July 9, 2019
This year I decided to undertake the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It is an internationally recognised Award and consists of four Sections. These Sections are: Physical Recreation, Skills, Voluntary Service and an Adventurous Journey. As I am interested in the ocean and marine biology, I decided to sail on the STS Leeuwin to complete my Adventurous Journey.
My teacher suggested that I apply for the Woodside Energy Marine Career Pathway sponsorship to assist with the cost. Within no time, I had won the sponsorship and had a place on the 19/09 Coral Coast Challenge voyage from Geraldton to Monkey Mia. The journey started with a 9-hour bus ride from Fremantle to Geraldton. In Geraldton harbour, we boarded the ship and went through all the briefings. Then we motored out and set sail. We sailed for three days to Shark Bay. The first two days were rough due to the storms in Perth but everyone got through it and it was calm on the third day. On the fourth day, we were in Shark Bay and as we sailed around the Bay, we saw a lot of marine life such as flying fish and dolphins. I leant a lot about the terminology for the sails and how they all work. I met many new people and made many friends. In the bay, it was the calmest it had been over the whole voyage. We had made good time with the windy conditions and the captain said we were going to anchor up for the night.
On the fifth day, we went ashore for a shore day in Turtle Bay. I saw a turtle swimming beside the boar in the morning and saw a baby shark on the shore. We stayed at anchor for another night and in the morning had a takeover day. This is when the trainees control the ship for a day. We had to appoint a captain, an engineer, a boson and navigators. We then had to plot a course into Monkey Mia and sail it. We made it on our own without any assistance from the crew and it was awesome fun. We anchored up in Monkey Mia for the night and in the morning, a catamaran came out to the ship, picked us up, and took us to shore where we caught a twelve-hour bus ride back to Fremantle.
Sailing on the Leeuwin was an amazing experience that taught me many new skills and enabled me to meet new people. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone and think doing The Duke of Ed Award is a worthwhile challenge.
Damien Gardiner (Year 9)
Swan Valley Anglican Community School