- Maldivian Airlines to begin flights to China
- MDP calls to immediately cease politically motivated judicial actions against MDP
- Special task force created to combat gang activity
- Maldives doesn’t want to change Commonwealth Summit venue
- Suspects and victims of recent gang violence have criminal records- Police
- Adopting new perspective is the way forward for the education system: President
- DRP changed policies to close the door on Gayoom and Nasheed- Thasmeen
- New resort brand to open in the Maldives
- FRS rescues a child trapped inside a toilet and two children trapped inside a room
- Return of the Toddy Tapper at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
- ILO Country Director pays courtesy call on President Waheed
- Eight arrests made in Kumundhoo alleged of assaulting expatriate teacher
- Maldives opposes changing Commonwealth meeting venue from Sri Lanka
Olympic Solo Rower Crosses Maldives’ Zero Degree Channel in World First
Olympic medalist Guin Batten successfully rowed solo across the Maldives’ equatorial Zero Degree Channel Tuesday, completing the 60km crossing in 7 hours and 16 minutes.
Braving strong tides, swells and the unremitting tropical heat, Batten became the first person in the world to row solo across the famous channel. She used a FISA coastal single sculling boat, 6m long, 78cm wide, which weighs just 35kg, to ensure maximum speed during her journey.
Batten attempted the Zero Degree feat in order to raise the profile of rowing in the Maldives as well as highlight the threats posed to the island paradise from climate change and rising sea levels.
“It was a fantastic experience,” Batten said Wednesday morning. “I had a wonderful reception in Fuahmulah, where around 500 local people were waiting on the beach to welcome me with garlands of flowers and traditional music.”
Batten said the most difficult part of the crossing was navigation, particularly at night. “We set off at around 2am on Tuesday and the only light came from the full moon.”
Batten said the weather held up for most of the journey and the water was “calm and silky clear. But just before the equator, at around dawn, the wind picked up and there was a lot of swell and chop.”
Batten added that fate played a part in her successful crossing: “We were surrounded by terrific thunderstorms – it was an amazing light and sound show. Fortunately, none of the thunderstorms came too close.”
Batten said she was accompanied by school of dolphins during one part of her journey. “They swam near the boat but were a little wary. They didn’t recognize the rowboat.”
Rowing is a Maldivian tradition dating back thousands of years but the art is dying out due to the introduction of motor boats. Batten said she hoped her Zero Degree Channel crossing would “inspire young people to take up rowing as a sport to ensure these ancient skills are not lost.”
President Mohamed Nasheed said on Wednesday: “I am delighted that Guin has become the first person to row solo across the Zero Degree Channel. I hope her efforts will be a catalyst for the revival of rowing in the Maldives.”
The Zero Degree Channel (‘Addoo Kandu’ in Dhivehi) cuts the equator between the Huvadhoo Atoll and the Fuahmulah Island in the south of the Maldives.
Guin Batten, a British national, is a world renowned rower who won an Olympic silver medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and in 2003 broke the world record for crossing the English Channel.