I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in the 1813 voyage aboard the STS Leeuwin II. The ship departed on then 28th of September and returned on the 4th of October. I received a scholarship from Woodside and also received financial support of $200 from both the school and also the Rotary Club of Rockingham.

I was nervous entering the experience as I had no knowledge of sailing or ships in general. Thankfully the crew on board the Leeuwin helped me feel welcome and helped me learn lots about the ship. From the first day we were having hands on experiences, from pulling lines to learning proper terminology for sailing equipment. For example, we would be the ones that climbed the mast and untied ropes so that we could set the sails. We also had rotations within our groups where we learned about advanced line handling, advanced sail knowledge and also navigation.

Some of my personal highlights include the food, friends and climbing. On board, the crew and us trainees were fed very well with thanks to the chef who made us pizzas, roast dinners, fish & chips and butter chicken curry. I got to spend lots of time with the people on board the ship and I made some really good friends that I still talk to and will continue to. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the thrill of climbing up the masts on the ship. I enjoyed the view of the Perth coast and the wide blue Indian Ocean, seeing whales swim past and feeling the breeze through my hair, I even climbed to the very top of the main mast and read the secret message that is up there.

I made memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life, as well as the friends and life skills I gained from the voyage. I would highly recommend this voyage experience to anyone that wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone and into a situation that is unlike any other.

Conan John