Hero photograph
Photo by Chris Risbridger

Spirit of Adventure Trust Youth Development Voyages

Chris Risbridger —

Over the course of the last year, four Burnside High School students have completed Spirit of Adventure voyages, and another three are schedule for the coming summer holidays.

Students interested in completing a Spirit of Adventure voyage are encouraged to check out their website www.spiritofadventure.org.nz or talk to Mr Risbridger in J8 ri@burnside.school.nz

Thomas James 

Voyage 769
6th to 15th December 2018

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on a 10 day voyage as a trainee on the Spirit of New Zealand in the summer holidays. This meant I spent ten days sailing on a tall ship between Wellington and Nelson, quite literally learning the ropes.

We learnt to sail the ship as a team, to set the sails and to strike them, at one point we had 14 sails set. There were also opportunities to rig up smaller boats so that we could go test our sailing knowledge and explore a little more of the Marlborough Sounds.

I was part of a team made up of people from different backgrounds, genders and ages. Everyone bought a different perspective to the challenges we faced, it encouraged us to think differently, to value other people’s opinions, and to work as a team. Rubber rafts don’t go far if people don’t paddle together.

There were physical challenges, like having to go for a morning swim or climb the mast, but with the encouragement of the friends you make, these are easily overcome. In reflection I think jumping off the yard swing or going over the side of the ship on a slide were real highlights.

As we were learning to relate to each other we were also being encouraged to lead by getting alongside and helping others. We learnt that everyone has different skills and that those with leadership skills are no better than those who are contributing in other ways. On the second to last day we gave the crew a rest and took over the ship, electing our own Captain Mates and Navigator. I was lucky enough to be the Navigator which meant I was in charge of ensuring the ship got from A to B and where ever else the Captain chose to take us, safely and on time.

It wasn’t all sailing though, we spent a day ashore hiking, exploring the New Zealand bush and reminding ourselves that not everything rocks from side to side. Being away from the distractions of modern technologies taught me to value the time I could spend getting to know other people and admiring our natural world. It is an experience I am now even more inspired to share.

Sailing is a wonderful way to explore New Zealand, I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to go on a Spirit of New Zealand voyage. There are a lot of generous organisations that help fund trainees. I was lucky enough to get funding from the YHA Cora Wilding Memorial Award.

Melissa Coker

Voyage 786
15th September to 5th October

I am Melissa Coker, and this year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to fly up to Auckland to participate in the Spirit of adventure 10 day voyage. The Spirit of New Zealand is a massive sailing ship which under full sail has a total of 14 sails.

My voyage was voyage #786 which travelled from Auckland to Tauranga over a 10 day period, throughout this time we were sailed to many other places one of which being Great Barrier Island. On arrival I met 38 other trainees from all over New Zealand, we were split into 4 watches in which we would be working together and completing activities in. There were about 15 crew on the boat who all had different roles which could each teach us so many new skills.

The first day we sailed to Alges Bay, this was when we started learning everything we needed to know about sailing the ship, there was so much to learn and only 10 days to complete it. Every morning after this started off with a refreshing 6:30am swim around the boat, and once you got over the freezing feeling as soon as you jumped in the water was actually pretty nice. Each day we would set up the sails at different times and sail to a new bay to anchor for the night.

Each day our watched had different jobs and different sail stations that we were working on for that day, there were heaps of other activities that we could do throughout the day as well. If the weather was fine, we were able to row to land and go for a small day walk or even just play some games on the beach, one night we rowed to a bay named smokehouse bay and had a bbq along with a campfire before rowing back to the ship under moonlight. We also had the chance to go in lugger boats which were heaps of fun as the water was rough at this time. One of my favourite parts of the trip was climbing up the rigging and stowing away the sails at night after dinner, it was amazing to climb up in the dark on a clear starry night.

The whole experience was incredible and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. We saw so much wildlife on our trips including whales, dolphins, seals and even a shark. I learnt so many new skills and made so many amazing memories with all the awesome people I met, that I will continue to keep in contact with for a long time. I am so grateful to have had the chance to experience this and am grateful for the sponsorship from ‘foodstuffs’ and ‘make it happen’ who allowed me to go on this trip. This is an amazing opportunity to grow your confidence and leadership skills. You are not allowed any contact with the outside world, no phones or other technological devices. If you are aged between 16-18 and after an adventure then Spirit of Adventure is a worthwhile and amazing experience and I would thoroughly encourage you to take up this opportunity.