South Passage Daily Report

CLIENT: Redlands College


FROM: Manly  TO: Manly

DATE: Day 1, 3 October 2016  TIME: 2030 hrs

POSITION: Horseshoe Bay, Peel island

Report by: Blue Watch

The day started at Manly, where we gathered before saying goodbye to our parents and boarding the South Passage. Initially the weather looked clear and everyone was looking forward to the trip, albeit slightly nervous. Before being taken on board we were split into our watches, red, white and blue, the blue leader being Tony with Tracey, a trainee, as part of our watch. We then headed onto the ship and set up our bunks before practicing an emergency exit to return to the deck. On deck we began to learn some of the terminology of the boat and started to understand how some of the equipment on the boat worked. After a quick introduction by the skipper John Davis and a safety briefing by John Holmberg, we were off, with the experienced crew getting us out onto the bay.

Once we headed out, we were all given a position in order to assist with raising the sails. The blue watch was in charge of fore sail, which required a fair amount of man power and team work, with Tony and Tracey guiding us. Once the sail was raised we were underway, moving very quickly through the sea with the wind in our sails. However, what had seemed to be the perfect start was slightly dampened by some heavy rain which came our way, resulting in everyone being very wet and cold. Some also didn’t fair very well in the rocking of the boat, causing some sea-sickness throughout the students. The watches began and although not required most remained up on deck to avoid the nausea caused by being below. The rain continued although everyone’s mood was greatly improved by seeing some whales, which are not normally seen this far in. The presence of the animals resulted in most people realising that this was worth it and giving them something to distract them from the nausea.

The day progressed and continued raining and at 1400 the blue watch began their first shift on deck. Everyone was assigned a role to perform which came with a snazzy little tag. There were four people in charge of looking at the water and informing the person at the helm of any obstacles or issues, one lookout and one standby lookout for both the port and starboard sides. There was also a deck check, making sure the deck was clear, a person at the helm, in charge of steering the ship, and a standby helm, there to step in if the helm couldn’t do their job. Each of the jobs required specific actions to be performed, with jobs such as gibing and tacking which had to be performed by those not at the helm. These jobs required great attention to detail and often physical strength, and the people performing had to make sure they were listening to the instructions given by the watch leader. However, by far the hardest job was manning the helm. The helm had to make sure that the desired bearing was maintained and not let the ship go off course. The sensitivity of the wheel was hard to get used to but once you could do it, it was very satisfying to know that you were the one guiding the ship.

Towards the end of the day, most people’s seasickness had worn off and the rain was starting ease, showcasing the beauty of the expanses of water that surrounded us and realising the isolation we have out here. When we then began approaching Horseshoe Bay at Peel Island where we were to moor for the night. As we began to approach our final position, each of the watches was once again sent to their respective sails in order to bring them down. Bringing down the sails proved to be much easier than raising them, relying more on control than strength. Once the sails were down and we approached our final mooring position, our watch leaders, Tony and Tracey, began showing us their competitive side, preparing the blue watch for the knot tying competition before dinner. The knot tonight was round turn and two half hitches. Despite getting some practice in before dinner, the blue team did not do very well, unfortunately coming in last by one second. Despite losing the competition the day was very enjoyable and overall successful for the blue watch, hopefully this will continue for the rest of the trip.

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