ON SATURDAY, August 28, at first light, they will lift their paddles and quietly stroke out to sea.
Their trip, an unusual one in a Bahamian context, will involve kayaking from the protected harbour of ship channel cay in the Northern Exumas out into the open waters across the banks to New Providence.
Fifteen or more kayakers, each in their single kayaks, are expected to start out on the long day's 32 mile journey. Each one will have his personal reasons and particular goals. But each one will also enjoy the camaraderie and underlying purpose of the group. Most definitely, each one will be thinking from time to time of Monty, in whose memory the epic trip will be undertaken.
It is entirely appropriate that time is taken to remember a wonderful man whose life was spent on and around the water.
A man who was a competitive swimmer, an accomplished spear fisherman, an avid angler, a naval quartermaster, a skipper in the Bahamas yacht squadron, an Olympic crew for the Bahamas in the Star Class, a boatman par excellence, a commodore of the Royal Nassau Sailing Club and most recently a proud kayak builder and paddler.
Many will have been touched by "Monts" and his expertise and willingness to share his knowledge and love of the sea in these various endeavours.
The idea and energy for the event has come from Monty's son Andrew who was himself touched by his father's feat of building his own kayak and paddling up the length of the Exumas from Great Exuma Island to Ship Channel Cay. This feat was undertaken by Monty in 2004, accompanied by his brother Peter and friend Dave Mellor (of Himalayan fame) from Freeport. It was during this journey that Monty first noticed symptoms that would shortly after be diagnosed as leukemia, although not a word of it was ever mentioned to his co-paddlers and nothing but his continuing enormous enthusiasm for the beauty of the cays was ever apparent.
It was the intention that the three would continue on to Nassau but sustained heavy weather made that impossible. Monty's kayak now hangs in display above the bar at the Green Parrot on East Bay Street.
Andrew will be among the paddlers as will be his Uncle Peter (one of the original musketeers). Also, there will be Monty's other son Chris who will come with two buddies from Abaco, making this event an island-to-island one not only in terms of the trip but also in terms of the participants.
The event, which is to benefit the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, has had tremendous support from many individuals and businesses for which Andrew and the Cancer Society are extremely grateful.