The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation is joining forces with The Little Optimist Trust to raise funds for a number of initiatives, through the sailing of Optimist dinghies. On Sunday 4 October starting at 10h00 three little dinghies will be “sailed” on the Two Oceans Aquarium’s I&J Ocean Exhibit for 24 hours. The dinghies will be captained by Maryke Musson (CEO, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation), Greg Bertish (Little Optimist Trust founder) and Dr Cleeve Robertson (CEO, NSRI).

“I have always wanted to cross the ocean in a sailing boat, and at long last I am getting the opportunity now. I will be back in my little Optimist crossing our ocean, the I&J Ocean Exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium, during a 24-hour journey highlighting the incredible around-the-clock 24/7 work by the NSRI, the Aquarium Foundation’s turtle rescue team, and those who care for children in need, and who better to do this with than with great friends Greg Bertish, the incredible optimist himself, and Dr. Cleeve Robertson, CEO of the NSRI” – Maryke Musson, Two Oceans Aquarium’s Education Foundation CEO

For the past two years, the by-invitation-only Great Optimist Race has been held in Cape Town and has involved experienced sailors, celebrities and medical survivors sailing for charity and the work of the Little Optimist Trust.

Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation CEO Maryke Musson is a Great Optimist Race veteran, and looking forward to the next, albeit smaller, challenge! Credit: The Little Optimist

Unlike previous years, and to ensure a “Covid-compliant” sailing experience, the organisers have decided to optimise the situation and turn the race into a global challenge. Participants from around the world will be able to sign up for the Little Optimist Global Challenge that is taking place between 9 and 18 October 2020. Participants will be required to spend time in an “Opti” for charity – on any body of water (or no water), anywhere in the world. Each boat entered will be able to raise funds for charity, which will be split between the sailor’s chosen cause, and the Little Optimist Trust, which hosts sailing therapy days for marginalised children.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has participated in the Great Optimist Race since its inception, and this year, though very different than before, will do so again through the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation. The funds raised by the Foundation’s little “Opti” will go towards the rehabilitation of three loggerhead hatchling turtles that are currently in the care of the Foundation’s turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release programme. The hatchling turtles, affectionately named Bert, Dr Bob and Betty Blue, are but three of the 24 turtles currently in the programme. Furthermore, funds will also be used to donate at least 100 puppet storybooks to children in under-resourced areas. 

Betty Blue, one of the many stranded turtle hatchlings in the care of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation that this challenge will be helping to raise funds for.

As part of this global event, the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation will, on 10 October, be hosting the four highest bidders for a once in a lifetime experience, sailing for a good cause on the I&J Ocean Exhibit at the Aquarium in a glass-bottomed boat. The “auction” will take place on the Foundation’s Facebook page. All funds raised will be shared by The Little Optimist Trust and The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, both of which are registered Non-Profit and Public Benefit Organisations. You can donate to this cause here.

“I’m so excited to challenge everyone to climb into a Little Optimist children’s dinghy, and to sail it for charity, fun and inspiration. Even Covid will not stop the Little Optimist and his friends from sailing to raise funds for our Foundation and many others.” – Greg Bertish, founder of the Little Optimist Trust.

Find for more information about the global challenge and The Little Optimist Trust here, and more information about the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation here.

Greg Bertish is driven to help others by his own incredible story. Credit: The Little Optimist

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