I am really, really excited for this post. Like, really excited 😁 Not only do I get to talk about the best week of my life, I also get to collaborate with some great friends to bring you a post about our voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland!
There’s literally SO much I want to say about the voyage, but I’m going to start with the basics.
- There were eighteen of us ( 6 sea staff and 12 crew aged between 12-14) onboard Alba Explorer – a 72ft yacht that’s been round the world twice (I think???) and now takes young people like us on sail training voyages 🙂
- We set off from Oban which is on the West coast of Scotland and sailed round the Hebrides visiting loads of different islands.
For me the voyage was incredible because, not only did I have an amazing amount of fun, make the best friends, learn loads of new things and get to spend time in my favourite place (the ocean), I also took another step towards my future and towards working in sail training.
Now, I’m going to let my friend and fellow crewmate Eva take over 🙂
Well, I had never sailed before and I was very nervous. When I arrived I met the crew and let’s just say some of the boys were far from gents! So that made me feel even worse. On our first day we were put into our Watches and I wasn’t with my friend so I was even more annoyed. But then I got to know the girls I was in a group with and realised they were both very nice. Never judge a book by its cover!
So after the first day, when I was below deck, I realised I suffered from sea sickness which let me tell you is not a nice feeling! But once it passed I got back to baking and sailing. So after feeling homesick, sea-sick and sorry for myself we stopped and harboured at South Uist and got off the boat. That was the day before the World Cup!
I mentioned it to the rest of the crew which was a big mistake because they were all Scottish and hated England winning! Anyway the game was the semi finals so I was really excited. I wanted to watch the game so badly, but obviously there was no telly on the boat.
The next day we arrived at a harbour and one of the watch leaders took us all on a walk. If you haven’t been to Scotland then you won’t know that the scenery is absolutely beautiful. The walk was lovely, but I was dying to know the football score. There was no phone signal or WiFi so there was no way of knowing. “We’re so isolated we don’t even know the football score! I mean prisoners get to know the football score” I thought to myself.
So every car that drove passed with its window open I shouted, “What’s the football score”. Then eventually a man told us that Croatia won and I was so annoyed!
Anyway those were the worst bits! The rest was so much fun and I wish I was back there now. The ocean was beautiful and we saw so much wildlife like dolphins, whales, basking sharks, puffins, seals, jellyfish and lots more. I learnt how to sail and had a real adventure. I also made three new friends for life which I think was the best bit!
Aw, Eva, that was great ❤️ I agree – the boys were certainly not gents 😂 and yes, it was beautiful. I wish I was back there now too.
Ewan was another crewmate who joined in this collab. Here’s his part about the voyage.
The voyage on Alba Explorer was extremely fun. I had previously been away on Alba Explorer for a weekend, but that was no way near as fun as the week as you didn’t get to know the others in the crew or set foot on land. Some of my highlights were watching the dolphins jumping at the bow of the boat and the barbecue when we swam in the freezing waters of Tiree. It was very fun and I would definitely do it again!!!
I loved swimming in the sea too, Ewan, but it was definitely freezing 😁
Next up, we have Sasha’s piece!
I really enjoyed the voyage; it was so fun sailing round Scotland and meeting new people. The sailing was really good and in the evenings we all played games which were really fun. Overall it was a really fun trip.
I’m so glad you had fun, Sasha! ❤️
Fergus is the final crewmate to share his experience in this collab. Here’s his contribution.
Arriving in Oban, I could see the 95 foot mast of Alba Explorer from what looked like miles away which was a sight to behold!
I was quite nervous at the start knowing I was going to spend a week with 17 other people on this boat, but to my relief they were all very nice and great fun. There was a boy called Zach who had come from Washington DC to visit Scotland and Ireland, and also 3 girls who came from England; Gracie, Sasha and Eva. The Clyde Cruising Club Dinghy Section was well represented with myself, Stan, Ewan and Oscar all on board. The skipper’s son was there as one of the crew members too.
I really enjoyed going round the Hebrides and it was without doubt the best week of my life! We traveled to a little bay near Loch Drambuie on Mull, staying there for the first night, then went all the way up to South Uist, then to Castle Bay on Barra, followed by Tiree, Tobermory and then finally back to Oban. It was amazing!
On three of the nights we anchored. On the first night the captain, Stuart Simpson, the first mate, watch leaders and bosun did ‘anchor watch’. On the other two nights we had planned to moor up to pontoons however THE SAME BOAT took our place twice! So the crew had to do anchor watch. Anchor watch is where some crew members need to stay up during the night and watch the anchor, hence the name! The First mate draws a box around the boat on the navigation screen and you have to report to someone if the boat floats outside the box (I know, exciting eh?).
All the hard work was worth it because I and all the others were awarded the RYA Competent Crew certificate!
I can thoroughly recommend an OYT voyage to anyone who is interested in sailing. It was exciting, challenging, rewarding and great, great fun!
Yeah, I totally agree with all of that ♥️♥️
This was so much fun to put together and it brought back some great memories. Thanks to all my fellow crewmates who contributed and to YOU for reading.