Right, so a bunch of air cadets from different parts of the country on a sea cadet ship for a whole week, what could possibly go wrong?
After learning the new Navy drill and having the brief Saturday morning we got on a coach from RAF Uxbridge to Portsmouth where we boarded the T.S Royalist. I was expecting to see an average sized boat, but it was much better, it was a massive ship, which resembled a pirate ship to me! After a quick hello to the crew it was straight up the masts to get the sails out and learn what we need to know to sail.
Sunday soon approached and we had to take three naval personnel out to show them what we learnt from sailing around Portsmouth we then dropped them back on land and set sail for Jersey. We had already been warned that the channel crossing can be rough, it took its toll on about 20 out of 24 cadets me being one of them and we saw our tea again, and we were then told it was ‘was one of the bad ones'. The cadets were split into 4 groups called watches and my watch had the first night's watch until midnight. I can safely say it was the only part of the week I just wanted to go to bed.
When I got up on Monday morning it was still very dark, I felt a lot better and we got on with work before breakfast. We arrived in Jersey where we had a look around and a quick shower so we could rush back to have dinner, clean the ship and then had another quick look at the island at night. We then set sail for Guernsey.
Arriving in Guernsey at about 0800 Tuesday we had a look around and a quick shop to stock up on essentials like chocolate and sweets we then were told we could make it to a remote beach on route to Alderney if we caught the tide. I can honestly say that this beach hosted the best view I could ever have imagined. As the beach seemed so remote we decided to have a wander about on to the green land surrounding it where we come across a war memorial for a British solider from WWII where we all paid our respects with a minute's silence.
Tuesday night we where put under sea cadet exercises called “evolutions” which consisted of a situation set and assessed by the staff. Our exercise was to evacuate the casualty from the ship via air support. After that we where in our groups to be on anchor watch which was a 2 hour shift in the middle of the night to look out for ships around us and making sure we do not hit them as we learnt at anchor we still move around in a massive circle.
Wednesday we left Alderney for the final destination before home, which was Cowes. It was a very small place with a few sailing shops. But the views again where astounding.
Homeward bound on Thursday but before we docked we all had a go at using the ships emergency engines, we were told that no cadets had ever been given the chance to use them with such a small amount of supervision and we impressed the staff. Also we where left alone to figure out how to put up the storm sails. It was mind boggling to say the least but we got there in the end. After coming back manning the masts and saluting a navy ship we cleaned our station and packed our bags ready to get up and go in the morning.
During the week we had been given oral exams to test our knowledge in order to try to gain a qualification. We were told that we would all get level 1 apart from a couple at the start of the week but on Friday morning everyone apart from two people gained the level 2 award which would have cost £300 if taken privately, the other two people gained an even higher award. The qualification I gained is called: PSA (practical sailing course) competent crew, off shore hand level 2.
This course will be used as evidence for my BTEC in public services and could have been used as my residential section for my duke of Edinburgh gold as did many people on the course.
So for only £100 I got a week that I will always remember, witnessed some amazing views, and got a qualification that would have cost £300 and am now well on my way for duke of Edinburgh gold award and my BTEC in public services! It was definitely money well spent!
More photographs from T S Royalist