Regatta ship blogs: Ahoy there and wake up swimming

21 October 2013

Regatta ship blogs: Ahoy there and wake up swimming
Sydney Auckland Regatta 2013

Crew 'Youthies blog' from Young Endeavour (Australia)

Saturday 19 October: Ahoy there! 

It was dawn when we sailed through the channel on our way into the port of Opua. With the rising sun to the east and a full moon sitting just above the mountainous horizon to the west, it was the perfect beginning to a day promising to be full of fresh experiences. 

Although we were not able to sail by the power of wind the whole way to the finish line, a sense of accomplishment and pride swept through the crew. We had just succeeded in crossing the Tasman Sea, something that many of our peers will never have the opportunity to do. Along with this came the realisation that a part of our voyage had come to an end. Normally at this point we would be disembarking and saying our goodbyes to the crew, other 'Youthies' and the Endeavour herself. However this is the just beginning of our six days of exploration of the New Zealand’s North East Coast.

Local welcome
There were many locals ready to welcome us ashore with friendly smiles and wonder in their eyes. However our new adventures had to wait. Once we were moored alongside the port we were boarded by customs officers. With Border Patrol TV filming crew in tow, customs went about their quarantine and immigration checks. The Kiwis were tough with there quarantine standards, removing all our chicken, all our fresh produce including honey and the lunch, and dinners, that had been prepared for the day that morning by our chef Luke. Upon clearance from customs the 'Youthies' were allowed to disembark for shore leave.

We embraced dry land like it was an old friend; however many of us had become estranged to its unmoving nature. Some were even overcome with joy at the concept of space and began to run around embracing their new found freedom, while others found it to be foreign and huddled around a small table at a local café to enjoy a real coffee. Along with land came the opportunity to contact loved ones which saw most conversing and others simply leaving voicemails to unattended phones.

Soon enough we were back aboard and a short commute later dropped anchor at Russell. We eagerly prepared to go ashore for a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony we had been invited to take part in. In the small but proud town we were welcomed by a representative of the people who lead us through the streets toward ever louder chanting. The three captains of Europa, Spirit of New Zealand and Young Endeavour were given peace offerings by large, tattooed, club wielding men, whilst they performed their ceremonial war dances. After walking through a column of Maori warriors we were presented with an official welcome, with ceremonial speech, singing (from both the local Moari and boat crews) and of course Haka. After the formal proceeding we enjoyed an array of food that had been made for us and took the opportunity to mingle with the locals and other boat crews.

The evening saw us return to our vessel, to enjoy our first teak deck BBQ a fond memory for all Young Endeavour crew. In the dwindling light the staff assembled the projector and we all settled in to watch “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Even though most fell asleep during the movie, it was fitting to be watching a pirate movie while aboard a Tall Ship.

Crew log from Young Endeavour (Australia)

Saturday 19 October: Wake up swimming

As we were at anchor for the night there was a change of watch roster. Watches were now only one hour in length with rounds every half hour, unlike the normal four. This meant a very welcome good nights sleep for all.

We awoke to the sight of Russell and Paihai towns, with the ferries and watercraft starting to go about their business. Plans were afoot to sail in company with Spirit of New Zealand to Robinsons Island but first at reveille (0630) it was time for a swim to waken us up. The swing was rigged and off they went - the first in let out a squeal and then told a fib, 'it's lovely in here'.  Everyone followed, some to curse, others to swim energetically to the ladder. The reason?  The water temperature is 15c, not exactly tropical. 

Then up anchor and off to Robinsons Island, a beautiful cove in the Bay of Islands archipelago. The crew of Spirit of New Zealand and Young Endeavour mixed and went off on walks to the lookout station or just played sports on the superb beach.

Then it was up anchor and a couple of hours sail to the Whangimumu whaling station, a very sheltered anchorage just under Cape Brett. Preparations for the evening concert were well underway and invitations made to Spirit of New Zealand and Tecla, who had just crept in and anchored close inshore. The concert was an impromptu show and lasted nearly two hours with the staffies, guests and each watch giving a turn. Spirits crew joined in and many new friendships were started.  Crew exchanged day tomorrow, more of that to come. 

- ends -

For more information contact Sally Titmus, Communications and Marketing Manager, Sail Training International, Charles House, Gosport Marina, Mumby Road, Gosport, Hampshire, UK  PO12 1AH  

Tel: +44 (0) 23 9258 6367   Email: sally.titmus@sailtraininginternational.org

Editor’s notes:

What is sail training?
Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.

About Sail Training International (STI)
STI is the international voice of Sail Training, a registered charity (not-for-profit organisation), which has worldwide membership and activities. Its purpose is the development and education of young people through the Sail Training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. It organises the annual Tall Ship Races and other international Tall Ship sailing events. STI members are 29 national Sail Training organisations around the world and STI’s head office is in Gosport, Hampshire, UK.

The organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for its work in promoting international understanding and friendship.



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