WHEN Rod Moore walked 3km across the bottom of Lake Macquarie to raise money for charity in 1987, his biggest concerns were decompression complications, deep mud on the lake bed and dangerous soft spots.
On Friday, Mr Moore will attempt the feat again, but this time he, and the lake, are 30 years older. And a lot has changed.
“Lake Macquarie 30 years ago was heavily commercially fished, so there wasn’t many sharks in there,” he said. “Now it’s full of sharks, it’s alive.”
Things have changed for Mr Moore too. He was run over by a speedboat in Swansea Channel 19 years ago.
“I had to have a partial amputation and they had to reattach my foot,” he said.
Mr Moore is walking 3kms under water at a depth of just under 9 metres to raise money for the Bali Street Kids Project, a non-profit charity caring for disadvantaged children in two locations in Indonesia.
During a family holiday and his first visit to Indonesia’s popular island last October, Mr Moore attended a fundraising dinner for the project.
“I went to the orphanage the next day to see what they were doing,” he said.
He was so taken by the group’s work, he spent the rest of his holiday helping at the orphanage.
“We were over there for two weeks so I asked my wife if she would mind, and she didn’t of course, and so I worked at the orphanage the second week,” he said.
“I had a ball doing that.
“I really enjoyed it. Seeing the kids smile and the ladies all smiling, it was great. They get them off the street, these really are people at the bottom of the line.”
Mr Moore worked to fix the orphanage’s sewerage system that week, but he wanted to do more.
“Then we came home and I said ‘I'll try and work something out, I'll try and raise some money for you’.
“And I thought, what can I do? I’m on a disability pension after the speedboat accident.
“So we don’t have a lot of money now and so I thought, I can get back in the water. I can’t run but I can still walk.”
On Friday, October 13, his mother’s birthday, Mr Moore will do just that.
He had not done any diving since the accident, but got back in the water in Bali and again in preparation for the walk.
“It’s my mother’s 80th birthday on Friday, so it’s happy birthday Mum,” he said.
“Mum’s worried a little bit,” he said. “My wife and my children are worried. They’re worried I’m going to become a meal for a shark.
“I don’t think I’ll be eaten, I think I might be looked at and they might swim around me a little bit. I won’t go down easy.”
He has a 12-inch piece of broom handle to defend himself, and a piece of concreter’s mesh for protection at the back.
“The bull sharks and I, we’ve all got to come to an agreement to live and let live,” he said.
“I’m definitely nervous. But the people from Airborne have offered to fly a helicopter around and keep an eye on things. So then if they do see some sharks, the guys supporting me in the boat will pull on my air hose and let me know that something’s coming.
“Hopefully they’ll just be looking and not wanting to eat and I’ll give them a bit of a poke and hopefully they’ll go away. That’s the theory.”
He will enter the lake at 9am at Marks Point Marina, the same location he entered on January 21, 1987. He will, hopefully, emerge at Belmont 16s, just as he did in 1987.
“Thirty years ago I was 25 years old and it took me three and a half hours,” he said.
“This time, because of my leg I don’t walk that good so I’m allowing another hour, so say four and a half hours.”
“Everyone in Australia has been to Bali now, some people have been there dozens of times, it’s their second home,” he said.
“Everyone in Australia has been to Bali now, some people have been there dozens of times, it’s their second home. And the Balinese always do really well by the people. They smile all the time, they give them good cheap prices, so maybe if people could give back a little bit more this time. And not haggle.”Rod Moore
“And the Balinese always do really well by the people. They smile all the time, they give them good cheap prices, so maybe if people could give back a little bit more this time. And not haggle.”
The Bali Street Kids Project was started by local woman Putu Etiartini nine years ago. The orphanage normally cares for about 45 children but their numbers have swelled to more than 90 due to evacuations because of the recent volcano threat.
The service survives through volunteer donations and Putu Etiartini and her husband Michael Pate praised Mr Moore’s passion and kindness.
“The Indonesian government does not help us,” Mr Pate told the Newcastle Herald.
“Rarely, a supporter will make a special event, like Rod.
“Rod, was immensely helpful, using his many skills to improve broken things here. Our shower and kitchen water drainage system was a disaster, draining in the street. He quickly made it good and easy to maintain.”
Mr Pate said the money donated would be used to keep the project running.
“We recently lost one of our old cars to an accident,” he said.
“Getting kids to school, buying supplies, etc has become very difficult. Example, myself and another person would take kids to school, two kids on the back of a motorbike, three times in the mornings, and that was just them, there were more.
“So, we emptied our bank account and borrowed $5000 to buy a used car. It’s not safe to care for many kids with a negative balance.
“There are endless other essential needs such as paying for school, medical care, and repairs.
”Rod and all helping are true angels. We are totally dependent on what comes our way and so many of the children in Bali, their needs are great.”
Mr Moore said he had been overwhelmed with support so far. He contacted several local politicians seeking support, with One Nation Senator Brian Burston taking up the challenge immediately.
He has also received support from Charlestown Dive Academy, Belmont Auto Electrics, Raymond Terrace Auto Dismantlers, Belmont Copy Centre, Airborne, Marks Point Marina, Belmont 16s, Adams & Associates Solicitors at Caves Beach, HepMac Lawyers Newcastle, Benjamin & Khoury solicitors in Sydney, Blacksmith’s Home Timber & Hardware, Swansea Tyre & Battery Services, Newcastle Muffler Service and Pamcol Constructions.
To donate visit gofundme.com/rod-moores-bali-street-kid-project.