Sailing up the Sapphire Coast we’re all in this together,
Waking through the day and night to furl, clew, check, and tether,
Um diddle-iddle-diddle, um diddle-aye x4
Sailing on and on and on regardless of the weather,
We are having so much fun we could do this forever,
Sung by the whole crew for Eddy and Kimmy’s birthday today.
Lyrics by Mon, Mel, Mils, Callum, and Dan.
Congratulations for making it through that epic masterpiece song – singing it this morning in between some cheerily drenching rain, was a great start to the day and really put a smile on the faces of our special people.
All of the youth crew got up early this morning for some smooth moves through the waves. With the wind impervious to our whispering words of encouragement, 0145 saw the entire crew out on deck to tack the ship round and make for our next waypoint. With uncheckable spirits the deck was soon filled with songs and yellow raincoats ready to set the ship on her new course, in what we like to call our Harry Potter navigation technique – make like a lightning bolt. Despite our best efforts, further waypoints proved elusive, but we were thrilled to be able to enjoy stunning night time views of the Sydney coastline and the best that the elements were able to throw at us. Despite our difficulty making the waypoints we’d originally aimed for, our Potteresque scar on the map had managed to zig in and out of one waypoint three times. A close reading of the rules convinced the staffies that this had led us to accumulate the points for this waypoint three times and hence we still successfully collected the required points for our navigational challenge.
Making good the final youth-crew-navigated destination at 0815, dead on time, we waited for safe entry through the heads before making our way to Watson’s Bay. With choc-chip pancakes for breakfast, the day had no other option but to start well. Soon after letting go the anchor, we sent an eight-person crew rowing ashore to claim Watson’s Bay for the young people of Australia. With some locals and tourists in the chorus, our team sang the national anthem and raised the flag before rowing back to the ship.
In an amazing feat of multi-tasking, different teams onboard took charge of rigging a hammock for all 27 youth crew, polishing and cleaning the entire ship, getting all 27 of us aloft on the foremast at the same time, tying 18 new and challenging knots, and making a poster to represent the voyage so far amongst other things… and all of this in just three hours. Over the last 24 hours the youth crew had really pulled together to achieve some spectacular things. At 1306 we handed the ship, all tasks attempted, and all but two successfully accomplished, back to Captain Damien.
The staffies then took us on a beautiful cruise into Sydney Harbour, where we dropped anchor in Neutral Bay with the most spectacular view in Sydney, directly opposite the Opera House and Harbour Bridge for our second last night on board. On our way we greeted our competition for the tall ships race tomorrow with some pirate attitude, before the staffies sent us all below decks for a siesta.
The evening saw some great reflection on what we’d learnt over the last 24 hours, then a barbeque below decks and an awesome birthday cake for Kimmy and Ed. As I write everyone is chilling with the city in the background and getting ready for an early night in preparation for Australia Day tomorrow.
So, this is my last task as youth captain for the STS Young Endeavour, I can only conclude by saying: as both a captain and a peer, there is nothing more that I could possibly have asked of my crew or of my friends. Every single person, whether seasick or tired, whether hyper on caffeine or high on life, pulled together in a night riddled with changes of course and changes of wind. Not one person whinged or complained and everyone stepped out of their way to look after everybody on board. I am so proud and so honoured to have been the Captain of such a wonderful and cohesive team, and I have learnt so much from each of you. Thank you to the entire team; you are amazing: for your tolerance of the things that didn’t go to plan and your endless efforts that made everything else possible, I am in your debt.
So before I steer any closer to my new title of Captain Hallmark Cards, just a reminder to everyone ashore, keep a lookout in the tall ships race at 3pm on Australia Day – you know who to cheer for.
Cap’n Milsy Hallmark over and out