On February 13th, I travelled up to Adelaide to board the Young Endeavour along with 22 other youth crew members and 10 staff members to sail all the way to Melbourne in 11 days. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time working on teamwork and getting to know our groups, however, it wasn’t until the third day where we all found a connection with each other while our heads were over the side, presenting the sea with Day 2’s dinner! After that bonding session, we could begin learning how to set and furl sails. We spent five days pulling ropes, controlling sails pushing our physical strength. We spent some nights at anchor, which was always celebrated, but other nights we had long watches up on deck helping keep the boat on track by controlling more sails. Our nights at sail consisted of 4-hour watches in our smaller groups, having deep talks, or singing to mad beats… possibly more like everyone listening to me put on a one-man concert.
We all enjoyed a good climb up the yards especially when it was early in the morning when watching the bright sun rising from the never-ending waterline or when dolphins swam in dozens and put on a beautiful synchronised performance for us.
On the way, we had three pit stops where we were taken into shore to explore some foreign coastlines. First one being this amazing town of Robe, which seemed awfully similar to another coastal town I go to every Summer. The second one was Port Fairy a small town in Victoria, and finally King Island, Tasmania, where I got to eat cheese.
On the boat we were fed very well, I can assure you we were not losing any weight. Every day we received a nutritious breakfast, a mouth-watering lunch and dinners always consisted of at least three different meals to choose from, one was always vegetarian. Dessert was always given at the end of each day. In addition, one singular chef prepared these meals and we could never understand how she was capable of making potato bake, butter chicken, roast beef and veggies for 30 people in a tiny kitchen in just a few hours.
There was a storm, a horrendous storm and I sadly was the one that had the helm when entering it, and I swear I needed a new pair of pants when suddenly the whole boat shifted to a strong angle. So, I gave control of the boat to the Captain and ran for cover. It got worse though because next thing I knew I was watching others sliding from one side of the boat to the other cause at a stage we were sitting on a 20 degree angle. That angle is big enough that when we hit a wave the lower side of the boat would go under the water for a bit. Don’t freak, the boat is designed to do this safely, we were not even close to going under.
This lasted all afternoon and all night, and in this time was where majority of us scored our best bruises. Nevertheless, we all did nothing but enjoy the strange state we were in, trying to eat but sliding off the chair under our table, having to pour any liquid not directly above our cup, and just walking from one end of the boat to the other. I was sent into a roly-poly into one of the boy’s room sending me into their cupboard, legs in the air, head on the ground.
At night, half of us had no sleep because if we tried to lay in bed we would roll off straight away. As everyone was chilling out waiting for the night to pass we hear over the P.A. “All staff crew to the deck” in the most panicky voice. We had no idea what was happening all I could think was “Are we going down? If so should I make it up to the top so if we go down I’m not stuck?” but turns out all was good just one of the sails broke. This was a memorable time as the excitement and adrenaline was unreal.
Day 8, also known as Command Day was unique. We were required to sail for a full 24 hours with no help from the staff crew. Instead we had to fill their roles with chosen youth crew members, and I was given Vice Navigator. Everyone else would put their sail and rope skills to the test and were setting sails all day and night. It was extremely exhausting, but once we made it to Melbourne safely and in a quicker time than expected it was a massive sense of accomplishment.
During this day, we had numerous activities to complete like, writing songs, drawing a mural on deck, constructing a hammock to support us all. I was sent into land with a couple of others to gather at least six people to sing the national anthem over radio. We ended up with seven people who were happy to sing with us, despite the fact that four happened to be Canadian, so that was a questionable success. We were even lucky enough to score a nice sunny day where we whipped out the rope swing and tested our trapeze skills. Most shown to be utterly rubbish and resulted in having a bright red back!
This experience was like nothing I had ever been on and the people I met I will never forget. This experience is something I would relive in a heartbeat and I am proudly an Ambassador for the program as I truly believe it is a program worth joining. Visit the Young Endeavour website (www.youngendeavour.gov.au) and visit the Captain’s log for a more in-depth day to day of my 04/20 trip or other trips. The site is also a good place to get more information about the trip if you are interested.
Year 12 student