Ireland’s naked rower who was on a mission to row solo across the Indian ocean has been rescued by a Cargo ship off the Western coast of Australia, after he suffered an injury when he was struck by a large wave.
Keith Whelan from Athy in County Kildare, was hoping to become the youngest man and the first Irishman, to row across the Indian Ocean.
The 29-year-old who called himself “the naked adventurer” preferred rowing in the nude to avoid chafing from salt crusts that built up on his clothing.
The energetic man ran into difficulty when a large wave hit his vessel throwing him across his sleeping cabin and cutting his head on an exposed bolt.
The Irishman was able to stop the bleeding before using a satellite to contact a friend in the UK, who in turn alerted the Australian authorities.
He was 200km offshore and out of reach of the local coastguard. As a result the Perth water police alerted a nearby Japanese cargo ship called Fujisuka to pick him up.
After picking up the Irish man, Whelan received medical treatment for his injury when the ship arrived on the coast.
“Worst 48 hours imaginable but I am fine,” Whelan posted on his Facebook page yesterday.
“Gutted is not the word for how I feel right now. But happy to be in one piece.”
A spokeswoman for Whelan said he could require up to 15 stitches but it was still unclear if he would be able to continue on with the challenge.
“Knowing Keith, I’d imagine he won’t let this deter him, and he’ll keep going,” she said. “If he has to abandon it will be because of damage to his boat and not to him,” she told the Irish Times. “I don’t know what condition the boat is in, but that’s what it will all come down to."
The Irish man was raising funds for the charity Keep a Child Alive, which helps children and families affected by HIV and AIDS.
"At first I thought this was complete madness but at the same time it appealed to me. I am a risk taker and risking your life to achieve a dream is the biggest risk you can take," Whelan wrote on his website.
"Some might say it's foolish but to my mind it is only foolish if you don't know the risks and you don't prepare for them and train for every possible scenario."
He began his expedition on May 7.