Today it’s official: I’ve handed in my Duke of Edinburgh Gold level adventurous journey report, record book, and form. With that, I’ve finished my last level of Duke of Ed and the program as a whole! While most of my teammates handed in their reports earlier, my academic schedule didn’t allow me to work on the extensive report and book until late February. Over the past 4 years of my participation in Duke of Edinburgh, I can honestly say I’ve learned more than I expected about myself, my peers, and the environment around me. I can’t possibly list all I’ve learned, and I will not attempt to try, knowing that I cannot do the program or my experiences justice. Instead, I’ve attached some photos of my Duke of Ed experience for all three levels: bronze, silver and gold, spanning from grade 9 until last June. I look forward to applying the things I’ve learned in Duke of Ed to my post-graduate life, and thank Ms. McTavish for her endless support and guidance in the planning and execution of all of our trips!
To explain our Silver DOE Sailing trip this year would take a word count longer than I could write, but I’ll try.
For my qualifying journey, a group of fourteen grade 10 girls and our two chaperones- Ms. McTavish and Ms. Augitus- went sailing on the Mapleleaf Tallship for three days and two nights through the Gulf Islands. This was from April. 5th-7th, 2013. For my first time sailing, I can’t believe how much I learned in such a short period of time! The main thing I learned was simply how to sail a boat. This included learning parts of the boat, how to work with different kinds of sheets, sails, shrouds and halyards, and how to sweat, flake and gasket a sail. I won’t try to explain every single thing I just said, but an example of a simple explanation would be how flaking is a technique for stowing the sail in which you pull the sail Aft (towards the back of the boat) and fold in like an accordion while the others pull it down by a certain halyard, or rope. The first things I learned on the boat were the names of the sails, masts and booms. A boom is the horizontal wooden pole that the sail rests on when inoperative. There were four sails on this ship- the Main sail, the Fore sail, the Stay sail and the Jib, in that order from the Stern, (back of the boat) to the Bow, (front). We also learned things like how to steer a boat, listen for emergency calls on the ship’s radio, and identify/alert the captain of obstacles before the boat. The Transient Killer Whales we saw on days 2 and 3 were my favourite part of the trip. They were spyhopping, (vertically rising out of the water), lobtailing, (slapping the water with their tales), rolling in the water and even almost breaching, or jumping out of, the water as well. The most challenging part of the journey for me was probably either getting used to sleeping on a boat during a storm, or just the steep learning curve of sailing. If I got the opportunity to do this experience again, one thing I’d do differently would be packing fewer clothes, and I didn’t wear all of them and it was a little heavy for me to carry around.