Follow members Marianne, Rachel, Andrea and Alex of the Lantau Boat Club Rowing Section as they take part in a 60Km tour around Mirs Bay and the outlying islands in the South China Sea. Organized by the Hong Kong, China rowing association, HKCRA.
A 5.30 a.m. start seems pretty early for a Saturday morning, but then if you’re as addicted to rowing as the 48 rowers that joined the Yan Chau Tour, sacrificing a lie in bed is no big deal! The plan for the day, to row 60k, to explore the gorgeous outer islands of Mirs Bay in the North Eastern Territories of Hong Kong and join with rowers from 7 clubs and 1 association.
Our 4 Lantau Boat Club rowers have previously rowed around Lantau Island (74k) so we certainly felt up for the challenge and started the day confidently and with great enthusiasm!
Our meeting point was North Plaza in Discovery Bay where we jumped into one of the traditional Hong Kong taxis. If you are planning to come for the 2019 World Coastal Rowing Championships this is the best way to move around Hong Kong with your crew! The spectacular sunrise was a good sign of the amazing day that was ahead of us!
The Shek Mun Rowing Centre, run by the Hong Kong, China Rowing Association and located in the Shing Mun River was a great location for the start of the tour. It was a hive of activity at 7.00 in the morning, with many people out on the river training in multiple types of boats.
The activity at the Shek Mum Rowing Centre was exhilarating and contagious, many young rowers were training for the Hong Kong University Rowing Championships that will be held next August.
It was most definitely rush hour on the water with boats and crews training in every direction and careful focus and navigation was required to avoid any ccollisions!
The coastal rowers were keen to get ready! Rowers from Deaf Power, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, New Star, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Shatin Grace, Hong Kong University Alumni, Lantau Boat Club and staff of Hong Kong China Rowing Association, joined together for a welcome and quickly set to, preparing the boats for a full day of adventures!
Finally we were ready and it was time to hit the water! High spirits were contagious and big smiles were clearly evident on all the rowers faces! This is our passion, this is what we love...Let's go! Our party of 3 quads and 4 doubles, made a bold start along the 3 km channel, warming up and getting in formation ready for the official start at the mouth of the channel.
Safety was a priority and the trip was well supported by the team of 3 motor boats that closely monitored and ensured the well being of the rowers. The boats also carried the other team members, ready to switch places every 2 hours.
Finally, as we entered Tolo Harbour all boats were lined up and it was time to officially start!
The first 15k were very pleasant, with good cloud coverage preventing the sun from getting too hot and conditions were kind with little wind. Passing the sites of famous landmarks en route was fantastic, with people enthusiastically spotting tigers, crocodiles and other animals in the ancient rock formations.
The scenery around Plover Cove Country Park was amazing, with the mountains majestically standing tall in every direction. The vantage point from the boats was a real privilege to enjoy and gave us a very unique view of Hong Kong that few people realise exists, far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Crew changes were successfully managed from the support boats with the second section commencing about two hours after leaving Shatin.
The following photos were provided to the Lantau Boat Club by different photographers who were part of the trip, please let us know who you are to give you proper credits! Thank you!
The lunch break at Crooked Island was enjoyed by all with everyone joining together to enjoy local chinese cuisine. This was a great opportunity to chat to rowers from other clubs, catching up with people met previously, exchanging club news, rowing tips and developing good friendships.
After a short break, and the careful re-application of sun-cream, the third section of the tour began with a change of crew members again. By this stage the weather was not so much on our side. The sun, which had been behind the clouds for much of the morning, was now very intense with temperatures around 32 degrees and the wind was strongly blowing against us with gusts of up to 30kmph.
The stretch around the islands and through Mirs Bay was grueling, with crew members having to dig deep to find much needed energy to make any progress. After a further 13.5km, and a final challenging crew change due to the tricky weather conditions, the home straight began.
This was the longest of the sections, with 17.5 km against the wind proving a significant challenge. Team spirits remained high and excellent support coordinated by friends on the motor boats ensured everyone was safe. Progress however was slower than originally anticipated, with this stretch taking 3 hours to complete.
Finally at 7.00pm, we returned back to civilisation and the concrete jungle. The Shek Mun rowing centre was a welcome sight and our tour was successfully completed. Yes we were tired, yes we had blisters in numerous places and yes we needed a shower, but the sense of achievement and accomplishment was tangible and shared by all.
The day would not have been possible without the hard work of the Hong Kong China Rowing association ensuring opportunities for all rowing clubs across Hong Kong. A special thank you must go to Marcus Kwok, Wan Ng , Kelvin Chu and Toby Cheng for all their hard work and preparation in enabling this Coastal Rowing tour to be so successful. Hopefully, this will be the first of many such opportunities.
Rachel Humphreys Chair - Lantau Boat Club