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Whale Bay and Captain Steve woke us gently this morning for our last full day on board. The morning swim was an assortment of belly flops, dives, backflips and flying kicks from ‘Bobby Lee’ and the rope swing. Dalton failed to skive off toilet duty by losing his round of rock, paper, scissors and the decks got their routine scrubbing. After breakfast Rob took the trainees under his wings and he tutored them in chart navigation, even getting them to plot our course for today’s events.

We heaved anchor and motored out of Whale Bay towards the Nine-Pin. The winds were not absent, but were definitely drawing short of breath. So we continued to motor along, but the seas began to grumble and hiss. The choppiness resulted in us abandoning our initial plans to snorkel and see caves at Waewaetoria Island. Slightly disappointed, but not entirely put out we changed course and made a beeline for the Black Rocks.

We arrived to easing waters and a light sprinkle of rain as well as a fresh pot of soup and hot bread from Kylie’s galley. Rob, Tyrone, Bobby and Trident headed over to a ‘secret location’ for a dive whilst those left behind baited hooks and fed the fish. Fattening them up before they catch them they reckon…. The divers returned with sacks of beautiful green-lipped mussells, but our fishermen hadn’t managed much luck. With the rain really beginning to set in we warmed ourselves with hot cocoa and set off for tonight’s anchorage at Jacks Bay.

Transit between the Black Rocks and Jacks Bay was a cold, steely grey dripping miserably. Our heartier sailors, Jessie and Trident braved the cold, wind and rain on deck being lookouts for with Rob for the Captain. Card games, snoozes, jokes and stories resonated from the saloon to the stern and back. Joined below deck by Trident and Jessie our young socialites were paddling well in a continuous stream of laughter and conversation. Eventually it came time for the VHF Exam and the contrasting silence that ensued was interrupted only by the scratching of pens, pencils and scalps.

With the exam out of the way Captain Steve began his marking process and in no time at all the saloon was alive again. The warmth from the humour as well as the roast cooking away slowly in the oven made the grey afternoon seem like a bright, mid-afternoons affair. News came from Captain Uncle Steve that our trainees had all become certified VHF radio operators and the roast that was served afterwards seemed to be the icing on the cake, until Jesse came in with his very own pear and apple crumble. Bowls of sweet, sweet crumble were laden with cream and disappeared soon after. A final goodnight lullaby was delivered, after a little coercion, by Uncle Steve and the trainees chatted themselves to sleep….. eventually.

A week at sea and our youth haven’t grown up at all, so you may still recognise them when they arrive tomorrow. They have however, grown closer and fonder of one-another. New friendships have been raised to sail strongly and existing ones sweated and tailed until there’s hardly any slack in the lines at all. With that, we’ll leave it there as I’m sure the youth can fill you in on all the gaps when they get back home tomorrow afternoon!