Rub-a-dub-dub in an Optimist tub

Rub-a-dub-dub in an Optimist tub

They weren’t a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker, but two men and woman have spent 24 hours rub-adub-dubbing in tub-sized dinghies for charity.

Greg Bertish, Dr Cleeve Robertson and Maryke Musson had it a little easier than the three men from the nursery rhyme – they didn’t have to share a tub. Instead they each sailed an Optimist dinghy around the main exhibition tank at the Two Oceans Aquarium, starting on Sunday at 10am and ending on Monday at 10am.

The three took to the water to launch the Little Optimist Global Challenge, which this year, because of Covid 19, replaces the annual Great Optimist Race.

Various celebrities and survivors of life-threatening illness have competed in the invitation-only event in the past to support charity and the work of the Little Optimist Trust, an NGO that Mr Bertish founded. Last year, the event raised R250 000.

This year, sailors of any age and from anywhere in the world can sign up for The Little Optimist Global Race and raise money for charities. They will have to sail their “Opti” for an hour or more – on any body of water, anywhere in the world – during the race window from Friday October 9 to Sunday October 18.

The money raised will be split between the sailor’s chosen cause and the Little Optimist Trust, which runs sailing therapy days and water-safety training for needy children at its Zeekovlei sailing academy.

Mr Bertish, of Hout Bay, is also the founder of Shark Spotters and author of The Little Optimist, a motivational children’s book.

He said he had found it relaxing sailing in the tank, and added that more than 150 000 people from over 100 countries had already sought permission to come aboard for this year’s event, by either sitting or sailing in their dinghies.

“There are people sailing in their little boats in hotel pools, canals, or rooftops on buildings,” he said.

“There are even people having little Optimist dinghy gatherings and making the charity a fun experience, or in lagoons and vleis.”

The NSRI is also supporting the event, and that’s how its CEO, Dr Robertson, found himself in the other bathtub-sized dinghy at the aquarium’s I&J Ocean Exhibit.

Dr Robertson said the NSRI had come on board because water safety was a priority for the institute, which also does outreach work with children. “We aim to teach one million children a year to swim, which is important because it is a survival skill,” he said.

Also part of the experience was Bob the sea turtle, who kept them company. He and the other turtles in the Two Oceans rehabilitation programme inspired Ms Musson, the CEO of the aquarium’s Education Foundation, to pilot the third dinghy and raise money for them.

The foundation’s rescue efforts, along with the work of the NSRI and Little Optimist Trust, ran 24 hours a day, hence the 24-hour challenge in the tank, she said.

The foundation is looking for sponsors to support the rehabilitation of three turtles – Berty, after Mr Bertish; Dr Bob after Dr Robertson; and Betty Blue.

The aquarium has around 30 turtles in its care, rescued from the coasts through a “turtle network” of supporters.

“We are ready,” Ms Musson said.

“We have our sleeping bags and the cuddly penguins and turtles to keep us warm throughout the challenge.”

Participants pay R150, or a direct donation can be made.

Visit www.thelittleoptimistglobalchallenge.org for more information.

Sailing Therapy

Sailing Therapy

If you could see their faces …….. #sailingtherapy with #thelittleoptimisttrust is the most unique and beautiful experience to witness. Marginalized kids experiencing the wonders of the world , the wind , nature , adventure and skills development and feelings of belonging , accomplishment and hope.
Our programs are run at @zeekoevleiyc and are part of the #positiveyouthdevelopment we are all about. We can’t wait to be able to do this again with these kids who really need it .
@twooceansmarine
@ullman_sails
@ullmansailssouthafrica
@italtilesa
@52superseries
@boaticacapetown
@southafricansailing
@sailoptimist
Soup kitchen serving hundreds in the West Coast

Soup kitchen serving hundreds in the West Coast

These ladies and this SOUP KITCHEN served hundreds on the west coast each day. We are proud to be supporting them with food and vegetables 🌽 we deliver each week. Dankie TIAAN en @laastedrif for all the donations of vegetables
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@ullmansailssouthafrica
@italtilesa
Optimism during the COVID-19

Optimism during the COVID-19

 

Surfers rally to help coastal town residents

Surfers and charities have joined forces to ensure that struggling families of a famous Western Cape surfing town won’t go hungry over South Africa’s lockdown period.
Elands Bay is a small town situated on the country’s West Coast, approximately 200kms north of Cape Town. It’s also home to one of the best left-hand point break waves in the country – a huge attraction for surfers, who also play an important role in the town’s economy.With the Covid-19 lockdown, the usual activities that sustain the community’s residents – a crayfish factory, fishing , potato farming and the steady stream of surfing visitors  – have been severely limited, eliminating the livelihood of many local families.It was this fact that inspired  The Little Optimist Trust to join forces with members of the Elands Bay  Environmental and Development Action Group (EBEDAG), 9 Miles Project,  and local surfing families to help raise money for the local fishermen and farm workers, many of whom are unable to work and who have single-income homes.The Little Optimist Trust raised has over R65 000 with many of the donations coming from surfers who have made the town their second home, and from others across the country who have surfed there in the past. Kara Combrink, a local resident, has raised another R30 000 to also contribute to the project. The money will be spent on two rounds of food hampers that will feed 100 families. And there’ll even be some Easter cheer, with the delivery of Easter eggs for the town’s children. We have empowered some locals to manufacture face masks for us, along with local talented surfer moms,  and we will be distributing many 100s of  masks over the coming week.