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Sunday 18 March 2018

Rower's attempt to conquer ocean hits big bump

Fergal Gallagher

HE set out to conquer the mighty Indian Ocean.

But a bump to his head left him all at sea.

Keith Whelan -- also known as 'the Naked Adventurer -- began his epic journey on May 7 in an attempt to become the youngest man to row solo from Australia to Mauritius.

He made it 200km but after a bump to the head, he rang his mother in Athy, Co Kildare, to tell her that he was safely aboard a cargo ship and on his way back to land.

The 29-year-old was sleeping on Monday night when a huge wave hit his boat. He was thrown across the inner cabin, hit his head off a bolt and cut it.

Mr Whelan was able to stop the bleeding but, fearing infection, he called for help using an onboard satellite phone.


The rower had set out from the Abrolhos Islands off the west coast of Australia on Monday. He was just 200km from Western Australia's coast, when the wave struck his vessel.

The Japanese container ship Fujisuka picked him up but is not expected to arrive in Bunbury, Western Australia until later this week.

His publicist Emily Tully yesterday confirmed the head injuries were minor and that his adventure was not finished.

She said: "The boat has sustained some damage but knowing Keith he will want to restart his attempt shortly."

The rower gained his nickname of 'the naked adventurer' because he rows bare-skinned to avoid any chaffing from clothing soaked in salt water.

He is undertaking the 6,000km challenge for the Keep a Child Alive charity, which provides life-saving care in Africa and India.

Irish Independent

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