This year's Yamaha Variety Children's Charity Jet Trek kicked off in great fashion, with a comradely-building boat ride around Sydney harbour, and under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. This event was an opportunity for all the teams and support crews to get to know one-another as we would be spending the next week in each other's pockets. My 'white team' had a fantastic time taking in the sights of the big city which provided far different scenery than what we are used to in Central Queensland. But we were sure not to overindulge in the beverage department, as we had an early start for our first official day of trekking the following day.
We started day one of the trek bright and early. We were very lucky because the weather was superb: clear skies, very little wind. Perfect jet skiing weather! All 119 jet skis took to the water to commence the first 110km of our trek. The day was lovely, and the swells were just right. I had to pinch myself because we had such a great day. This thought must have jinxed me because the day was not without incident. At our fuel stop in Terrigal, I somehow clumsily managed to squash my big toe (who I subsequently dubbed Mr Purple). Discussions with the Variety paramedic confirmed my fear; I broke my toe! However, I made it to Newcastle.
On day two of our trek, Mr Purple was throbbing and making it difficult to stand and walk. My muscles were also stiff, and I was sunburnt. But, I have to give a shout-out to my trainer Geoff Morrison, from Greatest Version Strength Gym, who I spoke to at 6 am to work out a game plan for the day so that I could get on the water. Regardless of how I felt, and how much Mr Purple was hurting, I was not quitting. After all, if my teammate David was doing the trek with a broken knee, I could do it with Mr Purple!
Day two's trek was 170km. The first 70-odd km took us to Tea Gardens. We then completed the next 90-ish km to Tuncurry. Day two was quite eventful: we had 2m swells and 16knot winds. I had to stand the whole way which was challenging. The Corona at the end of day two's trek was magnificent.
Day three was eventful! The trek was rougher than day two, so much so that we had to wear our safety gear. I wonder if my bright green helmet showed up in anyone's drone footage? Lucky I was wearing it because I came off my jet ski. This doesn't sound so bad when compared to one of my teammates who also came off his jet ski in spectacular fashion, by flipping his jet ski in the process. He is fine but very shaky, and he was not able to continue the trek.
We ended the day in Port Macquarie, which is such a beautiful spot. To see just how beautiful, jump over to our Facebook page to see my drone footage.
Day four of our trek was not spent on the water. Instead, we took the day to rest and recuperate. I took the opportunity to give my skin a bit of attention because it was dry and cracked from windburn. Thanks to the team at TCS Hair and Beauty who supplied me with my skincare regime for this purpose. It worked a treat!
Unfortunately, we weren't able to take to the water for day five of the trek because the swells were at a staggering 3.8 metres! It would have been too dangerous. The weather was also quite miserable and rainy, so we were unable to see many of the sites around Port Macquarie.
We thought the final day of Jet Trek was going to be rainy as well. But it did clear up in time for us to take to the water with some sunlight shining through. Our final leg was 110km straight – no stops. But after the two-day break, I was feeling great, my muscles had relaxed, and Mr Purple wasn't causing me too much trouble. I was chomping at the bit to get back on the water to raise more funds for the kids!
Coming across the bar into Yamba was a little testing, but great fun. The final night's celebration was fantastic. If you haven't seen the setup, check it out on our Facebook page - very fancy! Our formal dinner was beautiful, and all the participants and their support crew were in great spirits. I think we were all awe of our achievement.
Now it was time to return home, however with a bit of detour to the beautiful spot of Sandon. I was treated with great hospitality by Zoe and Glen Gilbert of MAICON with a freshly caught crab by Glen and cooked to perfection by Zoe; what a wonderful treat at the end of a long week.
This was the day I was waiting for - seeing Sandra Greacen the Musculoskeletal Therapist to ease all the muscle tension with her magic needling and electric pulses. That was amazing!
I started the trek with approximately $3,500 raised for Variety. This saw me earn the bronze level sticker. By day two, I was sitting at $4,250 raised. By the end of day six, I had made it to a silver level fundraiser with an amazing $7,200 raised!! This made me so happy as it saw me enter the top 10 fundraisers for the trek (I finished off at number 8). But what's more exciting is that the whole trek raised a whopping $380,000 for Variety Children's Charity!! So to all of you who donated, I thank you so much.
Will I do the trek again? Absolutely! Only crazy people do the Jet Trek, and if I am still crazy in 2019, then I will be here with my jet ski. Besides, I have seen the meaningful work that Variety do and know how much they help children in need. If I can help them in any way to continue this phenomenal work, I will.
Finally, I need to say big thank you to all my sponsors, DentalCareXtra, KIDS Mackay, MAICON, CFMEU Moranbah North Lodge, Moranbah Community Workers Club, Blackbird Performing Arts, Bulletproof, Workplace Safety and Development Solutions, 96.9 4RFM Radio, SmartStay Villages, QCWA, TCS Hair & Beauty, Hornery Group of Companies, The Roast Shack, Create a Sign, and Greatest Version Strength. Without your support, the trek would not have been possible. So, I am forever grateful for your backing.
Next year's event will be taking place in sunny (hopefully) Queensland. We will be trekking from Bundaberg to Hamilton Island, so I am looking forward to this even more as it is in my backyard! For more information on Yamaha Variety Jet Trek, please visit the Variety website.
Thanks again for your support!
Dr Hany xo