Footsteps 4 Good, the (water) wading, swimming, kayaking, rowing and terrain-treading island-hopping charitable endeavour embarked upon by Mrs Mandy Dakin, wife of His Excellency Governor Nigel Dakin, came full circle Thursday on Providenciales, where she started.
The blisters sustained along the approximately 225-mile journey, to her hands and feet, coupled with the Dr Jekyll-Mr. Hyde weather challenges, according to her, paled in comparison to the cause for which she began the trip.
After learning of the trigger for which she took on the expedition, and the challenges entailed, Dakin was greeted with loud cheers on her arrival at Sapodilla Bay, Providenciales, by the throng of sun-bathing tourists on site, along with waiting friends and well-wishers.
Showing off her blistered hands and feet, Dakin, accompanied by John Galleymore, the architect of the trip, and son Fraser, told the media that she was already making plans to stage the circumnavigation expedition next year.
She said one of the key joys of the journey was the kaleidoscope of personalities met along the journey.
She said the trek unveiled the true natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands, one that she would love for others to experience.
“…And being living a simple life…maybe not all the time, it really makes you appreciate what you’ve got. It brings everything back into balance,” she said.
She agreed with Galleymore that the pure athletic challenge was a worthwhile undertaking because it had never been tried before.
“The Circumnavigation of the Turks and Caicos Islands under manpower had never been done before, so as far as we are aware, it is a first,” Galleymore said.
“…And involving the community at the same time was very important,” Dakin added.
She said the only thing they would have done differently next time around would be to do more training on the rowing boat, because had they done that, could have saved a lot more time on the trip.
“Footsteps 4 Good” was started by Jill Beckingham, Mrs Dakin’s predecessor. Dakin, who met Beckingham in 2019 promised to restart the venture but with an ambitious twist.
The event is staged to benefit more than 20 charities, covering areas such as the vulnerable and hungry; those with chronic illness; youth development and empowerment; environment and heritage; special needs; and animal welfare.
There were doubts among many as to whether the trip could have been completed on the December 16 deadline, due to the instability of the weather at the time, which often affect sea conditions, and whether or not the trio would maintain the endurance capability to see the journey through.
The trip covered the full length of the Caicos Islands: Providenciales through North, Middle, East and South Caicos, then make the crossing to Grand Turk and Salt Cay, and afterwards completing the circle back to Providenciales via Sand, Ambergris and French Cays, and West Caicos.
More than $30,000 in pledges have already been made to the event, and according to the organizers, pledges, however small, could still be made, by Direct Messaging to @footsteps4goodtci .