faceboat Friends (0)
One of the privileges I have in my role as skipper of the Northern Campaign is working with volunteer crew who genuinely wish to help others in society. One local volunteer crew member in Newcastle invited us all off the boat to his home for a BBQ dinner. It was a warm and lovely experience to be invited to his humble home and listen to his stories of beating the odds that life has pitched against him. Despite losing his eye sight during the Bali bombings he still manages to sail and remain optimistic about life.
Our last port was Gladstone, a major shipping area for Queensland. Many of the children who came for day sailing on board 'Kayle' were from mining, shipping and working class families.
After many years in a thankless job as a cop, the many smiles, genuine thanks and gratitude I received from the children and carers brought tears to my eyes as I realized I had found a new calling in life.
To be part of creating change and optimism amongst people with disabilities through sailing is a great honour and although the crew and I have had our challenges we remain firm to the cause.
I have had a wonderful time with my beautiful wife but now I return to my mistress of the sea - 'Kayle'. I have swapped crisp, clean, white hotel room sheets for my 'rack' next to the navigation table. Rain and strong winds have meant the cancellation of some try sail days and early departure plans from Mackay. Fresh crew have arrived whilst others take the rainy days to rest, clean and prepare the boat for the pending passage to Gladstone.
Admiral Pescud has taken command whilst I take four days shore leave in Mackay to celebrate my twentieth wedding anniversary. The crew have also had some time off in the Percy Islands, to swim, explore the habitat and partake in goat stew, prepared by Ernst the self-proclaimed ‘goat man’, one of only five residents on the island.
In Star Trek, the philosphy was to go 'where no man has gone before', with SWD it is to create change and optimism. For me, our first day sail with children from Southport brought unexplained tears to my eyes and emotions I could not describe as I watched children laugh and smile all over the boat; change was occurring within me.