The West

Oarsome rowing mission

A team of seven adventurers has left Geraldton in a rowing boat for an epic 8500km journey across the Indian Ocean to Durban in South Africa.

The 15m boat is part of a campaign to raise $250,000 for multiple sclerosis research by Victorian police officer Tim Spiteri, whose mother Rhonda has been living with MS for 30 years.

He pulled together the multinational crew, skippered by Scotsman Leven Brown, who founded Ocean Row Events in 2005.

The crew hope to reach Durban in 55 days by rowing continuously and unsupported across the Indian Ocean. The voyage is risky, with potential dangers including strong winds, big swells, injury, boat damage and the threat of piracy.

As well as highlighting Mr Spiteri's campaign, South African rower Cameron Bellamy wants to help improve facilities at schools in his country, and Mr Brown and fellow Scotsman Jamie Douglas-Hamilton are raising funds for Rowing for Elephants.

Melbourne University academic Shane Usher, Heather Rees-Gaunt from Wales and Fiann Paul from Iceland complete the crew.

People can follow the journey at or through a live tracker at www.ubunye

The West Australian

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