Wingham High School 2017 graduate Melinda Marion has just returned from an eleven day voyage on the tall ship, Young Endeavour.
Melinda is with the Australian Navy Cadets with the Taree unit TS Manoora.
Melinda wrote the following account of her adventure for the Australian Navy Cadets:
My voyage (03/18) began at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney on the January 29, 2018.
I was joined by 25 other youth crew from all over Australia with ages varying from 16 to 22.
On our first day, we got to know more about each other and the staff, and participated in a few ice breakers.
As the sun was setting on our first day, the staff told us that we would be ‘laying aloft’ (climbing the foremast).
I had mixed feelings about this, as the top of the foremast is 34 metres high and I do not enjoy heights.
However, I didn’t want to leave with any regrets, so I climbed to the Topgallant Yard. I also climbed to the Topgallant yard later in the trip without any fears, which I thought was impossible.
On day two we woke up at 6.45am and had an early morning swim with the chance to try out the rope swing.
We then began to sail out of Sydney harbour and started our journey towards Devonport.
We anchored in Crookhaven bight for the night, and went ashore on Currarong beach the next morning for a few beach games and some swimming.
After setting sail again, we had a challenging night at sea battling 35 knot winds and four metre swells.
The staff were excellent in helping individuals suffering with sea sickness (including myself). We then continued our voyage down the south coast towards Devonport.
Throughout the voyage we learnt to set and furl sails (roll them up), how to sail the ship and tack the ship, some basic navigation, how to climb aloft, tie knots, how to cook, and how to have 90 second showers!
Most importantly we learnt how to work together as a Youth Crew, how to live in communal harmony, and how to overcome challenges and support each other.
Some of the other cool experiences included: jumping off the bowsprit into open waters, seeing whales, dolphins and seals, snorkelling at Currarong Beach, and learning how to live with 35 other people on a boat for 11 days.
On day nine, the youth crew was given the chance to take over the ship for command day, whilst the staff had a rest.
A short ceremony was held and captain Mike handed over his captaincy to captain Isaac giving him the captain’s hat and spyglass.
We also had Ayden as the sail master, Holly as the navigator, Julian as the watch officer, Zachary, Gert, and myself as watch leaders, and Alex, Melanie and Caitlin as the cooks.
Preparations were made to plot our course to our desired destinations, and we were soon underway.
Captain Mike had set a last of task for the youthies to complete on command day.
Some of these included: sailing to our set destination, getting as many youthies on the foremast as possible, and making a hammock strong enough to fit the entire youth crew – we managed to succeed in all our set tasks.
Our command day was without incident and we quickly reached our destination.
On day 10 we entered into Devonport (Tasmania) to pick up some very special passengers from Richmond Fellowship Trust for a half day sail around Devonport.
This was a chance for the youth crew of Young Endeavour to give back to the community, and for individuals who may be unable to participate in the Young Endeavour for various reasons, to experience what it is like to sail on a tall ship.
We had a wonderful day, and it was great to share our knowledge and skills with these individuals.
Day 11 was met with mixed feelings for many of the crew.
I was happy to have had the amazing experience, (and happy to finally have my own bed back) but sad that it was my last day at sea with my new friends.
I am now working towards my goal of entering the Navy next year.
This experience of life at sea has made me more inclined to want to join the Navy.
I would like to thank Australian Navy Cadets for giving me this opportunity.
Shout out to LCDR Deb Shaw ANC who has always been so supportive of my goals and for organising this life changing experience for me.
I would also like to thank LT Luke Parsons ANC for playing a huge role in logistics in organising this trip for me.
Thank-you also to my CO, LT Graham Myer ANC for always encouraging me and all the cadets at the unit.
Australian Navy Cadets always feels like an extended family and today was no different when POANC Leonie Agius from TS Mersey collected Kate (fellow Youthie) and I from the ship.
Rather than dropping us straight at the airport, POANC Agius showed us the sights of Devonport and took three hours out of her day to do so.
This is my final year in Australian Navy Cadets due to aging out and what an amazing start to the year.
I encourage all youth to apply for a berth on the Young Endeavour as it is an amazing experience of personal growth and adventure.
It is an experience that I will never forget, and I have grown in many ways from this adventure.