Saturday, November 22

Vaka Eiva Boiler charity swim

The boiler swim is a regular event on the Vaka Eiva calendar (and also the international triathlon in April or May each year). Contestants pay a gold coin entry fee for the privilege of swimming 750 or so metres through choppy water to the boiler of the SS Maitai which was wrecked on the reef of Rarotonga in 1916. The boiler is all that remains of the cargo vessel after nearly 90 years of wind, tides and cyclones.
Just over a hundred swimmers took part raising $428 for the Hospital Comforts Committee, this year’s charity. On top of that, one of the oe vaka teams, the Australian Whitecap Wallabies, donated $3000 along with hundreds of dollars worth of equipment including crutches, a wheelchair and boxes of children’s clothes and soft toys. Hospital Comforts president Betty Bailey was over the moon!
The first swimmer home was Australian Team Xylo paddler Kylie Muldoon who completed the swim in 10 minutes. Quite a few swimmers took time out to use the boiler as a diving platform – Vaka Eiva is about fun as much as competition!