean travellers back to health and ready for release.

“The Great Optimist Race is going to be a fun ‘race’ celebrating hope, healing, caring, giving and protecting. Keep an eye out for our happy little Nemo Opti, which will continue to inspire kids for many years to come,” said Maryke Musson, curator of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

The aquarium said they aimed to raise at least R150000 to make a differ in the lives of those who were vulnerable, ill and in need.

The event takes place on October 20 at the V&A Waterfront, and donations are encouraged and can be made online at https://www.givengain.com/cc/projectturtle/

All donations are tax deductible under Section 18A, and the proceeds will be shared between the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation and the Little Optimist Trust.