7AM was a loud, jangling bell wielded merrily by Captain Steve. Moans and groans ensued when our trainees realised the stories were true and the crew weren’t lying when they said 7AM was swim time. Unable to beg or plead their way out of the swim, it was into the bay, back up the ladder and under the warm shower for the trainees. Having made it through the worst of the daily grind our duty groups were formed, sent to their stations amongst the ship and introduced to buckets, brooms, mops and Brass-o. The fog refused to relinquish its hold on the land to our south, but the galley and cook were kind enough to share a breakfast of fruit salad, toast and mince on toast. With our stomachs full and fueled for the day breakfast chores were completed and our trainees settled in the saloon for another lesson on VHF radio.

With time to spare during the morning lessons, Steve and Kylie leaped into their wetsuits and jumped at the opportunity for a morning dive. Our eleven young apprentices earned themselves a quick break that consisted of a short sunbake accompanied by hot chocolate and marshmallows. With their mugs empty and workbooks yet to be filled, it was back to the saloon for our youngsters. Pens scratched onwards as the morning swells rocked gently and soon enough our earlybird divers returned to a curios crowd. The tender was brought abreast and the mornings catch was revealed. Captain Steve clambered aboard, pleased with the crayfish that accompanied him, closely followed by Kylie who proudly brought home her first crayfish. With our catch stowed safely and the tender hoisted into place we prepared to set sail for the first time this voyage.

Our Port and Starboard teams were briefed and quizzed on the proper line handling techniques before they were formally introduced with our many lines and sails. The foresail, mainsail and headsails were hauled into their upright positions as we turned our bow to the Cape. The helm was shared between Kailash, Odette, Bryn and Tonilee, who along with Kelsey made herself well acquainted with the views from the shrouds. We rounded the Hole in the Rock and came to a rest on it’s eastern side. The tender descended carefully and was loaded up with sightseers. The Hole provided us with the opportunity to look down at the various aquatic wildlife that make the esteemed landmark of the Bay even more amazing than the large chunk of rock missing from its core. With our sightseers safely back on board and the tender following happily in tow, we set off for Outu Bay.

We arrived in Outu’s shelter mid-lesson, just before lunchtime. With fishing regulations and VHF jargon bursting from their ears, the trainees were sent to the helm for lunch. Sophie’s soup made its way from the pot, to the bowls and finally from spoon to tongue. Steve, our Captain of many talents had taken Bryn and Raymond under his wing for a 5AM introduction to baking. The results, three beautifully baked loaves of fresh bread were sliced, buttered and lost forever to the almighty teenage appetite. Time was allowed for stomachs to settle and dishes to wash themselves before the tender and voluntary divers were called to action.

Rickie, Bryn, Katarina, Billy and Mereana wandered the kina fields and rocks with Tyrone whilst Steve slipped quietly around the corner to inspect his ‘secret spot’. Those who stayed aboard the ship fished in the afternoon sun, iced banana cake and immersed themselves in the ship’s library. The tender returned, with divers accounted for along with two full kina sacks and a very impressive crayfish brought home by a battle-scared Captain. With our dive gear, catches, tender and passengers stowed safely on board, it was decided that we would ‘duck around the corner’ to Whangamumu Harbour.

Safe and sound at Whangamumu, the activity on board reflected that of the setting sun. The days final lessons were delivered and our trainees lapped up their free time. Roast chicken accompanied by steamed and roasted vegetables was served up by Sophie and the entire ship hoed in. Dinner dishes were scrubbed hard and grumbled at before the deck was alive with gargling and foamy mouths. Clean teeth were spreading like the rabies. We shared our highs and lows for the day and were soon after serenaded to sleep by a jovial Captain. Tomorrow we look forward to a day of fishing and hopefully an afternoon hike on shore at Whangamumu. Check back tomorrow to check out our catches and callouses!!