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Last Thursday, June 4, Bill V & Bill W marked their 8oth year on planet Earth by doing what they love best – a physical challenge which took the form of a biathlon of kayaking & cycling.

The duo completed successfully a 34 km paddle in 3 hours 12 minutes followed by a 60 kms bike ride which they completed in 2 hours 45 minutes; a total of 94 kms in 5 hours & 57 minutes.

Both men have not only survived but thrived after major surgeries, and maintain a great level of fitness by participating in regular, consistent exercise.
COVID-19 thwarted Bill V’s plans of a trip back to Malta to mark his landmark birthday while Bill W’s plans were put on hold as he recuperated from spinal surgery. So this was their chance to ‘celebrate’…together.

The two Bills departed Riverside (opposite Blackmans Point) at 7.05am. The air was cool, the sky overcast & the water choppy, but the tide was running in to assist & a tail wind gave about 50% support. As the conditions had been forecast to be a bit rough, Bill V elected to borrow Graham Keena’s Elliott ‘Extreme’ ( many thanks Graham) for a bit more stability. Bill W paddled his Time Traveller 575. There were no mishaps on the paddle which concluded, at 10.17am, at our launching point on Connection Creek on the Maria River Rd. After a quick cup of coffee & change of clothes & equipment, they headed off at 10.53am on their second leg….a cycle to South West Rocks. This took them along Maria River Rd. & down to Crescent Head, from there to Gladstone then alongside the Macleay River past Smithtown, Kinchela & Jerseyville to South West Rocks. They arrived safely at the surf club at 1.45pm.

After dismantling the bikes & a quick change, we enjoyed a good coffee & fish ‘n chips overlooking Horseshoe Bay.

In 1940, the year in which they were both born, Bill V in Malta & Bill W in Australia, the World was in a state of upheaval. World War II was underway & in the summer of that year France fell to Nazi Germany. On the home front, Australia was in danger of invasion from Japan. Fast forward 80 years & the world is once again in a state of upheaval as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert Menzies was Prime Minister & his counterpart in the UK was Winston Churchill. On a lighter note, ‘Old Rowley’ won the Melbourne Cup & Brisbane’s Story Bridge was opened.

The two Bills would like to thank Peter Levy & Greg Donaldson for their offers to help with turnarounds etc and Caroline who was road crew/sag wagon!!


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