Currently at a mooring at Cannakale and enjoying light and variable winds with nil swell, current temperature is 12 degrees.
Welcome to day 19 of our voyage. Tonight writing the Captains Log is our wonderful Doctor Tenille who has taken such good care of all of us during the 4 months that we have been away. Sadly Tenille’s time onboard is coming to an end as she leaves the Ship at the end of Voyage 3 and heads back to another Navy job. I can speak on behalf of all the Staff when I say she will be greatly missed as we have loved every minute that she has been onboard.
Please enjoy tonight’s edition of Captain’s Log wonderfully written by our loveable Doctor Tenille.
Until tomorrow, take care
Hello and welcome to day 19 of Voyage 3, day 123 for me. Tonight my esteemed captain has allowed me the privilege of writing the Captain’s Log. This is usually done by World Voyagers, but tonight you’ll gain a small insight into life on board Young Endeavour from a staff crew perspective…or rather, the ship’s doctor’s perspective.
This morning we woke to a cold, grey, drizzly day sailing through the Dardanelles, past Gallipoli Point to our mooring point off Cannakale. We spent the day hard at work making the ship presentable for the upcoming ANZAC commitments. After a thorough Happy Hour the seasoned tall ship sailors who joined us in Cadiz - the World Voyagers - lay aloft the foremast to harbour furl the square sails. The sail allocated to each watch was decided by the end result of rope races after one final heated round. Congratulations to Blue Watch on placing a close first!
Being so close to Gallipoli and only days from the 100th anniversary of ANZAC has cast a reflective air across Young Endeavour since our arrival this morning. Many of the World Voyagers have personal connections to ANZAC, and having the opportunity to experience where it all began
I think for many is still intangible. I am sure that in the days to come there will evolve many moments of realisation that the sacrifice made here so many years ago has allowed us so many freedoms, and the true importance of the contribution made by our servicemen and women over the years. As a Royal Australian Navy officer this is particularly poignant for me…as it is with the other Navy staff onboard. But for me this is not only a place to reflect on our military history and how my personal contribution can hope to do justice to the uniform I wear, but it also represents the end of a life-changing personal journey: my part of the Young Endeavour world voyage.
My voyage started many months ago I was at a group dinner and had a chance encounter with a lovely guy called Matt who started telling us all about his job as Training Officer on the Young Endeavour, and how they were about to do this amazing trip around the world. I responded with ‘Wow, that’s awesome, I want to come!’ to which he replied: ‘Well we need a doctor, you should come.’
Six months later here I am, having sailed from Sydney to Wellington, around Cape Horn, to Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, Rio for Carnivale, crossed the equator, on to the Cape Verde Islands, the Canary Islands and Spain, through the Strait of Gibraltar, driven the ship through the Messina Strait between Italy and Sicily and part of the Corinth Canal in Greece, and now sailing towards Gallipoli for the 100th anniversary of ANZAC. I’ve climbed to the t’gallant yard in 45 knot winds (twice), got my Masterchef on in the galley, learnt to navigate (they call me the navidoctor), swam in the Atlantic Ocean, rolled the ship to 50 degrees in the Southern Ocean, acquired some excellent bosunry skills and seen a blue whale. And I’ve done all of this with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. I joined the Navy during medical school because I thought it would be an adventure, but sailing a brigantine half way around the world was certainly not what I had anticipated!
I joined the ship for the World Voyage technically as the doctor, but realistically as the full-time watch leader and part-time assistant chef, assistant navigator, helmsman, apprentice bosun and Christmas reindeer. Thankfully my well-honed medical skills have been in short demand for World Voyagers. Less so for staff who have provided me with a decent amount of suturing practice (Lindsey, Shaun and Aaron you are welcome). It has been a steep but fantastic learning curve from the day we sailed and will be until the day I leave.
Being on this ship for 123 days has had its moments, but at the end of the day I stand on the fo’c’sle watching another brilliant sunset on the horizon with the cool sea breeze on my face, reflecting on what being a staff member on Young Endeavour means, and reaffirm to myself that I have the best job in the navy. We not only get to sail this beautiful ship to amazing places, but we get to do so with some of the most remarkable, enthusiastic, loveable humans I have ever met – the Youth of Australia. For us, facilitating 24 eager individuals on their journey through weeks on the ship learning about sailing, each other, and most importantly themselves, is rewarding beyond description.
Incredible as our job is, it can be challenging for us as staff. Most of us have been on board since the ship sailed from Sydney with very little respite after months of preparation. The long days keeping watches, doing our own work in between, planning, debriefs, meetings and battling the elements, cold and fatigue with very little down time, as well as being away from loved ones for many months, can become physically and emotionally draining at times. The World Voyagers sometimes seem to think that we are superhuman, but we too feel the seasickness, the homesickness and the cold, the frustration of having everything in our cupboards rearranged with every tack and the daily personal debates regarding whether to drink the last can of Coke now or save it until tomorrow. We have all left behind husbands, wives, fiancés, families, offspring and pets (I love you Moo) for periods of between 4 and 12 months, and to them we are eternally thankful for your unwavering support. Please know, loved ones, that we are being looked after and loved by our new shipmates, as the lovely Sian eloquently stated in her final Captain’s Log on Voyage 2. So, World Voyagers, we do sympathise with the daily battles faced by all on board, but after four months we have all learnt that sometimes when you are thrown across the staff mess onto the Captain’s lap, you just have to laugh and appreciate the fact that both of your brews are still intact.
Despite the occasional frustration the wonderful people I work with never fail to keep smiling and pouring every ounce of energy they have into their work. This ship is beautiful and powerful and magical, but it’s the staff who really make it. I have the honour of working with some of the most dedicated, passionate, professional, skilled and all around incredible people the Navy has to offer, and they are all here for a reason. They all care deeply about youth development, and about making this experience the very best it can be for every one of the individuals that sails with us. Without every one of them, this world voyage would not be what it is. To individually mention each of my amazing colleagues would require typing space that I’m not afforded by this log, but suffice to say that each and every one of them have become like family and many will remain my very dear friends (Sisterhood forever x). Thank you, all of you.
For me one of the biggest challenges, but also one of the most enjoyable, worthwhile experiences of my life, was my role as White Watch Leader on Voyage 2. I stepped onto this ship on December 22 with exactly two sailing experiences under my belt, both on my old Cairns housemate’s 18 foot hoby cat, Mr Tint. On our first voyage we lost both rudders, employed Serge (said housemate) as the rudder, and ended up stranded at night on a deserted beach. Our second voyage on Mr Tint resulted in a rescue from the Careflight Helicopter after 4 hours in the ocean 3 miles out to sea. So here I was 2 months into the world voyage not only having learnt how to sail a tall ship, but being trusted with teaching a watch of eight incredible individuals with such wonderful and varied life experiences, half of them older than my 26 year old self, how to sail her as well. In Captain Gav’s defence, he was unaware of my sailing resume when detailing me to this position.
Watch leading is one of the most excellent jobs I’ve ever had. For 46 days I spent 8-12 hours plus per day with my watch explaining the ins and outs of sail handling, ropework, navigation and seamanship, how to keep the ship safe by conducting hourly rounds and keeping lookouts, climbing to cast loose gaskets or sea furl or just to watch the sunset together, having deep intelligent conversations (some) or talking rubbish (many). My lovely watch spent 46 days learning things about themselves that they perhaps never would have without this experience, which is sort of what Young Endeavour is all about, but what I don’t think they realised is that it was as much a learning and growing experience for me as it was for each of them. What an honour, to be put in a position to facilitate the enthusiasm in others. These eight people had a huge, very positive impact on my life in a lot of ways, and for this I will always be infinitely grateful. Thank you, White Watch, from the bottom of my salty heart. Life is always about challenging ourselves and discovering new things, no matter what our role or position or our previous experiences. We can always learn something new and occasionally surprise ourselves.
Sadly, I will leave the ship in a few days in Canakkale and return home to prepare for my next deployment on HMAS Melbourne. I fear I will have to re-learn how to be in the real Navy instead of the Young Endeavour Navy where shoes are optional, the Captain folds my washing and my uniform is a delightful mix of sea boots, tights, shorts, beanie and polo shirt.
So here I depart the magnificent entity that is Young Endeavour, but not without a lifetime of memories, experiences and personal growth acquired over just a few short months and an unmoveable determination for this not to be the last the old girl will see of me. I’ve always thought that the ship is not only the hull and the deck and the masts and the sails that make her, but the energy left behind by everyone who has had the privilege of being part of her crew. When I leave, I leave behind a small piece of me, just as a small part of her will remain always a part of who I am. I only hope that the World Voyagers who have sailed with us so far, and will sail with Young Endeavour in the future, will look back with such fondness.
I will leave you with one of my favourite poems, The Winds of Fate, which very much reflects what the Young Endeavour experience, for me, is all about.
One ship drives east and another drives west,
on the selfsame winds that blow,
tis the set of the sails and not the gales
which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the seas are the ways of fate
as we voyage along through life,
tis the set of the soul that decides its goal
and not the calm nor the strife.
And another of my favourites.
“Are you a doctor who sails, or a sailor who does doctoring sometimes?
I think you are a sailor who does doctoring sometimes.” – Mac.
The sailor who does doctoring sometimes.