By Samantha Joseph
STUART - A 61-year-old Stuart man has undertaken a personal challenge to travel from Bimini, a Bahamian island, to Fort Lauderdale in a 12-foot pedal boat.
Bill Boes, who is asthmatic, has one kidney and is also battling arthritis.
"This is an endurance feat. It's a coming of age," he said as he prepared for his 15-hour trek across the Gulf Stream from Alice Town, where he and a chase team, who would follow him for safety reasons from the Bahamas, were preparing to head to Broward County.
Mr. Boes, a former surfer, grew up near the beaches of New York.
His life has come full circle, because at age 22, he undertook a feat where he pedaled the entire 127-mile length of Long Island in a 14-hour boat trip.
Almost 40 years later, his latest challenge promised to be his toughest, he said.
But the local senior said he wanted to attempt the trip for two reasons.
First, he wanted to raise awareness about pedal boats and other "human-powered" vehicles.
"I want to show the capabilities of the craft," he said. "We're racing toward oblivion with all those motors."
The Aug. 13 journey also helped raise funds for House of Hope, a Stuart nonprofit that provides food, assistance paying utilities, emergency cash and other assistance to low-income residents.
Mr. Boes' gift will be a timely gift to the local charity, which has only been able to develop a six-week operating budget, as opposed to one for three months, said Diane Tomasik, the group's communications director.
"We're so appreciative when people recognize we'll put their money to good use to help keep their neighbors in their homes and keep their utilities on."