February 16, 2015
Brittany Harrison- Mind Body and Soul, Cook 601
Outward Bound was an experience which has opened my eyes and broadened my horizons. Before leaving I knew I had everything to gain from the course and was looking for some direction in my life having just left high school. All relatively new to me I must admit I was very nervous on the ferry trip over the Cook straight.
I was welcomed onto the grounds on the 4th of January along with 140 others and assigned to Cook Watch so named after Captain James Cook. Thinking back on that day I had little idea of what was ahead of me, what challenges I would face and how many friendships I would make.
Every day we woke at 5:55 sharp in order to get to physical training at 6:20. We quickly learnt that the best way to make it on time was to run everywhere. Once we had woken up by going for a run and jumping in the sea for a morning dip the whole day was ahead of us. Every day would be a surprise and we always had to be on our toes as we never knew what the instructors would throw at us next. Our watch group came up with the chant “who are we? Cook Watch! what do we love? WET SHOES!” as that’s what we quickly became accustomed to- wet shoes.
What surprised me was actually how little time we spent at the campus. By the second night we were off on a kayak scheme sleeping on a concrete floor at ‘kayak camp’. We spent that day paddling down the beautiful Pelorus river, conquering the rapids and mastering how to do a wet exit.
My favorite scheme was definitely the sailing. We spent one day with the instructors learning the ropes (literally). Then we were in charge of the cutter rightly named The Endeavor, as we were Cook’s crew. The wind in the sounds was quite unpredictable and often we would have to ‘let it fly’ (release the sails) as huge gusts of wind would hit us and then find ourselves rowing later when it would completely drop. We conducted the whole voyage by ourselves only having the instructors reachable through radio in case of emergencies. At night we would moor ourselves in a bay and sleep on the floor of the cutter under the stars.
Extract from my Journal when we were being dropped off for our solo experience in the bush- “After dinner Hayden told us that we were going on our solos. We quickly packed, did our service then boarded the Matakana (launch) in the dark. It took 20mins to reach the little bay and everyone was a little nervous. Once we unloaded onto the bay Maya noticed the fluorescent plankton in the water. It twinkled in the water whenever there was movement. We disappeared into the bush and said our goodbyes.”
I faced many physical and mental challenges which changed the perception of who I am today. The most physical challenge I faced was the 4 peak three night tramp as part of our Journey at the end of the course. On the second day we were told that we hadn’t covered enough ground and that reaching all 4 peaks in our allotted time was unlikely. We discussed all the options but nothing seemed to compare to making our original goal. The next morning we got up at 5:30 and tramped as fast as we could for 13 hours, the next day we did the same. We made it home on the forth day well before our original prediction, shattered but happy. Each peak we conquered trumped the expectations I had of myself and the capability of our watch when we had come so close to defeat.
Outward bound was one of the defining moments of my life where I learnt to trust my instincts and never hold back. It’s a point of reference for me where I will be able to source strength and courage in my future decisions. I would like to thank the WineWorks team for giving me this amazing experience and wish all the best to future recipients of the scholarship. It is an adventure that will remain with me.
– Brittany Harrison