A Cayman Islands bar manager completed an epic 350-mile paddleboard journey to raise money for foster children.
Jasmin “Yaz” Muratagic raised just over $5,000 for the Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home in the trip across a lake and river system in western Canada.
Paddling for up to nine hours a day through breathtaking scenery and camping by the water’s edge at night, Mr. Muratagic and his friend, Canadian firefighter Chad Guenter, completed the journey in nine days.
“There were times when we were just dumbstruck by the scenery,” said Mr. Muratagic, bar manager at Fidel Murphys.
“There was not a soul around, the water was the clearest blue. It was like heaven.”
He said the trip, which started in Canmore, Alberta, took them through remote wilderness before they were joined by a group of local paddlers on the final stretch into the city of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan.
Mr. Muratagic, who practiced for the trip by paddling along Seven Mile Beach, admitted it was tough going at times. At one point, in high winds, he said it took the duo 45 minutes to travel just 200 yards. The bartender said the point of the trip was to raise money and spread the word about the foster home.
“They are doing an excellent job there looking after these kids, and I wanted to raise some money to help them, but also to let people know what they do. Before I got into this I didn’t even know the foster home was there. “They have nine or 10 children that they are looking after full-time and they are doing a fantastic job. They need donations from the public to fund what they are doing. If I can do it anyone can do it.”
He said several businesses had stepped up with big donations, including Jacques Scott and Miller Lite. Businessman Marcus Cumber, who owns Island Air, weighed in with a $1,000 donation.
“I didn’t even know him and he called me up and said ‘I like what you are doing’ and wrote me a check.”
He said his friend, Mr. Guenter, raised money for mental health awareness during the trip.