It seems that we live in a time where recognition requires extremity. Some 4,000 people have climbed Everest (ho hum), over 36,000 people ran the London Marathon last year (yawn), and 536 people have ventured into space.
Ok well that last one’s still a pretty exclusive club yet not nearly exclusive as the one junior doctors, Ted Welman and Jack Faulkner – otherwise known as Doctors Adrift – hope to join in about three months time.
Welman and Faulkner, both 26-year-old medical doctors working in south London, are hoping to join the honour roll of intrepid adventurers who’ve made the journey across the Indian Ocean in a rowing boat, and all in the name of a good cause. The pair hopes to raise an impressive £100,000 for Médecins sans Frontières – a global medical charity that provides much needed emergency medical care in areas affected by conflict, epidemics or natural disasters – in completion of the attempt.
Ruminating on extremity, we spoke with Welman and Faulkner just before they launched from Geraldton, Western Australia, on March 16th – and asked them about their plans and hopes for the journey ahead.
“I think people are bored”, says Welman over the phone from Geraldton, where the pair had just completed a last minute training session, “ to get noticed – to raise the kind of money we’re hoping to raise – the journey needed to be grand. Luckily it was something we were planning to do anyway!”
“People have been unbelievably generous with us – including Karma Group. They were quick to come on board as one of the major sponsors, we just wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
The pair left Geraldton on the 16th of March and hopes to complete the 3,600-mile journey to Port Louis, Mauritius, in approximately three months. Along the way, they expect to confront obstacles as various as whales (lovely, but only when they’re far away enough to not capsize your boat, says Welman), commercial shipping, 50ft waves and the rather toothy problem of travelling along one of the major migratory corridors of the Great White Shark.
“Because we’re moving relatively slowly (under row only), one of us will have to get in the water once a week to scrape of barnacles and the like”, says Welman. “Needless to say the other will be keeping a keen lookout!”
Despite the sheer scale of the operation (pun intended) that Welman and Faulkner are due to undertake, they have managed to take planning, training and the welter of emotions about the journey in their stride.
“It’s something we’ve both dreamed of, as far back as medical school, but then university took precedence over everything else and we had to put it on the shelf for five years or so.”
“So many of these kinds of attempts fall over before the boat’s even in the water, so we’re extremely thankful to all our sponsors for helping us get to this point.”
Those wishing to support Doctors Adrift in their intrepid attempt can donate via the pair’s Pledgeit link, simply go to: https://www.pledgit.net/campaign/9RTdql