The wake up tune happened at 0630 today and the morning activity was a quick competitive game to get minds and bodies going. After breakfast it was the final morning brief at which we heard from Salty who explained the naval traditions of the expressions 2 – 6 Heave! and ‘Manning the Yards’.
The tall ship tradition of manning the yards is based on a practice of Warships of the 18 century. When such a ship entered a port, other than their home port, as a sign that their visit was a peaceful one fired a shot from each of their guns to prove that they were unloaded and then their gun crews were sent aloft to show that they were unable to fire upon the town.
We departed the Fitzroy Street wharf at 0925 and berthed at 1000 on the Queen’s wharf, where friends and families had gathered to welcome us. As we approached the wharf we noticed a ‘Happy Birthday Lachlan’ sign on display, which was directed at Youthie Lachlan Cooper who had his 17th birthday today. Once we had secured the Ship to the wharf, after what was a challenging alongside in the windy conditions, we welcomed the friends and families onboard. When the youthies were down from aloft we allowed those with families to give them a tour of the Ship, their home for the last 11 days.
At 1045 Sail Master Evan invited everyone to gather at midships. Evan spoke about our adventures during the voyage. I then welcomed our VIP guest, Councillor Carol Duncan made a short speech welcoming us to Newcastle, on behalf of the Mayor of Newcastle, recognising the traditional owners of the land and giving is some history of the traditional owners’ early usage of the land. I then presented the youth crew with their voyage completion certificates. On completion of the presentations we took some group photos of the crew and then said our final farewells to the 24 fantastic members of the youth crew of Voyage 13/17.
To all those families and friends who have been following the voyage online, it has been a pleasure. If the youth crew member you know would recommend the voyage to others then please encourage her/him to do so. We find the best advertising for the scheme is word of mouth and we aim to maximise the opportunities for young Australians to experience their National Sail Training Ship first hand.