Marathon paddler ignores weather to continue journey
MERMAID with a Message Juliana Bahr-Thompson, who is on an epic 1000km paddle from Newcastle to Noosa, has decided to head out from Mooloolaba this morning despite the weather.
Battling shoulder problems, Ms Bahr-Thompson is hoping the predicted 4-5m southerly swell will work in her favour as she heads towards Coolum.
"All the push will be to the north which will be a good thing for me. I've already been out in 4-5m swell and that was a good day for me - I covered a bit of distance,” she said.
Ms Bahr-Thompson paddled into Mooloolaba exhausted yesterday on day 39 of her journey after paddling from Bribie to Caloundra the day before and.
Given weather forecasts for an east coast low, she was waiting until this morning to decided whether to paddle or take a scheduled rest day on Friday a day early.
Her greatest concern about the weather was making it in to open beach of Coolum through rough surf but she hopes to be off the water before conditions deteriorate too far.
She is due to have a rest day in Coolum on Friday, continue to Sunshine Beach on Saturday and then end her journey in Noosa on Sunday.
Ms Bahr-Thompson has managed to stick to schedule despite battling shoulder problems simply caused by overuse for more than half of her journey.
"I've been told I've got the start of bursitis and tendonisis,” she said.
Describing herself as feeling like "a zombie”, the 27-year-old said she was most looking forward to some sleep and seeing a favourite physiotherapist when she arrives in Noosa.
"I'm seeing physio pretty much every day after the paddle,” she said.
Ms Bahr-Thompson said what she was achieving through the paddle made the pain and fatigue worthwhile.
The professional lifeguard and teacher set out on the trip to raise awareness and funds for White Ribbon, which works to prevent male violence against women, and the Surfrider Foundation.
"Initially, I thought if I can help one person, my job is done, and I've had so many emails and phone calls and messages and little letter thanking me for what I'm doing,” she said.
"People are opening up in a personal and positive way ... I can definitely say I've helped more than one person.
"I guess going to such extreme lengths for something you're passionate about helps.”