Mermaid with a message paddles through pain

"Mermaid with a Message" Juliana Eahr-Thomson takes a break in Brooms Head on her paddle from Newcastle to Noosa Heads. Steve Otton

YOU’d think as a tiny figure paddling on the ocean horizon, that Juliana Eahr-Thomson would get a lot of time to think.

But as she paddles from Newcastle to Noosa Heads with just a lone jetski in support, she said that even thinking can be exhausting.

“Sometimes I want to talk, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy,” she said.

Juliana stopped at Brooms Head recently on her journey to raise money for her “Mermaid With a Message” charity, which supports both the Surfrider Foundation and White Ribbon Australia.

“I’ve been a professional ocean lifeguard for about 10 years, and I’m fairly environmentally concious, and the ocean is one of my favourite places to be,” she said.

“Doing this paddle I get to see some of the damage and rubbish all up the coast first hand, so it makes sense to support Surfrider.

“And I grew up with domestic violence issues for 20-plus years, and there’s no better group who represent the issues better than White Ribbon.”

Juliana paddled last year from her home in Newcastle to Sydney and raised more than $10,000 and decided this year to up the ante and aim for $50,000 in her trip up the Queensland coast.

“At the moment, we’ve raised just over $27,000 at this part of the journey,” she said.

It hasn’t been smooth waters the whole way, with Juliana recently taking days off her average 30km a day paddle to check on a shoulder injury.

“I’ve just had an MRI on my shoulder, and we had to drive up to here from Wooli,” she said.

“I’ll probably need a cortisone injection to keep going because it’s a repetitive use injury, which I guess is due to overuse it pretty much expected.”

Juliana will head off again from Brooms Head tomorrow morning after some running-repairs to their jet ski today, and hopes to arrive at Noosa Heads on August 7.

Donations to her charity can be made at her website:

Topics:  paddling surfrider foundation white ribbon

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