I was lucky enough to participate in the life changing experience, of being a member of the youth crew for The Young Endeavour. I went on voyage 01/17 which sailed from Adelaide to Stanley, Tasmania. The duration of the trip started on the 02th of January 2017, and came to a close on the 12th of January 2017. It was the most amazing experience of my life.

When I first heard about the Young Endeavour through school I was unsure as to what it was all about or what to expect if I applied. I had been out on small yachts before, but never really had in interest in sailing. Even so I entered into the ballot, certainly not expecting to win at all. In the past I had entered a lot of different things, but never got through so my hopes weren’t very high. The first ballot was drawn and they told me that I didn’t get a spot. At the time, I wasn’t really surprised as I haven’t ever been chosen for anything like this. The second ballot was drawn a week later and when I got the email to say that my name was drawn I was surprised, over the moon and in shock all at the same time, it was surreal. When I told my parents, they were eager for me to go and said it would be an amazing experience.

As the acceptance date got closer, my nerves grew and I started to have doubts as I had never been away from home for a long period of time with people I have never met. I had no experience of sailing in open sea before and I knew that when I did go out in smaller boats, I experienced sea sickness. However I put my nerves aside and accepted. Soon enough I found myself counting down the days until I would be on the plane flying down to Adelaide.

As my usual self, I turned up to the port late and found that everyone apart from 2 other people had turned up. Not long after I arrived we were taken to see the ship. I remember being very nervous as we walked over to it because I still had no idea what to expect. When we first seen the ship we were all in awe. I started talking to 2 people in the group and we soon become good friends. The night we spent alongside the wharf which I was very grateful for because I did not want to be getting sick on the first night. The first night we were given the challenge of climbing aloft and sitting out on the yards. We all achieved this, though it was absolutely freezing at the top.

For the next few days we sailed and we started the overnight watches. It was certainly interesting waking the next watch up. There was always different responses, sometimes they just didn’t wake up at all, sometimes they woke up with the first shake. I’m guilty of being hard to wake up, I once was literally pulled by my feet from my sleeping bag because I wasn’t waking up. Apparently I had been woken up 3 times before that which I certainly did not remember.

Thankfully on the first day out at sea I didn’t get sea sick. Some people were already starting to feel sick and I was glad that I hadn’t, yet. That soon changed as night time approached and for the next three days I was with one of the girls I had become friends with, along with a couple of the other youth crew up on top deck day and night hanging over the side of the ship or sleeping when we could. The sea was pretty rough the first few days and gradually more and more people were joining us up on the top deck. The wind made the ship rock, which in turn made the sea sickness worse and overnight, it was absolutely freezing. During the day time the sun was out and I made sure to sleep under it which I soon regretted doing because I ended up with some bad sunburn. The tan lines I ended up with didn’t disappear until after I returned home.

After three long days we arrived in Robe on the coast of South Australia and we were finally able to go onto dry land, which felt like such a relief. We got of the ship into a smaller boat which took us into the beach. As we arrived, we were still a couple of feet from the sand, so we had to get out in the water and walk in, I, being my clumsy self, fell out of the boat and everything was completely wet. I tried to run to shore and I tripped and I was back in the water again. Since I had already been in the water I decided to go for a swim. The ocean was flat, which I and the others were thankful for. There was a platform a little way out and a few of us swam out to it. After our swim we walked into town and bought ice-cream. That was the first thing I had eaten in 2 days! It felt so good to be able to keep food down for a change. After realising I could keep food down, I went a little bit over board on eating chocolate and lollies, which ended up giving me a stomach ache. After a few hours we made our way to the wharf which was where we were getting picked up from, which I was thankful for as I didn’t want a repeat of the morning. Once we were back on board Young Endeavour a long shower was badly needed. Once we had all showered and cleaned ourselves up, we went up on top deck and participated in a few activities and had a BBQ.

The next morning, we said goodbye to Robe and we set sail for King’s Island which was our next stop! I couldn’t wait! For the next few days we sailed, rotated watches, and enjoyed Martins lessons on sailing. The one that stuck with me was the rules of the ocean. What different buoys meant and the lights for the different ships and boats. I found that very interesting.

After a few days sailing we finally arrived at King Island and anchored. We went into land and spent the day on the island being guided around on tours and seeing the icons of the island. We went to the famous cheese shop and done cheese tasting. I certainly ate way too much cheese. We walked along parts of the coast line and visited an art gallery. Our bus driver told us about the history of the island as we drove from one place to another. Of course, our last stop on the island was the General Food store. We stocked up on lollies and chocolate for the next few days at sea.

Once we got back on the ship, we all gathered in the café area to elect the captain, watch leaders, navigator, chefs, etc. for command day which was the following day.

The next morning we went to the beach on King Island. We played a soccer game, which was girls against boys. Though half way through I had to recruit more girls to the girl’s team because the boys were thrashing us, I’m pretty sure they were cheating though. After that we built sand replicas of Young Endeavour. All of them looked really cool and quite funny. Everybody had some pretty interesting ideas.

Once we got back on the ship we had to start command day which was when the youth crew took over the ship for 24 hours! That was pretty fun, scary as well, but fun none the less. The crew gave us a list of set tasks and we had to try and complete as many as we possibly could in 24 hours. We did succeed at completing most the task’s given by working together. One of the task was to build a rope hammock that would hold the entire youth crew, which was 22 people. The planning and process was long but somehow we managed to get it done, it was very funny.

We left King Island for our next and sadly last destination Stanley in the north of Tasmania. The youth crew sailed overnight and I was on watch at 4 in the morning when we spotted Stanley in the distance! This was extremely exciting but also saddening because it meant that our trip was coming to an end. When we arrived at Stanley later that morning we anchored just off the coast and took a smaller boat to the wharf. We climbed The Nut which is one of the things Stanley is known for. There was 4 youth including myself and one of the staff members who decided to run up the steep track. I certainly didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was but it was the perfect challenge to finish the voyage with. We had a whole youth crew photo at the top of The Nut at the lookout with the Young Endeavour in the back ground. We also had the entire youth crew join in and do the Nutbush at the lookout which attracted locals and other tourist attention. We then had a shop around Stanley and bought lots and lots of food for the last 2 nights on the ship.

That night we had a presentation that one of the girls and I put together. We included photos from everyone on the voyage. As stressful as it was to make, it was well worth it. One of the boys had written a poem with some help from another boy and he presented that to the youth crew and staff after the presentation. It had the whole group laughing. On the second to last night, there 4 youth crew members who decided to sleep on the top deck, though it started to rain at 2 in the morning so we had to pack up and go down below. For the last 2 nights we just had 1 hour watches with 1 or 2 other people instead of the whole watch which was always much better than the 4 hour watches. We done the rounds and then chatted while waiting to go and wake the next people to go on watch.

For our second to last day on the ship, we had a chance to play a few games on the boat, talk about how command day went, and to just relax. Some people started packing so they had a head start and weren’t rushing the next morning. Just after lunch we all went back into Stanley and separated into our watch groups. We then found somewhere nice to sit and had a chat about what we learnt on the trip, what we enjoyed, what we didn’t and if we achieved any goals. After that was finished we had a chance to spend an hour walking around Stanley and doing what we wanted to do.

On the last night we had 7 of the youth crew that decided to have a “sleepover” on the top deck. So we all got our sleeping bags and pillow together and wedged ourselves together. The next morning Horto played the usually Jonny Cash alarm VERY loud over the speaker, it certainly did its job of waking us all up! Once we were out of bed, awake, refreshed and ready we finished packing our bags and met on the top deck. The whole youth crew did one final climb aloft as we pulled up and docked at the wharf. Once everything was safe we were able to bring family and friends on board and give them a tour of the ship before presentations and last photos. We all said a very sad and tearful goodbye to all the friends we had made on Young Endeavour before the transport bus departed for Devonport.

I had a fantastic time on Young Endeavour and I know others who had been on other voyages around Australia have said they have had amazing experiences. I met so many new people who came from very different backgrounds and from all walks of life. I am so glad that in the end I chose to do it despite my worries and fears because if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have known what I was missing out on. I have made lots of new friends and treasured memories that I will remember for life. 

Kate Johnstone