The Young Endeavour is a life changing, 11 day voyage that teaches youth to overcome their fears and step out of their comfort zone. 

I found out about the Young Endeavour through Australian Navy Cadets which I had been part of for the past two years, and I was sponsored by Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch who offered me a berth onboard. When I was told I was being given the opportunity to sail onboard the Young Endeavour I knew it would be something worth waiting for. 

My original voyage was scheduled for mid 2020 but ended up being delayed due to Covid, giving me even longer to prepare. V01/21 (February 2021) was the first trip after the Covid lockdown and boy oh boy were we ready to go. 

The voyage was an amazing experience for both the youth, who had been waiting to sail for months, and the staff, who hadn’t seen anyone under 24 on the ship for far too long. 

On the first day we got assigned our watches (go red watch) and met the people who we’d be spending the next week and a half getting to know. In our watches we talked about our biggest fears and what we wanted to accomplish throughout our voyage; I told the group that I was terrified of heights and by the end of the voyage wanted to be able to climb aloft. On the second day we climbed aloft for the first time and with the encouragement from the staff and youthies I climbed the whole 33m to the best view I’ve ever seen. 

Throughout our time on the Young Endeavour we learnt everything we would need to know in order to sail on our own in preparation for command day, including the happy hour song. 

Despite the rain during our voyage, we managed to still do everything we’d planned to do, including watching the sunrise at Nelson Bay, minus the sun. It was one of my favourite moments on the Young Endeavour, being able to sit and laugh with everyone in the pouring rain about how our only goal was to watch the sunrise, yet there was no sun. 

As we sailed we saw dolphins swimming alongside us and swam every chance we got, whether it was at beaches or swinging off the side of the ship. We rode the waves while on the bowsprit and climbed aloft whenever there was a good view, which was everyday. 

One of our overnight stops was at Jerusalem Bay which had one of the most beautiful landscapes we’d ever seen, with cicadas singing and jellyfish covering the water. The water was calm and we were able to take some of the best photos of the voyage there. 

On command day we were given a list of activities and we had to complete as many as we could before the end of the 24 hours. We drew a mural for our voyage on the deck in chalk, attempted to build a hammock out of string that would hold all the youthies, sailed the boat to our next destination and so much more. 

It’s an experience that I’ll forever cherish and continue to recommend the program to friends and family. What you learn while onboard the Young Endeavour is skills and experiences you couldn’t get anywhere else. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m so thankful I got to experience. 

 

The first day we were 16 strangers, but by the end we were a family. 

 

Samantha Howard