Published on: 6 June 2014

The final voyage of Year 8 boys returned home from their adventure aboard the STS Leeuwin II last week. This year’s cohort, weathered some storms, overcame seasickness, climbed masts and furled sails, stood night watch rotations, worked as teams, and embraced all aspects of life onboard the majestic working ship.

The partnership between Christ Church and the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, now in its fourth year, allows every Year 8 student to spend six days in the World Heritage Site of Shark Bay. The boys are among the youngest to sail on the training ship and Christ Church is the only WA school to include the sailing experience as part of its compulsory Outdoor Education program.

Leeuwin CEO Anne-Marie Archer
 said the Leeuwin’s Youth Explorer Program had been specially modified to suit the age and physical capacity of the participants. “Choosing the sheltered waters of the Shark Bay region has proved very successful, providing the captain with plenty of safe options to shelter the ship, in case the weather presents some challenges,” she said.

Ms Archer
 said feedback from the crew this year had been nothing but praise – for the boys’ willingness to engage in all aspects of the experience, and to take on the challenges presented to deliver on the program’s outcomes.

“Although some boys may have left home with a little trepidation as to what they would experience, we are confident they have returned home a little more intrepid for the experience,” she said. “There will no doubt be many tales back at school of their great adventure and for many years to come.”

Director of Kooringal Dave Anderson said the Year 8 Leeuwin Adventure gave Christ Church boys a fantastic experience in a completely new environment. “All the underlying themes of our Outdoor Education program are paramount, and the ability for the boys to experience these and participate in the Leeuwin program provides a truly unique perspective,” he said.

Mr Anderson described it as an intersecting journey. “You see the anticipation and fear of the unknown on the bus to Monkey Mia, and then watch the boys reflect on the challenges and successes on the journey home,” he said.

“Just the growth in the individuals, in such a short amount of time, is great to see and to do it in a world-class setting is a once in a life time opportunity.”