My voyage was number 3 of 2014. We sailed from Sydney to Newcastle!
I feel everyone will write similar things about how YE changed their lives and taught them valuable life lessons they'll never forget. This is all true for me, of course.
Growing up wanting to join the Navy was my biggest dream for my future. From 2012 I started to really focus on my goals for the future and started to put together a plan on how I'd make it into the Navy. I joined the Australian Navy Cadets mid that year and I instantly fell in love with the whole concept of working together as a team to achieve a goal.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to sail up to Sydney on the Windeward Bound for the International Fleet Review. Now that was an experience I won't ever forget. Sailing Bass Strait on a tiny tall ship where the Ooh-Aah meter was on its limits, pitch black at 3am clinging to the safety line while feet being soaked from the water tipping over the capping rails. Sailing into Sydney Heads on a drizzly day with the tall ship fleet never felt so good! If only I was on YE instead! Would have been a lot less rocky!
I did a few other sails on Winde through cadets over the 3 years I was with them. I climbed to the rank of Petty Officer Cadet by the time I left, with so many fond memories of friends and team mates that will stick with me forever - much like those I had on my voyage with Young Endeavour.
My voyage started with a bit of a hitch, the freezer was broken and something about the radar was broken so we had to spend our first few days within the harbour. We swam in the "pool" and sung our shanties every morning. Personal jokes formed, like when there was a birthday on board (we had 2!) we woke to "happy birthday" by Altered Images. Now everyones birthday each year since someone always posts that song on their Facebook wall. I was chosen to be watch leader for command day, a job I might not have been the greatest at (I was pretty terrible at navigation) but I stuck to it and learned a lot! Like the shipping lanes outside Newcastle aren't the best place to make the ship do a 360° turn. Whoops!
We survived though, in time for our lovely community sail with the local downsyndrome group in Newcastle. Teaching them how to sail was so very fulfilling.
We also had Marty on board for our voyage which we were all pretty chuffed about! We were actually very lucky because he couldn't keep his mouth shut about the World Voyage which at that time was waiting for the go ahead! Those months leading up to the announcement were torture! Being bound to silence is not easy! Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to be chosen on the ballot but a few of my voyage mates were so I was happy for them!
We did the worlds greatest shave on our voyage too! Some were game enough to do it, while others like myself dyed our hair! I have some great photos I wish I could share the whole album.
After my voyage I continued on with school, cadets and general work at a few different businesses around Hobart.
My apparent life story of what I've written so far ends a little sad for myself. My application to join the Navy was unsuccessful due to a bout with IBD. In the 3 months between my diagnoses and my assessment day I got glandular fever which actually cured me of my disease. Unfortunately the RAN did not trust I would not get it back (even after appealing their decision with letters from my specialist, go, cadet staff and sports coach) and so my dream of joining the Navy ended abruptly. I cried a lot, I was angry for a while and now I just have a longing for what could have been.
Sob story over, the reason why I am so desperate to sail Young Endeavour once more is not only for the complete and utter joy sailing her brings me, and not because I feel my youth slipping away and I will not be able to sail her soon, but because it's the only chance I will ever get again in my life to sail on a Royal Australian Navy ship. I'd like to say goodbye to my dream, and I really feel sailing this beautiful ship will be my very own sunset ceremony.
I'll tattoo the ship on my face if it meant getting the chance to sail her again.
If you read all of that, thanks for your time. Have a lovely day. And good luck with recruiting more ambassadors and new blood!