The Cairns RSL Sub Branch recommenced its 11 day Youth Development STS Young Endeavour Scholarship, worth $3,000 this year. William Weston from Redlynch State College was selected to receive the 2023 Scholarship. William embarked on a life-changing 11-day journey – learning not only how to sail a square-rigged tall ship, but how to lead, support others and work together as a team.
William has documented his trip and shared his experience and adventures with us. Please read about his amazing trip below.
STS Young Endeavour voyage 13/23
Voyage Diary by William Weston
Ahoy there land lovers,
My name is Will, and in July of 2023, I was fortunate enough to receive a Scholarship to join the STS Young Endeavour from the Cairns RSL Sub Branch. Originally my thoughts were “I don’t want to go on a boat for 10 days?” or “What if I fall off the boat” and things like “I don’t wanna be stuck with 10 people I don’t know for 11 days!” and oh boy, the second I stood on that ship, all those thoughts went straight overboard.
Day one started off as a meet and greet at the Trinity Wharf in Cairns. We got taken to the boat and there we met all the staff and Youthies that accompanied me on my 11-day voyage. We started our sailing journey by sailing south out of the Cairns harbour. We got put into our watches (Red Dogs on top) and sailed to Fitzroy Island where we settled for the night and had our first meal together.
We started day two with the song “Kung-Fu Sailing” performed by our sails master Dion (He should definitely get that produced) and went for our first climbs of the voyage. I was very confident until I got to the second top of the main mast. We then got taken around the ship by our watch leaders and learned each part of the ship, how they work, what they do, and why we need them. We also got to know our watches a bit more by going through our voyage goals, dos and donts. During the night we had our first watch of the voyage. Sadly but also happily we had the guts watch (11:45pm-3:45am) and after the watch was over I proceeded to have the best 2 hour sleep of my life.
Day 3 came to a start with me climbing the main shaft for the first time, having to untie gaskets from around the main sail. We also had our first round of ‘Ropes’ which Red Watch obviously dominated, and proceeded to find out that big waves are very scary sometimes (I got used to them eventually).
Day 4 was probably one of the best days out of the 11, we anchored at Magnetic Island where we got to do an activity called 3-way talks which helps us get to know more of the Youthies that weren’t in our watches. I was paired with Fynn-Layla and Ava, who were both very friendly and interesting to get to know. We ended off day 4 with a climb to watch the sunset with blue-watch (I may or may not have volunteered myself to do it) and then had the literal best honey soy chicken and rice for dinner I have ever had (thank you Ash (cook)).
Day 5 with a great sleep, we woke up to the beautiful Magnetic Island view and had a game of evolution (I am great at games), we had a BBQ lunch and a party on the boat! Loved how everyone got involved! Also did the scariest thing of my life ever when I had to untie gaskets again but on the square sail shafts this time (I’m too tall for it) and started sailing north with no engines and just the sails which made me really proud of all theYouthie’s for setting up!
Day 6 we finally got to touch the land after 5 days of sailing. We anchored at Orpheious Island where there was a JCU Reef Research Lab. We got a tour of the campus and learnt a lot about what kind of studies people can do within the reefs. Aboard the Young Endeavour again, the red watch went for a late afternoon climb and then set sail once again, with red dogs sadly having guts watch.
Day 7 consisted of Captain checks, lots of ropes practice and preparation for Command Day. Red watch played a game where we had to work as a team to get a buoy over the topgallant main sail without it touching the deck and we did it in 30 minutes without any disagreements, which I was very impressed by! We then voted in on what roles we wanted for Command Day (I chose chef) and then ended the night with a movie called “Around the Cape Horn” which was about sailing on one of the biggest sail ships back in 1929.
Command Day was day 8 (Well it started at 0100) and the day started off great with me seeing a shooting star while sitting on the deck watching the sunrise. I spent most of the day downstairs in the Galley cooking and preparing and ended up cooking chicken parmies for everyone, and when Captain Libby told me she loved them, I think I almost cried! We also went ashore to Dunk Island which is located near Mission Beach.
Day 9 was the second half of Command Day where I had to wake up at 5am. I cooked breakfast and lunch for everyone, we had a wrap bar with a Rapper theme. We also made scones mainly cause Shaun wouldn’t stop asking (he had a good point) and then handed the ship back to the staff at 1300. We ported back in Cairns Harbour and had a BBQ dinner, where we got briefed about day 10 and how it was going to work.
Day 10 was great! We had a Community Day where people from the Endeavour Foundation and Craig from the Cairns RSL Sub Branch came aboard and we got to give them a tour and look around the magnificent STS Young Endeavour that we had been sailing for the last 10 days. We then ended our voyage with lots of singing, dancing, crying, and a slideshow of our time onboard.
The Young Endeavour experience is something that I 100% encourage everyone to try out! It was an amazing experience that taught me some life lessons, some things about meeting new people, making new friends, experiences, and teaching myself that I can push myself past my limit and I can Expand My Horizons. I thank every Youthie and Staffie that accompanied me and I hope you guys enjoyed the voyage as much as I did!
Thank you to the Cairns RSL Sub Branch for the opportunity of a life time.