This should have been written a long time ago, before my memory of events had faded.
Fortunately, I kept a journal to detail my time on Young Endeavour (YE), and this becomes my first piece of advice, should you choose to sail. Take a journal, find a few minutes to write in it every day. Because all the little things, the one percenters, the smallest of moments, they are what make YE so undeniably unique, and so powerful.
24th April, 2015.
Most of what I had written is a barely legible scrawl, but the last line sticks with me still. "I saw her today, home for the next two months. She is beautiful".
It was late afternoon by the time we had travelled from Istanbul down to the port town of Canakkale, where we were to embark upon our journey. That quote describes my thoughts upon seeing YE, inadequately explaining the sensations and emotions I was feeling when I first stepped on board.
The two months that followed were a colourful blur of excitement, tiredness, exhaustion, adrenalin, and contentedness. From swimming in the Aegean sea, to transitioning the Corinth Canal, to exploring the island of Malta and climbing the Rock of Gibraltar. To sailing the mouth of the Mediterranean and to commanding YE in the Bay of Biscay, all of these magnificent experiences seem trivial when written down.
Reiterating what I said at the start regarding the one percenters; I truly believe that they make the experience what it is. The grand events and experiences are incredible and unforgettable, but the true magic of Young Endeavour is in the way it molds people together. Through shared hardship and experience, it helps forge memories and moments so strong that it binds people over vast distances, permanently.
For those reading this who have spent time on her, I feel that you'll completely understand what I mean. For those who may be considering a voyage, I urge you to apply or accept so that you too can understand what I mean. Time, money or difficulty will pale in comparison to the knowledge you will gain about yourself and the experiences you will retain forever.
The last thing I want to state, also sourced from my voyage journal, is dated as the 6th of June, 2015. The conclusion of Command Day, off the North West coast of France. This statement encapsulates my attitudes and feelings towards Young Endeavour:
"These people have become more than I ever could have imagined. This ship has become home. Let me enjoy this, just this moment. How blessed am I."