As I walk down the dock in a little known town in northern Queensland called Gladstone I get my first glimpse of the big blue brigantine that will become my home for the next 11 days. As all 24 youth crew stand on the dock nervously and almost silently waiting in a group we have no idea what lies ahead of us. It is a time of pure excitement, total unknown but also extreme curiosity. Little do I know at the time what a massive impact this trip and subsequent trips onboard Young Endeavor will have on my life. This ship has changed me as a person, challenged me to my core and altered the filter through which I view life.
Over the subsequent 11-day youth development voyage to Brisbane we go from a group of individuals from all corners of Australia and all walks of life to a cohesive team who walk about the ship with purpose, climb the mast like seasoned veteran sea monkeys and take solace in the simple pleasure of being fully in the moment and out sailing on the high seas seeing Young Endeavour under a full set powering through the ocean, enjoying the pleasures of climbing the mast for sunset or sunrise, hot coffee at 3am in the morning whilst on watch and taking a steaming hot shower after another action packed day of rope races, morning briefs, sail setting and furling and happy happy happy hour.
There is something about being at sea on a boat like Young Endeavour which I think all Australians can relate to. It's this simple pleasure of being fully in the moment whilst out on the high seas and the ability to be able to become almost detached from a world where we are more connected than ever but also be able to be more immersed and connected with the environment and people on board than we can in any other from of life its hard to describe but it is something that is oh so special. It was the above that drew me to persue a life at sea although on a totally different type of ship.
Three months after my voyage and I was working away at a marina in Sydney when a 37meter superyacht called Tango came in for an overnight stay. Fast-forward another month, a crossing from Brisbane to Fiji on another superyacht and I was walking on board Tango for my first day as their full time deckhand part of a crew of 4. Fast-forward 2.5 years another voyage on Young Endeavour from Sydney to Rio De Janeiro and it was time to head overseas and have a crack at overseas super yachting. I landed a job on a 78meter superyacht working for one of the most iconic men of the 21st century on a boat that is closer to a spaceship than anything else with a crew of 20. I have been to a bunch of amazing countries, nearly filled a full passport with entry and exit stamps and have many memories which continue to blow my mind.
As I sit on the bridge doing an early morning anchor watch in total silence once again totally in the moment reflecting on what links all of these experiences I have had on the high seas since my youth development voyage 4.5 years ago and what continues to make me seek to lead the life I do. I think that it comes down to three simple things. First and foremost are the people and the friendships. Second is experiences both which you get to share with these friends and also getting to see what makes the rich and famous tick seeing them for who they are not what they are. Third and finally is the fun factor sure there are days that are more challenging that others but those days you learn and grow as a person and at the end of it I can honestly say that all of my days at sea have been fun. Without Young Endeavour expanding my horizons and showing me what a rich life a life at sea can be I would be a very different person living a very different life. The three things above I have now realised are not only important for a life at sea but also for life in general.
Anything and everything is possible in life, there is no such thing as luck - you make your own and you make life what you want it to be. Hopefully I have inspired you apply for a youth development voyage if you haven’t already or put some food for thought in front of you for your life that will inspire you to move forward on that next idea or adventure.