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A young koala's beach adventure

January 21st 2009
70th birthday takes "Commitment"

Marie de Monchaux in training Just imagine you have reached the fine age of seventy. Then, try to imagine what your preferred birthday present might be. Lots of flowers and a lovely dinner party with friends and family? Perhaps. Or, maybe you'd prefer something a little more out-there: an inter-Island trip aboard Magnetic Island's "Providence" sailing ship. Sounds great. But, if you are Marie de Monchaux of Arcadia, then, you are now enjoying your birthday present and you have put the party on ice - literally.

Marie is currently enjoying a birthday present she has given herself. It is a 25 day trip on board a 60 foot sailing ship, Commitment, about the same length as Providence, which departed a few days ago from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Patagonia aiming to cross the super stormy Drake Passage, all the way to the Antarctic Peninsular!

Yes, at seventy, Marie has succumbed to a lifelong ambition, to visit Antarctica.

"I'd always wanted to do it but it was well out of my budget. I may have to move into a tent when I return," laughs Marie

She's taking and old friend from Canberra, Kathryn Dyason, who always wished to go too and, from the reports coming back from the Commitment's skipper, Tony Mobray, our Marie and Kathryn are the only crew who haven't become, "bucket heads" (seasick).

According to Marie, who has only ever sailed, "a small amount - years ago", "Once the ship reaches the Antarctic Peninsular waters it is calmer and more protected."

The 800km Drake Passage takes about three days to cross with a total of eight on board. That's two crew and six passengers.

The Commitment is scheduled to visit Chilean, Hungarian and Argentinian Antarctic bases whilst at the frozen continent.

Magnetic Islanders are likely to have seen Marie dashing about Arcadia and Nelly Bay on her electric bike which has been part of her training program for the trip.

As for the riskiness of the adventure, Marie said, "The whole of life is a risk. Getting on a bike is a risk. This is an adventure. It would be more practical on a big ship but this is more exciting!"

Marie is also in as safe a pair of hands one might hope for. Skipper Tony Mowbray has sailed solo around the world and completed 15 Sydney to Hobart races including the disastrous 1998 race.

To follow the updates from the Commitment voyage (click here)

Attention Magnetic Times News Club readers. Many News Club readers are presently experiencing repeated emailed alerts to our stories in their in-trays. This is a problem with our server which we are presently working to resolve. In the meantime we hope that you will accept our apologies for this annoying glitch. Ed.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

70th birthday takes "Commitment"
Wendy Tubman
January 21st 2009
The Mowbray 'Commitment' blogger (one of the crew) described Marie and Kath (whose daughter Megan used to live on the island) as 'deadset champions'. We always knew M was one of these - nice to have it internationally recognized. Mind you, with 30-35 knots and 'confused seas' in the Drake Passage, rather them than me!
January 22nd 2009
Congratulations Marie for being so extremely adventurous. When my mum turned 70 a few years back we did a coral princess cruise and dived for our first time 4x. We were exhilarated and thrilled with the diving and it made the trip more exceptional with the heightened experiences. Happy to hear you are 'out there' and a very big happy birthday from all your friends on Magnetic.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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